If the employer ” has a proper contract in place and his employees are paid on time as per the agreed terms, the employee will not want to `run away’. Stressing that there is no justification when it comes to retaining the passports of employees, top Labour officials in the Kingdom opined that no employee would ‘run away’ that easily if he/she is treated well by the employer.
Responding to businessmen’s views about the law being dispassionate to their woes and losses, Labour M i n i s t r y Undersecretary Sabah Al Dossary and Labour Market Regulatory Authority (LMRA) Chief Executive Officer Ausamah Al Absi, in unison, said that no excuse allows any employer in the Kingdom to retain the passport of an employee.
“If the employer has a proper contract in place and his employees are paid on time as per the agreed terms, the employee will not want to ‘run away’. They are here for a living and they will abide by the regulations once they are happy with the work environment,” Mr. Al Dossary told DT.
“And if the main concern is about the expenses incurred while hiring an expatriate
employee, the same applies to the case of employing a local employee. Similar amount is spent to train them, and in some cases the citizen employees are even sent abroad for such sessions, and there has been incidents, in which they came back and took up other jobs. The employers are free to resort to legal ways to settle their claims,“ he explained.
Moreover, the employee can always avail an out-pass from their embassies and leave, despite the employers retaining their passports, he
Echoing a similar voice, Mr. Al Absi said, “It is an internationally known and accepted norm that the passport is the property of the state, which has issued it, and belongs to the person in whose name it has been issued. Without a court order, nobody has the authority to withhold the passport and this makes it clear that retaining one’s passport is a violation of law.”
“Expenses incurred by employers while hiring an employee is normal and holding passport as ransom is not a way to recover it. There are legal ways to claim your rights.
An employee has the right to leave after a year, by way of mobility and by then, the employer should have more or less recovered his expenses by way of productivity, ” he said, noting that it is not ideal for an employer to reimburse the hiring expenses from an employee.