For Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs), the Philippine passport is an essential travel document which serves as personal identification. It gives you privilege to demand immediate expatriation from the country which is in conflict or puts you in danger. It is your right not to give in to the demand of your foreign employer to get your passport from you. You have the sole right to safeguard it at all cost.
Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, and UAE have laws that protect this right. However, reports that many OFWs end up being blackmailed by their employers still prevail. Employers want it to ensure that their employees will not leave them without permission.
If you happen to be one of them and you want to take your passport back, or you knew anyone whose experiencing the same scenario, these 3 tips will be helpful for you:
#1- Tell your employer that your passport will expire soon and you will renew it.
This excuse is the easiest way to get your passport back. Your employer would not want you to have an expired passport. Just make sure that your passport is truthfully near its expiration date as your employer can see it.
#2 – File a complaint to the labor office against your employer
If your employer refused to give it back, you have every right to take legal action. However, do not expect an immediate result. Usually, it would take 3-4 months before you receive a favorable decision.
This move can put you in a big risk, too. Your employer may take it against you and scheme ploys that will place you into troubles.
#3 – Apply for a passport replacement
Consider it lost and get a replacement. Adopt the procedures on obtaining a passport replacement. Now, here’s the catch- make sure that when you file a police report, you would not tell them that your passport is in the custody of your sponsor. Treat it like you actually lost it, citing negligence as the reason of loss.
Finally, always keep your passport with you. If your employer asks for it, cite this – “It is not allowed for any party to detain the passport except by the official parties with the judicial order and according to the law.”