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MANILA – The Philippine government on Tuesday reminded overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in Saudi Arabia that they have the right to keep and hold on to their Philippine passports while working there.
In announcement posted on the Official Gazette, the Department of Foreign Affairs said, “The Philippine Embassy in Riyadh reiterates to all Filipino workers in Saudi Arabia that, under Saudi and Philippine law, they have the right to keep and hold on to their Philippine passports while working in Saudi Arabia.”
The announcement said the Philippine passport is considered property of the Republic of the Philippines and only the bearer has the right to keep it.
“The Embassy firmly reminds companies and employers in Saudi Arabia who continue to keep their foreign workers’ passports, as a matter of practice and against the workers’ will, that they are violating Saudi law.”
Specifically, they may be violating Council of Ministers Resolution No. 166 dated 12/04/1421H (14 July 2000) which clearly states that “every employee has the right to keep his passport in his custody.”
The Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs also reiterated that the rule is still in effect, and that OFWs whose passports have been kept by their employers may complain to the Ministry of Labor or the police.
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