Why Medical Questions?

Why do I have to complete a medical questionnaire when applying for a job overseas?

Applying for jobs in the Middle East involves a lot of paperwork. One particular aspect of paperwork that some people question is the medical questionnaire which must be completed and submitted along with their initial application to the hospital.

In North America, people are accustomed to any type of medical disclosure — should it be asked — happening after an offer of employment is made. Not so for people seeking jobs in the Middle East.

The cost of hiring and training a new employee in a typical North American employment setting ranges from 25% to 100% of their annual compensation. But in the case of hiring healthcare professionals to staff hospitals in the Middle East, there are added costs — relocation airfare; furnished, air-conditioned housing, with utilities included; healthcare (including prescription medications) when in the country. Thus the cost of an average hire is significantly higher than in a facility in North America.

The already significant expense means that employers want to minimize the risk of accruing even higher costs. And one risk factor is hiring someone who has health problems. The added costs could relate to sick time or modified work schedules, high-cost prescription medications, hospitalization, etc. Therefore we must submit a self-administered medical questionnaire with each person's applications.

But even after the offer is made, the employment visa requires a thorough physician-administered medical report and lab report. If the medical report reveals unanticipated serious health problems, depending on what they are, an offer may be withdrawn.

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