SR2,000 fine for keeping workers’ passports: Ministry

SR2,000 fine for keeping workers’ passports: Ministry


Fatima Muhammad
Saudi Gazette

JEDDAH — An employer who keeps the passports of his employees will be fined SR2,000 and the one who does not provide a copy of the contract to workers will be fined SR5,000, according to the new regulations of the Ministry of Labor.

A fine of up to SR15,000 will be imposed on an employer who forces his workers to do jobs not specified in the contract or if he asks workers to bear those expenses which he is liable to pay.

Fines will also be imposed on companies if they delay the payment of salaries, force employees to work extra hours without overtime payment, or force them to work during official weekends and holidays.

Violations also include forcing workers to work in the heat or in bad weather conditions without proper precautions.

Fines will be imposed on employers who deprive workers form getting recommendation letters or if a company does not provide training to at least 12% of its Saudi employees, according to the regulations.

Companies will be fined up to SR25,000 if they falsely claim the employment of Saudis or if they employ expatiates in jobs that are restricted to Saudis. Such companies will also be closed for five days.

Selling visas to expatriates results in a fine of SR50,000. Employing an expatriate without a license results in a fine of SR45,000.

Companies employing men on jobs marked for women will be fined SR10,000 for each male employee and will be closed for one day. Other fines are also specified for employing women in mixed areas and forcing them to work during banned working hours. Fines for such violations range between SR10,000 and SR5,000.

The ministry specified a fine of up to SR25,000 for companies violating safety and health standards. This also includes employing minors. The ministry also specified fines ranging between SR10,000 and SR20,000 on recruitment offices if they do not get license from the ministry before any recruitment process or if they do not register the services they provide on the system of the ministry.

Businesses owners will be fined SR25,000 if they provide false information to the Ministry of Labor and SR10,000 if they create problems in the work of the ministry’s investigation officers.

Fines for each violation will be doubled in case it is committed again.  A company is required to pay the fine within one month otherwise it will be considered a repetition of the violation.

Companies can appeal within 60 days after the violation has been registered.


  1. The move by Ministry is unanimously in favour of Employee. In the past many of expat workers were in trouble due to bad behaviour of their employer. I thanks Ministry for this excellent move.

  2. Currently employer holds the passport and gives Iqama to the employee. Kindly advise / confirm if this is going to end as per this news item.

    • I have the same doubt. It is mentioned keeping passports. What about keeping IQAMA, when they give your passport to you?
      With the new Muqueem Card, will I need both to go to Bahrain, for example?

  3. “Fines will also be imposed on companies if force them to work during official weekends and holidays” – Reporter, what do you mean in this above statement (weekend) (s)? please explain does this means Saturday is off for all workers in Saudi Arabia. I am desperate to have this one in my life before retirement from KSA.

  4. Its good to impose fines for different violations. But how ministry will know about violation. Will they go to each company and check did they keep the passport of employees or not? Will they ask every expat about the contract copies. Please provide a toll free number in each city to report the complain about employer. There are lot of expats want to complain but they couldn’t reach to labor office. They don’t know how to talk. They don’t know how to complain. Its better to provide toll free service to report about violations and other illegal activities.

    • You can register a complain in embassy, jawazat or labor office against your company. It’ll be difficult for them to inspect individually. If you want to keep youriqama and passport along with you, you can simply ask your company and if they deny to provide the same than you can complain, they’ll take necessary action against them and violated them.

      • Dear Sir, if we go against company they will find more ways to harass their employees. I want to know is there anyway to complain about company quietly. If anybody want to give hidden information to ministry. So they could raid.

    • No , they may not discover it during their very rare visits. the objective from imposing such fines is that you will have a ground if you rise a compliant to the authorities. you should not let them get your passport anymore.

      Good Luck

      • Salaam! I’ve been here in Saudi for almost 10 days now. I working as a housemaid and i am alone in taking care of one big house. There are 7 persons in the house; I have to work 12hrs a day& I am unable to cook. Also, the Madam told me that i will have to buy my own rice or they will deduct the amount during giving of my salary. When i came here, first day she gave me a used toothbrush. I talked to my employer(baba) that i can’t work alone in his house in this condition; it’s so sad and always worked whatever they want, until now. I talked to my agency too, but they don’t have any solution. I really want to change my employer, can you give me some advices?? Pls

        • Go to your embassy and mahktab it’s better bring your problem directly to them whatever nationality you have.

