Holding Employees’ Passports! Reply

At My Work Place!

Holding Employees’ Passports!

Even in the title of my book had said it – A Cry For Help! – and of all the things going on at the workplaces that are really sad, tragic, unprofessional and unethical – leaving employees ever more disappointed, unhappy and frustrated – but then we are all talking to ‘brick walls with our already hurt and damaged heads’ – see www.majidbooks.com

A long time ago, a good Indian friend of mine had sent me this note of how ‘people control elephants’ minds’. When they are small one of their feet is tied to this chain. As the elephants grow up, the chain also gets bigger – until the elephant is big and an adult! The elephant can easily break the chain if it sets its mind to it – but ‘chooses not to’ simply because its mind-set thinks it cannot do so’!

There was a very emotional charged up write up by one expatriate lady in the other newspaper of ‘her boss’ holding her passport in the offices – despite as she tried to indicate that ‘The excuse’ given of safekeeping ‘on behalf of the employee’ – as either they live in rooms – or slum areas – and she lives in ‘a posh place and in a villa too’ – so the excuse cannot be ‘real and valid’! I just was ‘thinking aloud’ if she did talk to ‘her boss’ or not before writing in?

I want to make some points candidly and crystal clear here.

They are:-

  • As in all the fronts – transparency, empowerment, ethical, individual and professional levels, I have been AGAINST holding of Employees’ Passports for whatever and all the reasons given as to why this is done!
  • My own house maid of over 14 years now has her own passport in her own room – nothing worries me because I do not need a Visa to visit her at her home in Philippines – and even if I did I will easily get one!
  • The same concept and logic should apply to the Human Resources (Personnel) Department and Staff!
  • Human Resources (HR Personnel) have all the information, details and data of employees – they can also micro film archive passports’ copies – if they want.
  • In the last weather disasters – especially Gonnu –  the offices too ‘were still not safe either’ with the passports! So what gives here?
  • However,      having said that – honestly and sincerely – I can and do understand and do appreciate the reasons and justifications given by some Employers –      evidenced by so many cases of employees abuses and running away cases      putting employers in great stress, troubles with the law – even in jail and in bankruptcies. Even with passports held or get excuse to get it first!
  • Besides,  the whole of GCC and many countries are doing the same!
  • Including The Public Sector companies too for that matter!
  • The big question here  is – why only for such category and cut of employees is it      applied more than others?
  • The victims are usually more the expatriates at the lower echelons and levels – like unskilled, labourers, lower grades – and sometimes even to the supervisors and middle management levels. This even for large corporations-family-run – and even National Companies for that matter!
  • In some companies All The Expatriate Staff disregarding levels – even the Top Brass! Family-run businesses the more (this may shock many!)
  • Let us be realistic and factual – despite all these controls – employees still run away from employers – continuous notices in the newspapers confirm this – though usually we find unabated the same companies and individuals putting up such notices – which needs to answer the questions – what gives? Or what else is new?
  •  Another fact and reality is over 86% percent of the especially family-run businesses are ‘managed’ by fellow expatriates – so why don’t they just issue a circular and or note to the Human Resources Managers (supposed to be only Omanis) to ‘release all the expatriate passports’? Remember the elephant and chain story?
  •  The more shocking part is that some of the owners or GMs, MDs, Directors etc always appear in newspapers and media – smiling and cheerful ‘good nice characters’ – as if nothing is happening in their offices they control!
  • This is the most despicable and annoying part of the whole debacles and aspects here!
  •   ‘Do not deceive yourself’ into thinking that you are nicer and friendlier to the boss or the owner – and he or she will release the passport to you – at least!
  • I have seen so many cases of when the expatriate staff needs to travel home quickly and rapidly due to family deaths and sicknesses (even on own accounts as some companies do not give this facility!) – and the ‘passport holder’ has gone to UAE or Interior – and they cannot break’ the safes holding the passports – or in some cases the passport cannot be found even – again misplaced by ‘The Keepers’!
  •  In some irate and peculiar set ups they make the employees sign a declaration to ‘ask you to keep our passport with you for safe-keeping syndromes’ in order to circumvent the laws. Shocking again these are large companies too!
  •  Makes you really sick and to invalidate your Ramadhan fasting – by throwing up!
  •  Like I have said so many times before – it becomes just mundane and boring stuff now!

Please treat your employees better, professionally and ethically – they bleed too – and the blood is just as red as yours!

Take Care!

By Majid Al Suleimany