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12 June, 2006

Beans and logs

It's all very well for Gulf News to run outraged little articles about evil sponsors withholding employee passports, but why doesn't Gulf News stop illegally retaining the passports of its own staff?

"Over the last year I must have asked him for my passport a hundred times. Now he is just refusing to answer my calls," he said.

Gulf News repeatedly tried to contact the sponsor but got no reply.

Come on Al Nisr Publishing - time to drop your hypocrisy and illegal behaviour. Give your staff their passports back. Stop treating them like modern day serfs.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

The whole keeping the passport by the company is not that easy to resolve. Most firms in UAE/GCC are anal about retaining the passport. No amount of logical reasoning, and S#$%@ you A-holes gets through to them. even though the Ministry of Love-towards-workers asks them to solve issues amicably with the sponsor in clause (I) here

Solution, take your sponsors Name, Date of birth, passport number, and pic. submit it here and here
And hope that thse individuals travel to North America. Bet they will look good in Orange. Feel free to add links to EU law enforcment sites. I know its not solving the problem but it will be extremely satisfiying.

Conversly you can complain to the Ministry of Labour, good luck with that. After all the expatiates in UAE / GCC are temporary/disposable/expendable people. And have to leave as soon as they are done with you :S

12 June, 2006 08:39  
Blogger One Nine Seven One said...

As far i am aware it is illegal under UAE law for companies to retain your passport for any reason. All it would take is a couple of well placed phone calls to the right people and you can get your company into a world of trouble.

12 June, 2006 09:15  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In case your employer is witholding your passport try this, it might work.
Hostage situations make good movies. too bad no one is ever there with a video camera... it would make such a pretty youtube video :/

12 June, 2006 09:21  
Blogger elendil said...

Wow, I had no idea. Isn't Gulf News a pretty respectable news organisation? (PS: Thanks for joining Bloggers Against Torture).

12 June, 2006 09:38  
Blogger SIN said...

Someone just needs to tell Madman aka Mohammed Abdul Rahim Galadari now to watch his back, as he could be next.
Kretin Times rules the roost in such matters...GN still has a long way to go :)

12 June, 2006 11:24  
Blogger Insipid Chagrin said...

Isn't it brilliant? The hostage situation, I mean? In all sincerity, i've been giggling away all morning.

The only way to battle against inhuman employment conditions is to take action, or at least protest vociferously.

Does this episode take the total tally to seven strikes/protests in the past 3 months?

There may be hope for the masses after all

12 June, 2006 14:38  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i like to suck dicks! am gay

12 June, 2006 16:08  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

for that matter all the newspapers in Dubai do that .

from khaleej Times , Gulf news, Gulf Today. Emirates Today and Evening Post they all do it.

by the way click 310 err..... i think ur are on the wrong platform.

12 June, 2006 16:49  
Blogger SIN said...

ummm...thx for letting us know about your sexual preferences click310...

12 June, 2006 17:14  
Blogger gone2352352352345634 said...

click310 said... @ 16:08
i like to suck dicks! am gay

Guess its finally time for me to register with :/

12 June, 2006 18:12  
Blogger gone2352352352345634 said...

Something new in Dubai, or not

12 June, 2006 20:01  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There are many things that are illegal in the UAE but unfortunately there is no respect for the law because it is seldom enforced. Racially discriminating job ads are illegal but newspapers like Gulf News accept racist ads whilst the respective companies go unpunished. Each day idiotic drivers who endanger the lives of fellow motorists are left to their reckless ways (Despite the much publicised unmarked patrols) For laws to be effective they must be applied equally to all- irrespective of nationality, citizenship, class or status in society, Sadly the UAE is a hierarchical society and a long way off from maturing. The result in the meantime is a move towards vigilante style justice. We are already seeing this happening with hostage taking and motorists stopping offending drivers thereby taking the law into their own hands. Pretty soon a market for DIY wheel clamps will emerge for those selfish inconsiderate parkers who believe they are above the law.

