Is a Company Keeping your Passport in UAE?

13 May 2019

Before starting out, check out our home appliance section and get products at best rates. According to the law, it is completely illegal to keep passports of employees’. An employer cannot fire an employee if he/she is not giving way their passport to the company. You could actually be fined or jailed for doing so.


Retaining passports

As we have said, it is illegal to retain passports because they are the property of the government. Also, an employer cannot ask its employees to surrender their passport for keeping it in their custody. You can find this statement on almost every passport that, the passport is issuing Government’s property. The passport holder is responsible for keeping the passport safe. Only the holder and the authorized person is allowed to hold the passport. 

Holding passport of your worker leads to violation of UAE labor law and International Labor Organization (ILO). Only the official governmental personal can keep your passport but according to the law. You are to keep your passport with and provide when asked, only the governmental officials. It is your duty to keep it safe no one else’s.


Action against such activity

Impeding someone’s passport is considered an illegal act in UAE and legal action could be taken against. However, the governmental parties are allowed to do so. The person of a firm would be jailed and has to pay a fine of about AED 20,000. How can you get your passport back? In such a case, you can file a case at the local labor office or labor ministry and a police report. There are punishments in UAE for such activity you can also complain. If you want to apply for long term visa in UAE read our blog, invest in the right place.


The employer is asking for your passport?

Initially, you can tell that it is illegal. If your company is harassing you for it then you can report it to MoHER. The employer can take your passport for things like renewing, canceling the visa or applying for a new visa. After the process is done they are to return it back. Even after the cancellation of your passport, the employer cannot hold it for themselves. It is your identity in that country.



Can anyone keep your passport?

Is anyone authorized to retain your passport? No! Many companies in UAE practice this. Giving a passport to authorized personnel is okay, and the employer is not authorized to retain it. You can give it for safe keeping and there is no legal action about it. You should check with your embassy about it first. Also, you should carefully read any sort of paper before you sign it. If you think that you need some assistance and legal advice then you should do so before signing and submitting it.

Usually, employers, they are going to keep your passports safe, but often that is not the case. They do so to keep their authority over you. The law here states that no unauthorized party is not entitled to keep someone’s passport for whatever the reason. If someone has confiscated your passport they can be charged with a fine and can even go to jail. Holding passport amounts to forced work and it violates several laws. Then if the employer does not gives your passport back on request they are breaking the trust.


Precautionary measures and how to get it back

  • Ask about their passport holding policy before signing the contract.
  • Negotiate or look for another job if not satisfied.
  • Do not blindly believe if they ensure to return passports after the visa process.
  • Request politely for your passport and tell that it’s illegal.
  • In case of denial or no response contact your embassy or consulate, but let the employer know that you are going to take legal action.
  • Do not make empty threats.
  • If the embassy didn’t respond? Contact the UAE Ministry of Labour. It is better to contact a lawyer beforehand.
  • You can arrange a trip abroad, employers easily handover passports.
  • For safekeeping deposit passport with your embassy or consulate and get a receipt.


In case you are desperate

If you are desperate and want the job any way you can get a document signed. The document would state, the employer is holding your passport and why they are holding it. It should also state that they will return it any time during employment. The sad fact is most companies keep the passports but expats still want the job. Because of this activity and people not taking legal action against it builds-up companies’ confidence to do so even more. Here is a list of top companies in UAE that you can apply, check them out.