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|10 May, 2018

Oman ministry bans companies from keeping employee passports

If a worker's services are terminated for refusing to surrender their passport, the termination may be termed illegal.

Airport customer service representative holding passport. Image used for illustrative purposes.

Airport customer service representative holding passport. Image used for illustrative purposes.

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Employers are prohibited from retaining the passports of workers as it is illegal and is banned, a leading legal office in Oman stated.

Speaking exclusively to the Times of Oman, Dr. Mohammed Ibrahim Al Zadjali, chairman of Mohammed Ibrahim Law Firm said, "The ministerial decision bans companies from keeping the passport of employee with employer. According to the ministerial decision 2/2006 issued by the Ministry of Manpower (MoM) dated November 6, 2006, it is against the interest of fair labour."

A spokesperson of the law firm said that despite the ban, some employers retained the passports of employees. In spite of the ban on keeping passports of employees, there are companies who keep the passports of their staff.

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"In such cases, an employee can register a complaint at the MoM since the dispute is related to employment," the spokesperson added.

Moreover, it is stated that if a worker's services are terminated by an employee for refusing to surrender his or her passport, the termination may be termed illegal. "A passport is a document issued by a national government, which certifies the identity and nationality of its holder for the purpose of international travel. For each country, the passport contains a clause that it is the property of the government of the country," the expert said.

"Therefore, the actual owner of the passport is the country that issued the passport and the person who is holding is only a custodian," the spokesperson added.

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