03 July, 2006

Letter sent to Gulf News


Why do you continue to run stories like this:
Retaining passports is 'forcible labour'
when you illegally forcibly retain the passports of your own staff? They are not serfs. This is not the Slave Age, much as you might wish it.

And don't give me any rubbish about their "contracts" and "company policy" - you know this practice is illegal, and that is utterly vile hypocrisy for you to accuse others of it in your newspaper.



BD said...

Ouch! Is that true? Does GN keep its employees passports. If so, that certainly is hypocracy, which I presume the government is guilty of itself. I've read articles in GN before criticising the labour department for keeping its own employees passports while at the same time saying the practice was illegal.

While I was working for the UAE military in the past my USA passport was being kept, until one fine day prior to the start of the latest Iraq war it was unexpectedly handed back to me without much explanation. The same was done for a British co-worker but not for the Canadians. Obviously some wheeling and dealing going on at higher levels.

Mutiny said...

Here is what I do. I take my passport from the company saying I'm going on a trip to Oman for the weekend and then never give it back. When they ask, I tell them that my passport is the 'Property of President of the Republic of India, Surpreme Commander of the Indian Armed forces and custodian of our Constitution", please give me a letter in writing so that I can consult with my consel general regarding your request.

"But your contract says that you have to leave your passport with us for safe keep."

"hmmm.... you or my President....hmmm I choose my President. Please refer me to the Ministry of Labour if you still want it"

case closed, you can keep it and everybody lives happily ever after.

BD said...

Good for you. Why can't more people do that? To answer my own question... they're afraid they'll get fired. But would they really? Probalby not. Most people are just timid and employers take advantage of that.

Don't be timid guys. Get your passports back and keep 'em!

BD said...

One more suggestion. When your employer tells you to bring your passport back, just tell them "Sure, tomorrow... insha'lah." Just like they do to you. Eventually, they'll stop asking.

Dubai Entrepreneur said...

Employees keep your passport because the government gives the employer hell when attempting to cancel your residency or visa.

Nevertheless, I believe the productivity gained by trusting and treating your employee as a human being far outweighs the potential headaches and fines that would result from an 'absconding' employee.

BD said...

^^^ But whatever justification given for employers holding passports, isn't it still illegal? The fact that this "law" is commonly ignored has resulted in no small amount of hardship for many people in this country. You can't just turn a blind eye when the effect of breaking the law has such a broad impact.

Dubai Entrepreneur said...

Businesses will always break the law if the law doesn't make sense. You can't just make a law and expect people to follow it. You have to make it feasible to apply _and_ police/enforce.

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