  5. Well, From the empirical experience I have there seems to be no strict application of laws like these, rather the tables suddenly turn the other way around and become an additional burden on the expat community as well

    • I am 100 % Agree with Mr. Zain Reply because Zain written actual fact (rather the tables suddenly turn the other way around and become an additional burden on the expat community as well).
      According to my point of view these rules will not be applicable actually, and there is no such happening in KSA to follow these type of strict regulation.
      So, This one is only for news advertisement my dears.
      I wish these regulation Impose in KSA.

  6. I am so happy i hope this news is for real i can sue my sub con and penalize him i dont have my passport with me which makes 2000 penalty for him and secondly i dont have my work contract which again makes 5000 for him which is a very awesome news there is lawlessness prevailing in companies and there is no check and balance i work for a sub contractor i am planning whether i should go to the labor court or no friends please advise

  7. All good on paper. When have laws ever been implemented by the Ministry of Labour. Depends who a company’s friends are.

  8. There should be a toll free number or email on which an employee can complain about his employer and a quick and stricted action should be taken against employer and if employees are giving wrong info they should also be fined at the spot.

  9. My passport take my employer change in my iqama..all co workers same problem me.. what can i do..thanks..then my companies didn’t follow this new rules

  10. Kafeel has my passport and now when I ask for my final exit he is demanding 6000 SR for my final exit formalities. I took this matter to the Indian embassy and they didn’t help out much, they advised me to give the money to the Kafeel to avoid problems. Please advise on what can be done in this situation.

  11. Is there any direct line of Ministry of Labor where we can directly report our status as employees regarding the violations of our employer?
    1. Keeping our passport
    2. Paying our visa through salary deduction worth 2,000Sar
    3. Not paying our overtime
    4. Changing of contract when we arrived here in the Kingdom

  12. our company are keeping our passport no copy of our contract and we are working in regular hours in Saturday. And their’s a lot of people waiting for their iqama to be renewed for almost 4 months already.

  13. I came August 28 with 3months visa as dressmaker..but I’m beautician until now no iqama mo medical my brother compliant already in maktab al amal about this matter but I still wanted to know from u ..If we are able to do home service until 2 to 3am ? And my employers reason is she give me 100sr? Even in shop im performing massage kapeel said no receipt because it’s violation after I told them in case they check my income n shop is very low and they wanted to lower my salary ..only 1 table massage same for facial without door and inside that room has fridge and for drower for food..i haven’t see balidiya coming over for inspection too? All workers no iqama even modir she is filipina she has only saudia sponsor

  14. Does this apply to expats working at ministry? i’m an expat and currently working at the ministry of defense and we were required to surrender our passport.

  15. what about my employer not follow the rules of ministry, confiscate passport iqama marriage contract, always delay salary. sometimes my wife is borrow to sister??? plz! need help how to complain

  16. First MOL should have Toll Free Complaint Helpdesk to address the issue of employee in major languages like Urdu, Bengali, Malayalam, Hindi, Basha Indonesia & English Etc.apart from Arabic to express their pain comfort on their mother tongue.

  17. Please give us a contact number to contact about our complaint because my company violate to much labor law .in my area if we go to labor office the complaint will not reach to the labor because my employer got somebody thier please

  18. Good news for all the workers of development work for food company… Please help us here because we’re not giving vacation and exit were all finish contact… They asking us 10,000 rial for guarantor if we want a vacation tnx…

  19. Do we have to go to the Ministry to complain? I think it’s hard to get there…. It’s better if you provide us the procedure on how to complain our company..

  20. Too good
    but thing is WHO WILL MONITOR & CHECK ?
    Like still companies are not willing to give back the passports
    In addition many people are working on Saturdays as regular job days even govt. has put restriction on that.

  21. This is joke only. We work 12hours without over time. We receive 1,200 a month but in our contract 2000. They are even holding our passport. We don’t have contract from the management. No food allowance to.

  22. I’m so happy to read this news,,but I’ want to ask till now 3yrs working in my new emplorer.Our company kerping my passport not given to me n to all my coworker..,,and 2ndly this end of October our contract will finish..its possible that I can get a released paper n transfer to other company….I’m hired here.Thnk you

  23. Comment:the news is very good but is it going to be implemented is the authority concerned going to be fair to the employees are they going to dig and know the employers who violate these laws cos right now there so many employers who are holding not only the passports of their employees but also their cell phones n does so many misgivings to them

  24. Ministry should announce cancellation of all Existing False Huroub and allow transfer of sponsorship to new sponsor under new amnesty.

  25. Our company didn’t follow any rule and regulation of ksa if you do’t believe me please request you to inquiry once

  26. Its all for show. In reality these rules arent implemented. When i askedmy company for my passport they said that these rules arent taken seriously.

  27. This is a very good initiative by the Saudi government. However, the Saudi record of enforcing laws against its own citizens is a joke. We hope that would not be the case here.