12 June, 2006 20:20  
Blogger Dubai Entrepreneur said...

I think you all have it wrong. You cannot blame the companies/organizations for withholding employee passports and ignoring the laws.

The problem lies with the government's laws that force an employer to take such actions. The liabilities on the employer are so severe that it forces the employer to resort to such tactics.

I've had my experiences with employees putting me in really tough spots because I refuse to withhold their passports. I still don't, but I can understand why others do.

12 June, 2006 22:10  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dubai Entrepreneur,

The fact is that many employers will find justifications not just for keeping passports, but also for not paying salaries on time or not providing proper accomodation to their workers.

Just like "you understand" why employers keep passports, similarly, other employers "understand" why salaries should not be paid on time.


12 June, 2006 22:48  
Blogger Dubai Entrepreneur said...

No, paying employees on time does not have any liability on the employer from the government. I think you have missed my point.

13 June, 2006 00:24  
Blogger Dr. Banner said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

13 June, 2006 02:09  
Blogger Dr. Banner said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

13 June, 2006 02:15  
Blogger Dr. Banner said...

Well said, Dubai_E -

employers can get into tough spots/big bills in case of employees absconding or even voluntarily leaving the country without cancelling their visas. What about the expenditure he incurred on their visa's? The risk multiplies in case of companies with a large work force.

13 June, 2006 02:37  
Blogger HULK SMASH! said...


13 June, 2006 03:01  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

No company has the right to hold passports - these are personal documents. If employees are treated fairly, paid a decent wage on time they would have no need to "abscond". It is only because many employers here seem to think they can treat people, at best like children, at worst like slaves, that employees have no choice but to "abscond". Until the Ministry follows a proper Employment Tribunal practice which is fair to all despite nationality this subject will not go away.

13 June, 2006 11:22  
Blogger ricardo said...

If you think GN keeping your passport, get a load of this.

Earlier this year, I left my job at Gulf News. I had to leave the country to cancel my work visa and decided for some r&r in Karachi. As a Brit, I needed to get a visa to visit Pakistan, but since GN were keeping my passport in their safe custody until they physically witnessed me checking in at the airport, I wasn't allowed to take my passport to the consulate to get the bloody stamp.

So what did Gulf News suggest? I had to borrow a friend's passport and deliver it to Gulf News HR department in order to 'liberate' my own. They would keep it as collateral until I handed mine back to them. They said it was completely legal and even wrote a receipt for it.

I would love to know where this floated in the waters of international law.

13 June, 2006 11:33  
Blogger Dr. Banner said...

Hey anon 11:22,
no matter what you pay workers, the risk still exists.

If absconded, their name still remains in your labour lists, you have to then pay up a deposit of about 1600 AED when he absconds and other immigration dept charges.The deposit will be refunded when the person is proved to have left the country, whenever that happens. Not to mention the amount of PR work, time and trouble that needs to be spent. Again your bank guarante of 3000 is stuck as if he has not left the country then his name still remains in ministry records. Not to mention the 3600 odd you spent on his visa. The training costs, your project deadlines, add to that complications from his/her banks(if he/she's taken a loan - company is supposed to inform the bank and execute his final settlements via them), etc.

I repeat - this will happen no matter what you pay them. Yes, passports are personal documents but the rules needs to protect investing employers. Think of a company having more than 500 workers. Alright you are paying them much more than competing companies. But will that really influence his decision when he wishes to either abscond for more money or return to his country of origin for whatever crisis related reason?

Whats funny is that most blue collar workers have been now defined by the Labour ministry as "temporary workers" as per ILO conventions. How then can compulsary hand of passports to their sponsoring employer be deemed illegal? Who will then be responsible to make sure the worker remains "temporary" - how will you control their flow in and out of the country?

Ofcourse there is a lot of exploitation (both ways)going on because of this. Hence the need for more sensible rules - which will come in due course.

So keep your miss goody two shoes approach in check - this is a matter having serious implications as 90% of this country's population are immigrants - temporary or what not.

