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.
“Companies in Kuwait will no longer be allowed to withhold employees’ passports under new labour laws being written, according to Arabic daily Al Shahed. 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.”
“It [new law on domestic helpers] prohibits employers from confiscating workers’ passports, a common abuse, but fails to specify penalties.”
“Retaining workers’ passport also amounts to forcible work in violation of International Labour Organization (ILO) Convention on the Abolition of Forced Labour – to which the UAE is a signatory. Employers who fail to give workers their passports on request are in breach of trust. The offence carries imprisonment of upto three years and/or fine amounting to AED20,000 or more,” quotes UAE Ministry of Labour Legal Department.
“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.”
“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.”
Qatar Labor Law – #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.
“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.. 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.”