Does your office keep your passport in UAE? Here's the law

Does your office keep your passport in UAE? Heres the law

An employer cannot terminate an employee for not surrendering its passport to its employer.



By Ashish Mehta

Published: Sun 5 May 2019, 3:37 PM

Last updated: Mon 6 May 2019, 9:04 AM

Q.1) I would like to raise a concern regarding the retention of a passport. My wife is working for a private travel agency and is on my sponsorship. She has been working in that firm since 2011 and all of a sudden the company manager is forcing her to surrender the passport, even though it is being informed to him that this is not in accordance with our consent.
He is threatening to take strict action against her. Please advise if it is legal to force an employee, who is not directly under the company's sponsorship, is supposed to submit their passport? My wife's entire job period is very clean with no dues or loans or any kind of misconduct towards the job. Can the manager or company force her to surrender the passport or terminate her due to the same reason? What steps should be taken to avoid such harassment? If we complain and the management starts harassing her for this, is there a legal way to protect ourselves?
Answer:
It is understood that your wife is employed by a private travel agency and her visa is sponsored by you. Your wife has been working with her employer since 2011 and all of a sudden her employer is forcing her to surrender her passport, even though she has informed her employer that it is against your will to do so. The employer is threatening to take strict action against your wife. Further, your wife has a clean record of employment which is devoid of any loans or any kind of misconduct.
Pursuant to your queries, detention of passport against the will of the passport holder is unlawful in the UAE. An employer cannot ask its employee to hand over the passport to keep in their custody without the employee's written consent. Should she face any continued harassment at her workplace she may report the same to the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiritisation (MoHRE) where she may lodge a complaint against her employer and may consider reporting this matter to the police.
Further, an employer cannot terminate an employee for not surrendering its passport to its employer. In the event the employer terminates your wife on grounds of not surrendering her passport to them it will be termed as arbitrary termination of employment.

KNOW THE LAW

An employer cannot ask its employee to hand over the passport to keep in their custody without the employee's written consent.
Ashish Mehta is the founder and Managing Partner of Ashish Mehta & Associates. He is qualified to practise law in Dubai, the United Kingdom, Singapore, and India. Full details of his firm on: www.amalawyers.com. Readers may e-mail their questions to: news@khaleejtimes.com or send them to Legal View, Khaleej Times, PO Box 11243, Dubai


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