The Growth of the Healthcare Industry in the UAE

Healthcare is one of the most rapidly growing sectors of the global economy, driven mostly by growing populations and advances in infrastructure, treatment, and technology. According to research by Mena Research Partners (MRP), the most significant growth in healthcare spending is expected to be in the Middle East, with spending in the UAE forecasted to grow by 60% over the next four years, reaching AED103 million by 2021. Much of this growth has been driven by a shift in demand from curative care to a more preventive care approach, as well as an increasing requirement for specialist medical services and better integrated healthcare solutions.

As the healthcare industry in the UAE continues its dramatic expansion, an opportunity exists for companies looking to operate within the diverse sector. With the UAE’s 2021 Vision aiming to build a globally recognised healthcare infrastructure, it is expected that there is high growth potential within medical device and pharmaceutical sub-sectors, as well as medical tourism and health insurance.

In order to take advantage of this growth and establish a healthcare business, it is vital to ensure that the entity is incorporated correctly, and that all of the necessary approvals have been obtained by the applicable regulatory bodies. This article explores the required steps involved in setting up a healthcare organisation in Abu Dhabi.

Establishing a healthcare business in Abu Dhabi

The first stage to setting up a healthcare facility in Abu Dhabi is to determine the legal structure of the business, which depending on the nature of the facility will most likely be as a Limited Liability Company, or LLC. As a foreigner investor, it is not possible to own more than 49% of a Limited Liability Company, meaning that it is therefore necessary to partner with an Emirati shareholder or local corporate partner. As a company formation and secure local partner specialist, PRO Partner Group can act as the local corporate partner in an LLC as required by UAE law, therefore facilitating the entire set up process and enabling the foreign investor to fully control and manage the business.

The Health Authority Abu Dhabi (HAAD)

The Health Authority Abu Dhabi or HAAD are the regulatory body for healthcare in Abu Dhabi, and are responsible for developing the frameworks and guidelines that ensure the highest standards of healthcare services in the Emirate.

All healthcare facilities and professionals in Abu Dhabi are required to obtain a license from HAAD before they are able to start trading. The main requirements and steps to obtaining a license are:

  1. Apply for preliminary approval through HAAD, detailing the nature of the project and the business owners
  2. Once initial approval has been received, facilities can begin the process of registering medical staff and submit engineering drawings of the proposed development
  3. Once the engineering drawings have been approved, you must notify HAAD in an official letter as to when the facility will be ready for inspection
  4. The final stage of the process is to apply for the license of the facility and pay the applicable fees. As part of the license application, you will be required to submit the trade license and further details of the facility, including a list of the medical services and prices, and details of an approved waste management company. The required fees vary depending on the type of facility, about which you can find more information below:
The Health Authority Abu Dhabi HAAD

Source: The Health Authority Abu Dhabi

To obtain a license as a healthcare professional, it is necessary to submit an application to HAAD’s online portal, including all required documents which can be found on the Health Authority Abu Dhabi website. Once the application has been approved, the applicant must complete the HAAD exam unless their profession is exempt.

Greg HastingsGreg Hastings is the Business Development Manager at PRO Partner Group and can help navigate the complex business set up process for healthcare establishments in Abu Dhabi. PRO partner group can use their networks and well-established processes to significantly reduce the set-up time. For any questions about setting up a healthcare company in Abu Dhabi call or email:

greg@propartnergroup.com or call a member of the team on:
+971 (0)2 448 5120 (Abu Dhabi)
+971 (0)4 456 1761 (Dubai)