    Also, contract papers should NOT be in Arabic.

  28. Who shall be responsible when a employee runs away with passport and iqama ? Who shall refund to company money for expensive recruitment which cost in some of cases as high as SR 20000 per recruitment including all costs involved. In other countries recruitment is local so there is no cost but in Saudi Arabia, all workers are brought at account of employers so who shall be responsible for these costs? Employee or Ministry if a employee runs away after arrival ? Most of them would surely do so as they once land in KSA have friends who guide them to get another employer at higher salary or work as independent worker under a illegal sponsor. Majority of workers, nearly 50% are working in their own businesses by paying to a sponsor monthly money for taking his sponsorship, it is well known case, not hidden.

  29. It’s so good if it is true… but we don’t know when it will be implemented. The law that prohibits the employer to keep the passports of their employees had been there for several years but the Saudi Ministry did not enforce the employers to implement it… So, What’s New?

  30. Thanks to ministry has taken a necessary steps towards employer. It is very illegal act that workers passport keep by employer. This decision has to be taken before 10 years because almost rules are changed and violators are running over stay in the country due to not getting their passports from employers or saudi sponsor. Since last 2 years expatriates faced a problem towards kafala, iqama renewable, transferables and many more. Sponsor are blackmailed them and looting thousands of riyals which they cannot afford and pay huge amount to go there home countries. Good decision but late… now violators easily to move their home countries without suffering from employers. Employee have full rights to keep passports with them and they can easily move to home land in case of emergencies…

  31. i came to the saudi on 11/06/ has taken my passport and still i not received the i take that.

  32. Well well well… regulations sounds like sugar-coated donuts but they don’t taste like them because I don’t see how they’ll be implemented.

    – What’s the system of check & balance?
    – Will ministry of labour hide the info of the employee who complained from his company or employer?
    – Most of the private-sector companies don’t give holiday on Saturday and government knows it.
    – Most of the companies and employers keep passports of employees with them.
    – Most of the companies make their employees to work more than 8 hours workout ant overtime payment setup.
    – Until his Iqama expires, an employee can’t transfer his sponsorship even if his sponsor runs away and takes money from employees.

    Then comes the Exit/Re-entry visa which costs 200 for one-time and 500 for multiple-time; which remains unchanged and only company or employer can make such requests.

    Lots of improvement is required and they’ve the manpower to correct it.

  33. what is the benefit, if we keeps our passport, anyhow we cannot travel without exit re-entry visa and issuing that is only authorised for sponsors.?

  34. whatever rules the government imposes..our company dont follow it because he knows someone in the labor office to help him get through on any violation he commits…inhumane acts toward employees!!

  35. I’m so happy to read this message from Saudi Gazette.
    However, some Saudi companies do not follow these rules. Now I’m working as a house keeping Supervisor.
    As per my Agreement the total working hours is 8 hours; but still I have to work 9 hours daily, without any overtime payment. Further, my working days are 7 days per week — no weekends holidays or day off.

  36. Very good news for expatriate. Our company has already returned the passport of all employees and all have issued contract.

    Thanks the KSA government for their good policies.

  37. whatever rules the government imposes.. many companies don’t follow it because they know someone in the labor office to help them get through on any violation they commit … inhumane acts toward employees!!

  38. We have to pay SAR 750 for iqama renewal and our passports are with the kafeel. This is not the first time and will not be the last. They violate the rules with impunity but we are entrusting everything with Allah. We pray to Almighty Allah to put an end to our plight.

  39. All is good that every company has to give the paasport to his employees according to new Saudi law. Please tell me with this what are the benefits to the employees. And if the employee is on suppliers visa or through a contracting company working in another company then in this situation will the supplier give the passport?

  40. my contract is finished more than a month already my company still not processing my final exit, where can i report my problem with my company, i dont have my passport and iqama also.

  41. I just got my passport back in to my custody after this new fines implemented, Thanks Ministry.

    I want to know about what’s the benefits to keeping passport in your hand? can any one reply?


  42. Guys this policy is gonna be taking place in Jan,2016 so you are not entitled get your passport, contract so be happy .once 2016 begins its atomically converted after that your are gonna have everything . The benefit of having passport helping in other job because opportunities keep coming like you work in sauhudi suddenly you receive a job offer in other place , company , country in that case if you have passport , you will move for it easily .

  43. How about if the company did not give my benefits..because i plan to file exit,my contract near to end…,.,..,theres any further action for that???

