For illustrative purposes only For illustrative purposes only

Out of 71 Middle East hotel industry professionals surveyed in a recent HotelierMiddleEast.com poll, 60 (86%) said that hotels should not be able to retain employees' passports. 

Asked whether hotel employers should be able to withhold the passports of staff members for the duration of employment, the majority of hoteliers responded 'no', while 14% replied 'yes'.  

Many employers, including hotel companies, operating in Middle East countries choose to withhold employees' passports for reasons such as "safe keeping". 

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However, international law firm DLA Piper's managing partner - Saudi Arabia - Eyad Reda told Hotelier: "This is common although it is contrary to human rights and an employee can always ask for their passport back".

The issue was brought to light on HotelierMiddleEast.com last month when a former Fairmont Makkah Clock Tower employee claimed that a passport mix-up at the airport by one of the hotel firm's HR representatives had "ruined" his career. 

The 24-year-old food service staff member Mohamed Ayub said: “Why do companies need to keep employee’s passports? I was left unemployed for four months. I was unable to take up my new job, even after having received an offer letter, visa and a ticket. I was failed because of this negligence. I have suffered a lot and I’m a victim of this process.”