I brought in some foreign workers about eight years ago, and sold the visas to another person here, on the basis that he would bring in the workers and they would do whatever work he wanted, i.e., they would not be working with me in my company. This was a condition between me and them, and we agreed that they would pay a portion of their salary to me at the end of each month, but this was not binding. Some of the workers have gone back to their own country, and I have no address for them, and some of them are still here, but I do not take any money from them. What is the ruling on the money which I have taken for selling the visas and the money I have taken from the workers?
Praise be to Allaah.
Selling visas is not permissible, because it involves telling lies, breaking the law and deceiving the authorities, and it is consumption of wealth by means of falsehood. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):
“And eat up not one another’s property unjustly (in any illegal way, e.g. stealing, robbing, deceiving), nor give bribery to the rulers…” [al-Baqarah 2:188].
On this basis, the money you earned from selling the visas and the money you took from the workers is haraam income, so you have to get rid of it and clear yourself of it. Whatever you have obtained by selling visas, spend it in charitable ways such as giving to the poor and building facilities that will benefit the Muslims.
Concerning the money which you have taken from the workers themselves each month, you have to give it back to them if they are still in the country, or try to send it to them in their own country. If you could not find out where they are or send it to them, then give it in charity on their behalf, because this money was deducted from them unlawfully and they were not compensated for it. You have to keep on repenting for this action, and never repeat it in the future. Whoever gives up something for the sake of Allaah, Allaah will compensate him with something better. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):
“And whosoever fears Allaah and keeps his duty to Him, He will make a way for him to get out (from every difficulty). And He will provide him from (sources) he never could imagine” [al-Talaaq 65:2-3]
From Fataawaa al-Lajnah al-Daa’imah, 13/70