Many Filipinos, Indians and Russians work outside their countries to earn more bucks. But in the bargain, they give up their rights, their passport in the hands of their employers which sometimes turned out to be a tragedy. Passport is the personal document and it cannot be retained by the employees under any law. Many countries in UAE have amended the law.

The news article published in the, the people working outside their countries their passport serves as one of the crucial documents to travel across the various countries. As per the law, once you have it, that should remain in your custody without further explanation. There are lots of issues already faced by the OFW (Overseas Filipino Workers) involving the employer and employees as who will hold the passport in its custody. But according to the law, there are two ways in that as the passport belongs to the person whose image is attached to it and it should remain in the possession of that person only. But according to the sources, the rules are not followed by the many employers especially in the case of OFW’s working in the Middle East countries.


[su_expand more_text=”READ MORE” less_text=” ” height=”0″ hide_less=”yes” link_style=”button” link_align=”center”] Here is the list of countries that has different rules laid down by the authorities on this.


According to the Arab News  the labour, the minister has ordered that the foreign workers will keep their passport and official documents in their custody. According to the applicable law, employers will not be able to force them to submit the passports. “Anybody violating this rule will face serious penalties,” said Taysir Al-Mofraj, the ministry’s spokesman. Sultan Al-Harbi, director of Labor Office in Jeddah, confirmed that any employer that takes passports away from his expat staff is in clear violation of the labor laws.



Kuwait has also implemented the new labour law based on which companies on Kuwait will no longer be able to withhold the passport of the employees. A draft resolution is expected to be submitted to the Minister of Social Affairs and Labor and Minister of Planning and Development Hind Al- Subaih before the end of this month, The Daily  said, quoting ministry sources. Meanwhile under Kuwait’s proposed new law, employees still would be prohibited from leaving the country without the approval of their sponsor and written travel permit from the newly established Public Authority for Manpower (PAM).


According to the ILO (International labour Organization) Convention on the Abolition of forced Labour, retaining the passport of the workers will amount to forcible work and violation of International Labour Organization (ILO) Convention to which UAE is one of the signatories. The organizations which refuse to return the passports of the workers will lead to the breach of trust that will result in offence which implies the imprisonment up to three years and fine amounting to AED 20,000 or may be more said the UAE Labour Ministry Legal Department.

According to the Jamie Liddington  Head of employment at law firm Hadef & Partners, It was confirmed in a Decree by the Ministry of Interior, in December 2002 that it will be considered as an illegal action to retain the passports of the people by anybody except by the concern government departments. It is a personal travel document that proves the identity of the holder, and the laws stipulate that the bearer must keep his or her passport and present it to the government authorities upon request. In the case of holding of passports by anyone without a court order, there will be a suitable punishment by the law.”


According to the CONSTITUTION OF THE STATE OF BAHRAIN  “No person shall be arrested, detained, imprisoned, searched or compelled to reside in a specified place, nor shall the residence of any person or his liberty to choose his place of residence or his liberty of movement be restricted, except in accordance with the law and under the supervision of the judicial authorities.”


According to the Times of Oman keeping the passport of the employee is illegal since it is a personal document and legally, the property of the issuing authority. In Oman, normally a passport is handed over by the expat only to get a residence visa stamped on it and as per the rules, it should be returned after the stamping.  According to the Salim bin Said Al Badi, director general of labour welfare at the Ministry of Manpower, said the ministry has received complaints about such violations. “There are still some who are violating this rule. We have complaints on this matter and we try to deal with them legally,” he said. “The Ministry of Manpower tries to settle the issue between the employers and employees, but in case they don’t reach an agreement, then the issue is referred to the Public Prosecution,” noted Al Badi.


According to the applicable law in Doha Qatar, LAW NO. 4 OF 2009 REGULATING THE ENTRY AND EXIT OF EXPATRIATES IN QATAR AND THEIR RESIDENCE AND SPONSORSHIP Article 9: The sponsor shall deliver the passport or travel document to the sponsored person once the procedures for issuing or renewing the residence permit are accomplished. “Any expatriate entering the state for residence shall first obtain the relevant visa from the competent authority. The sponsor shall accomplish the residence procedures and its renewal, provided that such renewal shall be done within 90 (ninety) days from the expiry date of the Visa. The sponsor shall deliver the passport or travel document to the sponsored person once the procedures for issuing or renewing the residence permit are accomplished.”

Source: Various Sources [/su_expand]



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