Hold Workers Passport to Prevent Absconding

Are we allowed to hold workers passport? I guess many of us have the same practice. Under Passports Act 1966, 12,  employers must not hold the worker’s passport for any circumstance except for administrative purposes. And employer can be fined for a maximum fine of RM10,000, or a jail term of up to 10 years, or both, upon conviction.

Besides that, holding workers passport became a serious issue which is why JTKSM require employer to provide personal locker cabinet. So, we have no reason to hold the workers passport for safety purpose. In fact, there is a new clause of Safe Keeping of the Passport when signing the demand letter for hiring nepalese workers

But, does hold the workers passport preventing them from absconding? The answer is NO. Based on experience, workers will abscond any way without the passport. Therefore, we should study the reasons behind. Actually, its less than 10% of the total new arrived workers absconded. And most of the workers will serve the contract for average 2 years. 

Here are the reasons we should know. 

  1. Workers expectation unmatched. Normally, it happen when the workers overestimate their capability or underestimate the job scope. Therefore, we should explain the job description & working environment in details before the workers accept the offer. 
  2. Influence or mislead by third party.   Most of the workers are misleaded by their closed friend when they can’t raise their difficulties due to the language barrier. For that reason, we need a trusted translator when  communicating with them for important issues. 
  3. Working environment unharmony. Due to the different belief & culture, dispute always happen between the foreigner and the local. Thus, we need a rules to treat every nation worker equally, especially the workers  came from different nation. 
  4. Workers welfare unfair. All the workers will attend an orientation by the recruiters based on the contract. As a result, we must pay them accordingly and provide the welfare as promised in the contract to prevent any argument. 
  5. Corruption Culture. Although hiring illegal immigrants (PATI) is illegal, but many of us insist to hire PATI and try to corrup the related party to prevent legal action. As a matter of fact, this unecthical action has encouraged the workers absconding and its unfair to the exisitng employers. We must stop hiring PATI and say NO to corruption.  

Last but not least , there is always some workers absconding eventhough we have done our best as a responsible employer. If so, remember to lodge a report to the immigration and cancel their visa. In that case, immigration will blacklist the absconded workers and take legal action on them. 

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