13 June, 2006 12:21  
Blogger Tim Newman said...

As a Brit, I needed to get a visa to visit Pakistan, but since GN were keeping my passport in their safe custody until they physically witnessed me checking in at the airport, I wasn't allowed to take my passport to the consulate to get the bloody stamp.

You should have contacted the British embassy and said that your employer is holding your passport - property of the Crown - against your will, and you intend to report it stolen if it is not returned to you. You'd in all likelihood have got it back in no time.

13 June, 2006 15:16  
Blogger Woke said...

I believe every passports front page of every country clearly states that it should not be handed over to companies or establishments of the holders visiting/residing country.

I think once the system is in place whereby people who commit a crime or has to pay dues to the company trying to flee to another country, they can be blocked in the airport and action taken.

13 June, 2006 17:26  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Emirates Today dont hold staff passports.

13 June, 2006 18:42  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's bloody pathetic and insulting for GN to use such a practice. From what I hear Khaleej Times also does it. Let's out all these shyster publishers who do this...I have never heard of such rubbish!

14 June, 2006 11:50  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


So they publish an article that clearly states at the bottom that passorts cannot legally be held by companies but then take those of their own employees.

Simple answer, refuse to hand them over. Admittedly this may be harder for some nationalities etc. but it should be a no-brainer if you have a British passport.

14 June, 2006 19:10  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

15 June, 2006 01:38  
Blogger secretdubai said...

dxByeH - I have removed your comment here because you posted the exact same comment on this entry three minutes earlier. That means it's either an error, or you're trolling.

I am very happy for people to post critcism, as you should be aware I abhor censorship. That's why I've left your original, highly critical comment in the link above.

But repeatedly posting the same comment is abusive, so if you did do this intentionally, please don't do it again. Find something else to say and I will happily leave it up.

15 June, 2006 01:43  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There are so many Julius Caesars in the UAE that they have to wash their hands and play innocent. Not only Julius Caesars I think, there are also Pontius Pilates like Emirates Advocates & Legal Consultants. Claims to be law firm specializing in Labour cases but actually violates Labour provisions among its employees. Not only that, they are retaining their employees passports under the pain of non-release of salaries. And who is keeping the passports? Oh, the you can find it in the trunk of the PRO's car who claims that he is the General Manager of one of the Employer's companies. That is the scenario if you work for Emirates Advocates. AM sure you will not last for a year. And if you do, they will screw you up to the point that you will be forced to bargain by surrendering all your gratuities in exchange of your precious passport.

15 June, 2006 22:51  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I worked at gulf news... its a bloody joke company... Anyway they did report me as an absconder but I still managed to leave the country.. fly back.. and get another job.

18 June, 2006 17:03  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I work for a company who's owner is UAE's ambassador to the UK. They retain passports. It is not democratic and I feel imprisoned. I work in interior design..and it such practice blocks creativity. I am trying to understand the empoyer's risk reasoning - but it still seems to disrespect basic rights.

12 September, 2006 11:23  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

G day to you all...I've read your posts but in my opinion you posted mostly situations ,but not solutions.
What would be the solution in case your employer who's retaining your passport and not paying you the salary?
Let's now see if this forum is useful ..or not;)

01 December, 2006 12:57  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I had to leave my job. I had a resident visa & it was cancelled at the airport when I left. I read above in a response... that the company will be liable as its the companies job to get details from the bank I borrowed from to get final settlement before allowing me to leave Dubai. I have debt in Dubai but I was made redundant. I had to leave my debt unsettled. Will my company pay it back. I managed to leave the country no problem. I hear different rumours all the time. Some people say the company is liable & others say I will not be able to re-enter Dubai. does anyone have any answers? Also How would I know if I will have a problem re-entering?

29 March, 2007 00:33  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Where is madman Mohammed Galadari? Hiding behind an indian bollywood extra, I am told. He should be castrated the way he treated his employees - called them his slaves since he was paying their salaries.
If his secretary did not answer his call in 2 rings, her salary was cut for that reason. Shame on you, Mohammed.. you spoilt the name of your illustrious and noble father and mother.

10 February, 2010 19:01  

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