  44. I am really amazed at the story I am reading, I am just planning to move to Saudi on a two year contract. In January how can I go about avoiding any issues of violation from my company

  45. Im currently working in armed forces hospital southern region, Khamis Mushayt, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia as a nurse. But it seems that they are not still following this policy. Presently they are not allowing me to go on holiday and they are keeping my passport because of the reason that somebody complained about me without any basis. I was even on vacation when that incident happened. And they didnt follow the due process in investigating. Just want to ask what am i going to do regarding this matter.. Hoping for your immediate and positive response.. Thank you..

  46. Indian summer cusine company pvt ltd. Riyadh
    company force to employee sign to the agreement for handling passport…….pls help me company saying didn’t provide any other facilities. if anybody can take passport he has any medical issues company won’t help

  47. I went to JAWASAT to update my passport detail, but they refuse – supposed to be the employer will update the passport detail.

    If I ask to employer to do that they will hold my passport.

    We are happy if the empoyee – can update their passport

  48. Is there any direct line of Ministry of Labor where we can directly report our status as employees regarding the violations of our employer?
    1. Keeping our passport
    2. Paying our release paper worth 15,000Sar
    3. Not paying our overtime
    4. Always delay of Salary in 2 months.
    5. Changing of contract when we arrived here in the Kingdom
    6. Not renewal of our Iqama o Residence Permit
    7. Job title are not same of our position.
    Please i need direct line number or Email of Ministry of Labour

  49. making foolish and nothing, 2,000 SAR only fine if you proof that your company is holing your passport and do you think after complain you will continue your job in the same company???

  50. Honourable sir,
    Currently kafeel keeping my passport at his own hand and do not give Iqama.
    I am working since 4 month.
    What I do now ?
    Help me.

  51. Need help for my best friend who is working in Yanbu; her employer not treating her well; she has to arrange her own food, and she don’t have her Iqama yet; she is working as a household.. kindly help us for my bff..

  52. How about domestic helper who is planning to go home but not yet finish contract?but the employer is asking them to pay 20 thousand riyal for not finishing their contract? Is that legal,,? My employers take my iqama and passport..even asking me to work in other house is it allowed?

  53. Expatriates are very thanksful to saudi government because of their laws and new steps in Kingdom. But make sure a toll free number for complains and a complete check and balance community should there.which will be responsible to take to allow companies to follow all rules and regulations by hook by crook.. Otherwise all these rules will keep only in files or news paper.but it’s really a good move for all expatriates workers.

  54. Im almost 9mnths working here as domestic helper, up to now i dont have an iqama and my passport is handled by my employer.i have a problem w my employer thats why i call hotline 19911 to complain,when i gave the id no. Of my employer they found out it is not register, where can i ask for help? ,

  55. Assalamo’alaikom…from RIYADH CITY.

    My problem about the Company who kept PASSPORT:

    My company/boss didn’t provide my personal PASSPORT even i requested to him.I need to renew my Old passport to ELECTRONIC.I have already appointment from Philippine Embassy (May 30,2016) that will be tomorrow at 9:00am (Monday).. I dont know what to do… Thank you!

  56. Our Company don’t want to hand over our passport, instead they are forcing us to sign a waiver stating that we let the company to handle all passport of employees. anyone who know where to file a complaint against thiskindof company?

  57. This law is well said and am in a company crushers division ,
    1’no safety and it working environment is with a lot of dust.
    2’drinking water not clean
    3’working hours 10 hrs,overtime 2 hrs not paid according to saudia labour law.
    4,no copy of contract and yet I don’t have my passport in my hand .so we need some effort from labour ministry

  58. Our comapny is also holding our passports. They will give the passport of only we give them SAR 6000. After that we have to purchase our exit and ticket if we need to move.

  59. I am working in al samaya company from three years but they didn’t give me the iqamma and contract copy. My case is in labour court from more then one year. They didn’t want to pay the government fees for the renewal of iqamma. I want to final exit . Pease cntact Company admin and help me…

  60. This is only address for Jeddah how about in Saudi
    Not all employers are given advice for this
    They don’t know that there is law and fines for holding passport of there employees
    Maybe you should give them an information about this
    Specially thous who have kadama or housekeepers
    Please do inform them

  61. I came to work here in a Saudi restaurant as Chef but my owner is shouting and forcing me to clean the premises; thus I tendered my resignation; at first, he accepted it with a 2 months’ notice. Now, after 1 month, he is telling me that as per Saudi law I can’t resign and still harassing me; I want to go home asap and I booked my flight for 16 April 2017. However, he is not letting me to go; pls help me..

  62. Dear Saudi Gazette team,
    I would like to know about job resignation rules and vacation in Saudi labour law. I’ve completed one year here now and I don’t like to continue this job with my current company. My Iqama is expiring on July 30, 2017. How can I tender my Resignation? Kindly help please.

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