SINGAPORE: A 46-year-old man has been sentenced to nine months and two weeks' jail for harbouring an immigration offender, the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) said on Friday (May 3).
Bangladeshi national and former work permit holder Younus was sentenced on Tuesday after he was found guilty of allowing a fellow Bangladeshi, whose work permit had expired, to continue staying at a unit he had rented, ICA said.
Investigations revealed that Younus had rented a unit at Serangoon Road by enlisting the help of a friend to sign the tenancy agreement on his behalf. After taking control of the unit when the agreement came into effect on Feb 1, 2017, Younus sublet the unit to 32-year-old Hajra Md Naimul on the same day.
Younus did not ask his tenant for any documents to verify if his stay in Singapore was valid, and Hajra did not offer to show any identification documents.
Hajra was arrested on Apr 18, 2017, after ICA officers conducted a check at the unit and found he had remained unlawfully in Singapore after his Special Pass expired on Feb 5, 2017. He was sentenced on Apr 19, 2017 to a fine of S$3,000. He served 12 days' jail in default of the fine.
ICA said Younus had committed an offence of harbouring an immigration offender with "reckless disregard" as he did not exercise due diligence by conducting at least two of three mandatory checks.
Under the law, those who wish to rent their premises to foreign tenants must ensure their tenants' status in Singapore is legal by carrying out the checks.
These include looking at the tenant's original immigration or work pass, cross-checking their particulars against their original passport and verifying the validity of their pass with the issuing authority, such as the Ministry of Manpower or ICA.
Any person found guilty of negligently - defined as carrying out two of the three checks - harbouring overstayers or illegal immigrants may be sentenced to a maximum fine of S$6,000, up to 12 months’ jail, or both.
Those found guilty of recklessly - defined as carrying out only one of the three checks - or knowingly harbouring illegal immigrants or overstayers may face between six months and two years in jail and a fine of up to S$6,000.