The UAE law clearly stated that It is completely illegal for any employer to hold his workers passports, for such offense the concerned employer can be fined with 20,000 dirhams or he can be jailed for 3 years.
According to the UAE passport law, an employee should not submit his passport to anybody including his employer unless the court or public prosecution asked to do so.
Orders of MOI (Ministry of Interior):
As per 2002 decree:
“As the passport is a personal document and as the law obliges its owner to keep and show when required by the governmental authorities, it is not allowed for any party to detain the passport except by the official parties with a judicial order and according to the law. Consequently it will be considered as an illegal action to detain the passport in UAE except by the governmental parties.”
What international passport rule says?
Any employer retaining the passport of the worker is also violating the international passport rules of International Labour Organization (ILO), a convention to stop forced labour.
Can employers retain the passport after visa cancellation?
Whether the case of an employee is termination or resignation irrespective of the situation the employer should not hold the passport of his employee, except if the purpose is either of visa pasting, visa renewal or visa cancellation. The employee can demand his passport after the completion of the process.
What if Employer denies the request of the worker?
Retaining the passport even after the request from the worker is a punishable offense. Such offenses in UAE can cost between 5000 AED to 20000 AED for the employer or he can be jailed up to 3 years.
Filing complaint against the employer for the passport
There are multiple ways to make a complaint at the Ministry Of Labour(mohre) on the employer who confiscated the passport. One is to complain through the website of mohre and the second one is to call the hotline 800665.
You will always have the option to file a case against your employer at a police station or in the court.
A complaint should be the last priority…
Make an effort to solve the issue in a peaceful manner. At first let the employer know about your intention of going to get the help of the law. He may react in favour to you in order to avoid the consequences. If you are afraid to confront your employer in such a manner, then you may hire a lawyer.
Precautions to take before joining the job
In the recruiting process itself you can ask your recruiter the complete information regarding the policy on detaining employee passports. Don’t sign the offer letter without the knowledge of this policy.
Anyway, subsequent to having a deep understanding of passport holding in UAE, what is the best route to stay away from this issue? The appropriate response is to take the composed report with sign and stamp from your manager referenced obviously that they are holding your passport for supervision.
Do not trust your manager if he says verbally that he will return your passport once the visa process is completed.
The other way to save your password from your Employer
You can deposit your passport with your embassy with a receipt and can take it back at any time.
If it is already in your employer custody, you can still file a complaint against your company for holding the passport. You can get a letter from the embassy and by using the authorized letter you can demand the company for your passport.