I had Recently joined a new IT company, At the time of interview company didn't Talked about Documents , But after joining HR came to me and asked to submit my original documents , As I am a Experienced I said no to submit my Documents, after 3 months they told me that I had to travel abroad and asked for passport which i submitted and they gave me a written receipt for that . After 1 month when I had a talk with Senior HR ,he told me that they will keep passport and return it back when i will leave company. So is it right to keep a employee documents without his/her wish?
From India, Vizianagaram
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Community Manager
Recruitment/talent Acquisition, Career Counselling
Sr. Hr Executive @ Polymerupdate
Sr. Hr Manager
+2 Others


Keeping passports with the employer is a common practice in Gulf countries.
However, in my view, asking & keeping any original docs, itself is unfair labour practice & should not be resorted to by any professional company. I know of SMEs in Pune, who even take undated resignations from workers while joining !! so much for professionalism ..

From India, Mumbai

Hello Ashish,

In India, seizure of original documents is not legal.

No employer can ask the employee to submit their documents in original.

The next action depends on the kind of future that you wish to achieve.

If you are happy at work don't do something that would hamper your stay in the firm.

On the other hand if you think you wish to leave, again spoiling relations don't help.

Usually when an employee asks the employer to return the originals and if the employer don't oblige, the employee has full right to lodge a police complaint for this.

However, honestly I believe in one thing - The people that you meet today would help you proceed further tomorrow.

Even if you wish to resign from this company, do not forget many companies do a background verification and may call your current and/or previous employer(s).

If you spoil your relations, chances are they give you bad review.

The situation needs to be handled very tactfully.

Can you give little further information regarding if or not you wish to stay in the company and if you have tried to ask for the passport in writing and have any evidence (drafts of letters and the same being acknowledged by the HR/authority).

Did they give you any reasons in writing?

You mentioned you have a written receipt for the submitted passport. Did they mention any reason as to why are they taking your passport?

Can you elaborate on the content of this receipt?

All the best.

From India, Mumbai
Cite Contribution

Dear Ashish,
Its evident that an employer would retain a document if only they fear attrition. If you are satisfied at the job and is looking forward to grow, your employer shouldn't have any reason to such a knee-jerk reaction.
Here's what I would suggest, talking to a lawyer will only help you know your rights and not really get the document back unless you are determined to fight.
We understand , it isn't going to be a cake walk. However, we are assuming you have established yourself as an employee, at your role.
Speak to your Manager and share reason why would you want your passport back. Offer a genuine case. Then write a letter to the HR , keeping your manager informed about it.
We understand you have been supportively persisting on this. Show no fear and offer every assistance they might need.
Wish you all the best!

From India, Mumbai

Passport is the property of the Government of India. As per the Passport act, it is issued to the concerned citizen to be kept in his safe custody and to be used for travel abroad. And as per the same act, the passport must not be handed over to anyone else since it could be misused by the person.

You have to ask the HR person to give a receipt for the passport, mentioning the reason as to why they have kept it. If you give it to a travel agent to get a Visa of another country, they issue a receipt with the reason. This is required as per law.

Recently, there was a case in Bangalore, wherein the HR manager of a very small IT company used to take the passport of some selective gullible employees and keep it without issuing any receipt. The passport was then given to some outsider, who changed the picture and then tried to travel abroad. Obviously these travels used to happen for illegal purpose. He was caught in the immigration. When enquired, it was this HR manager who had taken the passport without the knowledge of the management. He was also arrested.

So, please send an official email to your HR manager that under the passport act, you are not supposed to part with the passport to any individual, leave alone the company without a proper receipt and the reasons mentioned therein. So please ask for the receipt with the reasons for retaining the passport. Mark a copy to your CEO. Ask them to return the passport immediately, if they do not have a valid reason to retain it, since as per the passport act, if someone has forcefully taken the passport by either misrepresenting facts or without consent, you have to immediately file a FIR with the nearest police station. You need to protect yourself from any violation of the passport act.

You can stress the fact that you are violating the passport act by parting with the passport without obtaining the reason in the receipt. And you would not like to do that. That should get them to think and immediately get the passport back.

Yes, in the middle east, some employers do take the passport. But the moment the employee complains to the embassy, the passport is given back. And the number of employers retaining the passports have reduced substantially, on account of a splurge of complaints from Indonesian maids. This happened a couple of years back, when the Indonesian government took a strong view and banned Indonesians from taking up jobs in Saudi Arabia. Then the Saudi government issued a notification that the passports cannot be kept with the employers. That is when the ban was lifted. Despite that, some employers do keep the passports. But then, either the trust level is good or the employee is gullible.

So protect your interests and ask them for the passport back in writing by quoting the passport act. Or ask them for a receipt wherein the reasons are mentioned. Tis is required by you, so that when the passport gets misused or lost, you can protect yourself.

From Indonesia, Jakarta
Cite Contribution

Thankyou Anonymous for contributing with the case and solution.
I have a question though. The employee had agreed for the submission of the passport, to the employer. Before the FIR is lodged , wouldn't it require the employer to issue a document-lost statement? I sincerely want Ashish, to remain out of every trouble and yet get his passport back.
Looking forward to understand how can this be resolved.

From India, Mumbai

He needs to first write to HR stating that as per passport act, he is not supposed to handover the passport to any one else without a proper receipt and the receipt must contain the reason for handing over the passport. Here in this case there has been a misrepresentation by the HR manager. He/She have taken the passport stating that the employee is being sent abroad and do the passport taken. After collecting the passport, the HR manager states it will be handed over upon resignation. No ethical Organisation would violate the law. And this act of the HR manager is not only illegal, but also is of consequences to the employee concerned, since as per passport act, he can be prosecuted in case the passport is misused. Hence, he needs to have a receipt to protect himself. Secondly, after obtaining a receipt, he needs to send a mail to return the passport after a reasonable amount of time, say, 15 days. In case, still the HR manager does not return the passport, then he needs to file a police complaint stating that the passport has been taken by the HR manager and it is not being returned despite a reasonable amount of time having lapsed. Hence, he will not be liable for any misuse of passport. Without going to the police, he just needs to highlight this aspect to the HR manager and he will get his passport back. In any case it's better to find another job with an ethical company and simultaneously file a FIR to protect himself, rather than being jailed. The authorities will not spare anyone if the passport is misused unless the complaint has been registered. It's b
From Indonesia, Jakarta
In my opinion, no employer should force employee to submit his original documents to the Company. If employee agrees, no issue. But, passport should not be kept under someone other than the owner.
From India, Mohali

Hello Everyone,
I think everyone seems to have missed out one CRUCIAL detail while giving suggestions to Ashish--he DID GET a Receipt from the HR Manager [as he mentioned: '........told me that I had to travel abroad and asked for passport which i submitted and they gave me a written receipt for that'].
What needs to be clarified by Ashish is the reason(s) mentioned in Receipt for the Company taking his Passport. Whether it's the same as what was told to him verbally ['told me that I had to travel abroad...'] OR totally something else OR nothing at all. Obviously, like (Cite Contribution) mentioned, the 'travel abroad' was just a ruse--but it's what's put on paper that finally counts I guess.
From the details available so far, I think the options open to him would depend a lot on this factor. In fact, I think, if the 'travel abroad' was the reason mentioned in the Receipt, then Ashish's job is made simpler.
@ Ashish--suggest respond with more details so that the members can give you better & more realistic suggestions.

From India, Hyderabad

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