The Labor Ministry has reiterated that it is the right of foreign workers to keep their passports and official documents.

“Anybody violating this rule will face serious penalties,” said Taysir Al-Mofraj, the ministry’s spokesman.

In the revised Labor Law, it is stated that any company or employer who keeps the passport of employee shall be fined SR 2,000.


“Retention of employee passport by an employer is against the law in the UAE, and an individual has the right to take the legal course against if it done without the employee’s consent or without a court order.

According to Jamie Liddington, head of employment at law firm Hadef & Partners, it is unlawful for an employer to withhold and retain an employee’s passport without the employee’s consent – and this has always been the case.

“It was stated in a decree by the Ministry of Interior (in December 2002) that it will be considered as an illegal action to retain the passports except by governmental parties. 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 case of holding of passports by anyone without a court order, there will be a suitable punishment by the law,” -Emirates 24/7


Companies in Kuwait will no longer be allowed to withhold employees’ passports under new labor laws being written, according to Arabic Daily. As a new humanitarian approach from the Kuwaiti Government regarding expats living in Kuwait and the injustice that may occur of the abuse of the sponsorship system, 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 this month.

The Sponsorship is a system used to monitor migrant laborers, working mostly in the construction and domestic sectors, in the Gulf region.



“The Law 4/2009 regulates the entry, exit and residency of the country’s foreign workers (expatriates) and it gives adequate protection to the foreigners and guarantees their right to keep passports in their possession,” said Doha legal activist and Migrant Asia regional co-ordinator Nizar Kochery.

“Violation of the law could amount to a penalty of not less than QR10,000 to the sponsor or his representative for every passports that he keeps in his illegal custody,” said the legal consultant, adding Article 52 of Law 4/2009 has provisions for imposing fine on sponsors for the violations pertaining to the employees’ passports.


Moath Al Ghilani, an Omani lawyer, said, “It is illegal to keep the passport of the employee as it is a personal document and legally, the property of the government issuing it. 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.”

Via Times of Oman


Passport: Without a court order an employer has no right to hold employee’s passport whatsoever.

That practice represents a violation of freedom of movement in contravention of Article (19) (b) of the Constitution, which ensured the freedom of movement of every person on the territory of Bahrain. This practice (Although quite common) amounts to criminal misappropriation and breach of trust i.e. the employer got the passport lawfully (In order to process the residency Permit and other formalities etc…) but retained it unlawfully (Without the employee’s consent)

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