Despite the fact that withholding of passports and blackmail are illegal in the UAE, it seems that there is a second set of rules when it comes to migrant workers. An Indian worker and his family are suffering greatly because the UAE doesn't bother enforcing its own laws.
Pravin (not his real name) is an Indian mechanical engineer who had worked in Dubai until July 2009 when he was fired. Upon starting his employment with the company, Al Mufaddal Engineering & Marine Services Co. LLC, he handed over his passport, original degree certificate and B.E. degree to his employer. To be able to return to India, Pravin needed his passport, which was confiscated by the employer in a violation of UAE law. Pravin, desperate to return to his family back home but without his passport, was forced to sign a document that claims that he owes the company money by his employer, Huzzaifa Tambawala, so he get his passport back. The employer never returned the other certificates to Pravin.
Pravin then returned to India and is now seeking employment in Saudi Arabia, but his potential employer is demanding that he produce his original B.E. certificate, which is held by the former employer who's refusing to give the certificate back. He claims that Pravin owes him money, showing the document he forced Pravin to sign before handing over his passport.
Currently, Pravin is unemployed, his family is in a desperate situation and he has a small child to support. He has previously contacted Indian embassy in Dubai but has not received a response. We approached the Indian embassy in Dubai and asked them to immediately intervene in this matter. We are yet to hear back from them.