We have already explained in several articles about the legal right of an employee to keep his own passport. According to the Council of Ministers Resolution No. 166, the employer does not have any right to keep the passport of the employee.[irp]
However, generally many private and public companies keep the passport of employees with them. Hence, they are violating this resolution and employee whose passport is withheld can register a complaint against sponsor in the labor office.
I have explained in detail the legal right of an employee to keep his own passport earlier..However, if the employee is holding your passport and not giving it back to you, what can you do to recover your passport?
Normally employees need to hold passport only when they want to transfer their sponsorship, apply for a visa, renewal of passport or travel abroad. You should know that if your employer is in the red or yellow category of Nitaqat, you can Transfer of Sponsorship without Approval of Kafeel.
The procedure to transfer sponsorship if the sponsor is yellow or green is very simple. But you cannot transfer your sponsorship to another sponsor if you don’t have your passport in your hand. Passport is required in Jawazat to complete the process of transfer of sponsorship. In this scenario, you have three choices.
1-You can request your sponsor by giving some excuses that you need your passport back. You can tell him that you need to renew your passport if it is near to expire. If you get it from your employer, this is the easiest way.
2-If he does not give you back your passport, you have every right to complaint against your employer to the labor office. Don’t expect a quick response from them. It can easily take around 3,4 months to take a decision in your favor.
3-The third way is to treat as if you have lost your passport and adopt the procedure of getting a passport in replacement. The procedure to get a new passport if the passport is lost in Saudi Arabia has already been explained.
Keep in mind, if you will tell him the truth that your passport is with your sponsor, he will not register your report. He will ask you to go to Labor office for your sponsor. If you will tell him something else, you are giving wrong information to a police officer.
You can be detained and deported from Saudi Arabia with a GCC wide ban if the police come to know about it. Your every move should be sensible and based on your risk. I don’t take any responsibility for that.