Health centres to perform iris scans

DUBAI - Health centres across the country may soon be performing iris scans of those undergoing the mandatory medical fitness tests.


Asma Ali Zain

Published: Thu 24 Jul 2008, 11:14 PM

Last updated: Sun 5 Apr 2015, 6:17 PM

The scans will be held as part of a pilot national database project to collect data of newcomers in the country, according to an expert.

According to a senior official of IrisGuard, the company that is implementing the system, the technology was already being used at the country's entry ports to scan the eyes of newcomers.

The scans will be carried out also at the Ministry of Health-run health centres along with the standard medical fitness tests that are compulsory for all newcomers before they take up residency. However, no fee will be charged for the scans, he added.

"Already, over 10 health centres across the country, including some in Abu Dhabi city, Mussafah and the Northern Emirates, have been equipped with the technology," he said, adding that this was a Ministry of Interior project.

He also said that though some health centres were carrying out the scans under the pilot project, the information was not being collected for the database as of now.

"The system is similar to the Iris Expellee Tracking System - currently being used at all entry points in the country - in which people who have been deported from the UAE are prevented from re-entering with fake documents," said the official, who did not wish to be named.

A similar technology will now be used to create a national database, he added.

"The system is expected to be in place fully in three years' time as everyone renews their visa after three years," he explained, adding that the project was to enhance the safety and security, but could also relate to personal identification.

He also confirmed that since the launch of the Expellee system in 2003, at least 250,000 people have been caught trying to re-enter the country illegally till date.

Dr Ali Shukr, Chief Executive Officer of Health Services at the MoH, refused to deny or confirm the report.

"Even if we are linked to this initiative, it will be the main concern of the Ministry of Interior," he said.

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