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Can your employer keep your passport in Qatar?

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Like many other countries, Qatar has its own set of rules and laws that keep its people safe. The country has strict labour laws to ensure that all workers are protected.

The labour law ensures that employers and employees are taken care of, right from compensation to visas.

What does the Qatar law say about passport holding by employers?

In 2015 the State of Qatar issued Law No. 21 of 2015, which introduced new provisions regulating the entry, exit and residency requirements for Qatar’s workers. It took effect on 13 December 2016 and introduced new provisions, including measures to prevent passport confiscation.

In Section 8(3) of the said law, it is stated that:

The employer shall return the passport or travel document to the expatriate worker after finalizing the permit procedures or its renewal, unless the expatriate worker requests in writing that the employer keeps it with him, provided he shall return it to him/her upon his/her request.

What happens if an employer does not return the passport?

If an employer refuses to return an employee’s passport upon his/her request, the Ministry of Labor may subject the employer to penalties as it is illegal for an employer to keep an employee’s passport.

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What are the penalties?

According to the penalties in Law No. 21 of 2015, any person who violates Section 8(3) is subject to a maximum fine of up to QR 25,000.

How can you get your passport back from your employer?

If you’re stuck in this situation, it is advised that you file a complaint to your respective embassy or the Ministry of Labour.

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How to file a complaint?

Aside from reaching out to your embassy for this concern, it is also possible for you to file a complaint directly with the Ministry of Labour through various platforms.

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