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Is Holding Passport by an employer is legal in UAE?

Can an employer hold employee passport? NO! Since holding a passport at the UAE is prohibited and it is illegal.

In UAE  most of us must hand our passports over to authorized persons in order to obtain visas,
 we are not supposed to hand them over to unauthorized men and women.
As a matter of fact, UAE companies detaining workers'
passports could be jailed and  Will be penalized up to 20,000 AED
And  in  most of the passports, you would definitely find
saying: "This passport is the property of the Government of [The passport holder's state ]"
Actually, the passport must be just from the custody of the holder or of a person approved by the holder,
 and each passport holder is responsible for the safekeeping.
That includes companies (besides for affixing visas).

The UAE government officials have repeatedly stated that an employer should not keep a worker's passport.

Additionally, it's not new that the UAE government officials  issued a decree stating:
"As the passport is a personal document and as the law-abiding its owner to keep and show when required by the governmental authorities,
it's not allowed for anyone to detain in the passport except by the official parties with a judicial order and according to the law. As a result,
it is going to be deemed an illegal action to hold the passport in the UAE except by the governmental parties.
Ministry of Human Resources & Emiratisation has literally advised that"retaining workers'
 passport also amounts to forcible work in violation of the International Labour Organization (ILO) Convention on the Abolition of Forced Labour, to which the UAE is a signatory".

Passport retention by companies in the UAE is definitely illegal
Passport Retention by Employers in the UAE
In the event, the employer retains the passport and refuses to give it back,
you are able to approach the nearest police station, along with the corporation will need to reevaluate the passport.

Is it legal to maintain somebody's passport?
If that is the case, and you desperately need the job, receive a signed document from employer stating that they're holding your passport,
 and also the reason for holding it.
Think about contacting your embassy or consulate to document holding a passport with an unauthorized body.

Though it's fine to hand over your passport to several authorities, you do not have to reevaluate your passport into unauthorized bodies.
 And, your employer is not an authorized body to retain your passport.
The employers typically say that the reason behind keeping employee passport is really for safekeeping.
But often employers retain worker's passport because firms want to have control over them, and also to reinforce the authoritative nature of an employer-employee relationship.
 When an employer won't return your passport, then you are able to register a case against them at the local labour office and even file a police case.

Passport holding in UAE is technically illegal, although the practice of this is widespread among businesses with a large number of UAE expats.

Although with all the proof and legal warnings that maintaining employee passports is prohibited, expatriates still need a job.
 It is a sad fact that the majority of employers in the UAE are still holding passport.

When this happens, you just tell them that since of UAE labor law holding the passport of the employee is prohibited.

Is your employer requesting passport?
Request your future employer in their"policy on holding passport" prior to signing the work contract.
 If they have a policy of retaining the passport, you can negotiate with them or even look for another job.
On the other hand, if the employer says they'd return the passports back to workers after visa processing,
 then DO NOT believe them till you have a good reason to do so.

Holding passport also amounts to forcible function in breach of International Labour Organization (ILO) Convention on the Abolition of Forced Labour, where the UAE is a signatory.
Employers who fail to give workers their passports on the petition are responsible for confidence.
 The offense includes imprisonment of up to three decades or fine payable to Dh.20,000 or longer," quotes UAE Ministry of Labour Legal Department.
 your employer doesn't have the right to hold your passport, and keeping employee passport is contrary to UAE Labor Law.

As an employee you Want to Know about the below:
The laws in the UAE don't entitle the employer to keep the worker's passport for whatsoever reason.

A 2002 decree expressly claims it will be considered as an illegal activity to detain the passport of the worker in UAE, except the governmental parties. In the event of retaining passports,
there will be appropriate punishment by the legislation in UAE. However, the law didn't specify which agency should apply the principle, although workers can file a complaint with the Labour Ministry.

Attempt to get a letter from the embassy stating that unauthorized individuals or organizations shouldn't maintain your passport.

Can the company hold a passport after cancellation?
An instance of passport confiscation would cost between Dh.5000 and Dh.10,000 for the company.
The authorities won't tolerate companies which are holding a passport.
 It's your obligation to maintain your passport in safe custody, rather than your employer's.
If your employer is currently holding your passport, then ask them to return your passport.
 If they didn't do anything about it, then let them know that it is illegal to retain passports.
However, as a rule of thumb, don't make empty promises or threats.
No, an employer can't hold your passport following the cancellation of the visa.
An employer can only hold it for a limited period it's when they are issuing, renewing or canceling your visa.
Actually, not only employers holding passports of Workers,
 the question is:
Another approach worth trying to receive your passport from your employer is to wait until you travel abroad,
as most employers will then be prepared to hand over passport without fuss.
 Else, organize a weekend visit to Oman or similar location.
The passport is a personal document of its holder, and its own final jurisdiction is the issuing government.
 It is an official document that supports holders' citizenship and identity allowing them to travel overseas under its own protection.
 Because of this, it's more of a personal record, to be kept in possession of the holder.

On the flip side, if you choose to give your passport for safekeeping, then there's nothing illegal about it.
 But, we suggest that you consult your embassy or consulate if you are allowed to do that,
So, how to receive my passport from my company?
Some precautions that are worth considering to avoid retention of passport by companies:

The document also needs to mention that they promise you about returning it immediately and at any time during the employment

Note:- This article is Rewritten based on News  From Online News Articles.


  1. My labour and visa has been cancelled 08/01/2020.Still my company holding my passport degree certificate settlement all of them .they cannot relieve me and go to home.he is threatened and come office daily do work.but many times i requested i must go to home. Please relieve me. But still holding me. I don't know anyone here.so daily i go to office and do work regularly.please anyone help me. My mail id gbalaji2892@gmail.com.

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