Employers Told Not to Seize Expats’ Passports

Saudi Gazette report
JEDDAH – The Ministry of Labor has warned private sector companies and establishments against withholding passports of their expatriate employees in violation of a Council of Ministers’ decision issued in this connection more than a year ago.

The ministry said employers who fail to implement the directives would face severe penalties, according to Akhbaar24 website.

A source in the ministry quoted by the Makkah daily said the number of companies and commercial establishments with a workforce of more than 60 percent expatriates had dropped to 900,000.

The source said only a small number of these companies allow their workers to keep their passports. The source attributed the employers’ insistence on keeping their workers’ passports to their belief that it was a means of controlling the workers and preventing them from absconding.

However, many of the registered runaway cases involved workers who were not keeping their passports, the source said, adding that the authorities are responsible for controlling the workers and preventing them from escaping. He said good treatment, showing respect and payment of entitlements on a timely basis would prevent the workers from escaping.

Tayseer Al-Mufarrij, spokesman for the Ministry of Labor, has stressed that it is illegal for employers to keep their workers’ passports.

He said the relationship between the expatriate worker and employer was merely a contractual one and the employers were not allowed to hold them up by seizing their passports.

He confirmed that orders have been issued by the Council of Ministers more than a year ago.



(Source: SaudiGazette.com.sa)

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