ANOTHER 75 EMPLOYERS AND 230 FOREIGN EMPLOYEES INVESTIGATED FOR SIMILAR OFFENCES
- On 18 February 2014, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) charged 22 foreign employees from India for providing false salary information to obtain work passes. This is the first tranche of foreign employees MOM is taking action against1.
Accused persons made false declarations to MOM to obtain work passes
- The 22 foreign employees2 made false statements to the Controller of Work Passes between November 2010 and September 2013 in connection with the applications for 19 Employment Passes (EPs) and three S Passes (SPs). They were employed by four separate companies – Vina Trading, Manthra Enterprises, Magnaton Ventures and Nalla Traders, which are franchisees of local convenience chain store 7-Eleven. (Please refer to the Annex for a breakdown of the 22 foreign employees prosecuted under each respective company.)
- Applicants for EPs or SPs must meet the minimum salary requirement. However, the accused persons knew that their employers would pay them less than the amounts declared. The accused persons thus made false declarations to MOM, when they signed declaration forms which indicated their salaries to be ranging from $2,400 to $4,5503. Among the accused, 15 of them had worked less than a year in Singapore.
- The 10 accused persons from Vina Trading pleaded guilty to the charges yesterday. Investigations revealed that these accused persons received their declared salaries from their employer, most of which were paid through GIRO. Subsequently, these accused persons had to withdraw cash ranging from $600 to $3,350, and return the monies to their employer.
- Following their guilty pleas, they were fined between $5,000 and $7,000 or in default five weeks’ and seven weeks’ imprisonment respectively. All accused persons did not pay the fines and will serve the in-default sentences. They will also be permanently banned from working in Singapore.
- For the remaining 12 accused persons, 11 of them sought an adjournment for their cases to be heard in Court on 25 February 2014 and 18 March 2014. The remaining accused person is claiming trial, and the matter has been fixed for a pre-trial conference on 28 February 2014. (Please refer to the Annex for details for the next Court hearing dates.)
- MOM will separately take action against the employers and the employment agents involved.
Foreign Workers Must Make Truthful Declarations
- The prosecutions are part of MOM’s continual enforcement efforts. There are stringent checks by MOM to detect and enforce against such false applications. MOM is currently investigating other similar false declaration cases involving 230 foreigners hired by 75 employers. MOM has stepped up on enforcement in this area following the raising of maximum penalties for false declaration under the Employment of Foreign Manpower Act (EFMA) in November 2012. Offenders will be severely dealt with – if convicted, they can be fined up to $20,000, and / or imprisoned up to two years.
- It is the responsibility of all applicants to make accurate, complete and truthful declarations to the Controller of Work Passes. Making a false declaration to the Controller through the fraudulent submission of salary information to circumvent work pass eligibility criteria is a deliberate attempt to deceive MOM.
- Members of the public who know of persons or employers who contravene the EFMA should report the matter to MOM at Tel: (65) 6438 5122 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. All information will be kept strictly confidential.
1Another 18 foreign employees, who have made similar false salary declarations, will be charged in Court on 27 February 2014.
2The 22 accused included 21 males and one female aged between 24 and 39 years old.
3The accused persons’ declared occupations included store managers, customer service managers and account managers.
Annex – Breakdown of the 22 foreign employees prosecuted under each respective company. – See more at: http://www.mom.gov.sg/newsroom/Pages/PressReleasesDetail.aspx?listid=542#sthash.unxUUyh0.dpuf