Muscat Daily pokes dodgy employers who still hold passports

In an unexpected outburst from Mohana Prabhakar today in the Muscat Daily paper, the headline reads: "Holding passports is illegal, but who cares"

Its good to see some unprovoked prodding, and questions being asked of employers as to why exactly they are continuing to demand people's passports when joining them. I noted the absence of a direct out and out question to law enforcement as to why more is not being done to crack down on these law breakers but its certainly helping to draw more attention to what is very rightly described as an "unpalatable truth".

You can read the story here, and I note that if you are an employee and have to surrender your passport, you can contact Muscat daily, confidentially, by emailing

What do you all think about it? Personally I'm one of the lucky ones and if someone tried to take my passport away from me for a job I am confident enough to say bollocks to that and go and find another job. But I know I'm in the minority on that one.

Tomorrow, the results for the latest Poll - if you haven't voted yet - there's less than 24 hours to do so!

le fin.
Muscat Daily pokes dodgy employers who still hold passports Muscat Daily pokes dodgy employers who still hold passports Reviewed by Sythe on Sunday, August 14, 2011 Rating: 5


  1. That's weird. Because up until a few years ago Apex used to keep passports too. And Mohanna didn't have a problem with that. Unless you confronted her and then she'd blink and get Madhu, the long suffering guy in charge of administration, to give you yours. But if you were too scared to demand it, like most kids on their first jobs out of Kerala are (typical profile of staff of TheWeek in those days before Muscat Daily), it'd stay locked up with Madhu on the 8th floor. Don't take my word for it: ask him at

  2. It is quite easy to say and write articles quoting Ministry of legal affairs etc. For a white collar jobholder things hold good but what is the plight of a blue collared employee. If supposing u have a house maid and you hapiily leave her passport with her and get up the next day morning at a empty breakfast table, you will think of securing your maid.The MOMP and ROP should bring in some system in place that the immigration requires passport holder to get a clearance from Sponsor before boarding . This will give the employer the confidence to releasethe passports to the employees.

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  4. Oh i know an employer who keeps employee's passports with him... i know him personally, i didn't know that it's illegal...

  5. Anon 1 aka the X who was told off for fudging bills - you sure have an axe to grind.

  6. Anon 2, that's a great illustration of the difference in mindset that results in people in the Gulf thinking they it is normal to hold employees' passports (more the rule than the exception in Oman).

    In the 'real' world, if your housemaid, or any other employee, wanted just to disappear before breakfast, that is their right and a risk you take. You can minimise this risk by making sure that you recruit the person carefully (interview, references etc), that they fully understand their working and living conditions before they come, and then treating them with respect. This doesn't always work; some will still want to leave, but that's their right.

    The minute you PHYSICALLY prevent a human being from walking away (and that is effectively what you do by holding a passport), even from a contract with you, you have made them a slave. Many, many housemaids in Oman are effectively slaves.


  7. In complete agreement with Adnan. Going further, it is the sponsorship system that is the root cause of many evils and that needs to be abolished. Sponsorship system gives slavery an "official sanction" of sorts e.g. if you wish to learn driving you need permission of sponsor! If you wish to walk off you need permission! This system has given an air of superiority/authority to Omanis and in my opinion abuses like hoarding passport is a sequel of the same system and therefore mindset. Sponsorship system is the biggest human right abuse anywhere in the world.

  8. Will the US State dept consider the latest Muscat Daily story on page 4 on Aug 16 for its next Human Rights report? Well, my Muscat Daily sources tell me that the US Embassy spokesperson in Muscat "emphatically" declined to be quoted for the story saying they did not want to talk about the passport issue and human rights in Oman - so much for the American concern for Human Rights!

  9. Who are you? Who are you to say to me this?
    I pay 800 rial to buy this housemaid girl.
    Why I let her take passport. She now belong to me her sponsor. My property. I buy her.
    She has passport she just run away when I mistreat her or not pay her salary for six months. She will also want vacation. Why I give her vacation?
    She here for working and I "helping" her. All Omani good Omani alhamdullilah.
    She just tool for working. Clean house, make food, work 18 hour day for 80 rial. I generous. I keep passport. This is Oman. She only have rights on paper not in real world!

  10. Mohana Prabhakar is a total MILF! Sorry but it had to be said.Id let her hold my "passport" any time.


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