Gulf News demands employees hand over their passports

By Alyson Fixter

Dubai-based Gulf News is forcing expatriate staff, many British, to hand over their passports, according to journalists.

The practice is common among companies in the United Arab Emirates,
but Gulf News has in the past taken a stand against it by publishing
articles warning readers it violates labour law.

However, the
human resources department has now asked for passports from staff and
threatened to withhold salaries from those who do not comply.

One
British staff member, who asked not to be named for fear of losing his
job, said: “Their defence is that, although Gulf News has asked all its
foreign workers to take part in an illegal activity, it is the workers’
fault because they agreed to do so in their contracts.”

But in a
statement, Annole Steyn, head of human resources at Gulf News publisher
Al Nisr, said: “It is company policy to hold employee passports when
they are in the UAE, if the organisation is the legal sponsor of the
individual.

On request of the staff member, they get their passport without delay. This policy applies to all staff members.”

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