SINGAPORE: A logistics company has been fined S$18,000 for falsely declaring in its work pass application that it had considered local candidates fairly in order to hire a foreigner for a job position.
Ti2 Logistics was also banned from hiring foreign employees for two years, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) said in a news release on Tuesday (Mar 10). The work pass of the foreign employee hired for the position has been revoked.
The company’s sole director Francis Chiang, who is in charge of recruitment, pleaded guilty to one charge under the Employment of Foreign Manpower Act.
The company had submitted an Employee Pass application for Zhou Jianxin, a Chinese national it had pre-selected for the position of general manager, in June 2019, court documents said.
Zhou, who was introduced to Chiang by an acquaintance in early 2019, reportedly had vast experience and networks in the shipping industry and was capable of managing an overseas office.
As Chiang was planning to expand Ti2 Logistics' business to China, he decided to hire Zhou as a business development manager for the Singapore office. He was to be be posted to China to run operations there later.
In the application, the company indicated that it had interviewed one foreigner for the position.
It was rejected as the company did not comply with the Fair Consideration Framework requirement. Under the framework, companies are required to advertise a job position on MyCareersFuture.sg – formerly Jobs Bank – for two weeks before they can apply for an Employment Pass for the position.
“To circumvent the FCF requirement, the company posted an advertisement on Jobs Bank for the position of Business Developer Manager on Jul 10, 2019,” MOM said.
Court documents added that the "company did not indicate that it required candidates to have knowledge and experience in the shipping industry and to be based overseas in China".
These are key criteria in assessing the suitability of the candidates for the position, it said.
COMPANY DID NOT INTERVIEW LOCAL CANDIDATES
Investigations showed that 22 local candidates responded to the advertisement and submitted their resumes via Jobs Bank, MOM said. However, Ti2 Logistics did not consider any of the local applicants.
Ti2 Logistics then resubmitted the Employment Pass application for Zhou on Jul 26, 2019. They stated in the new application that they had interviewed two Singaporeans and one foreigner for the position, and considered local candidates fairly.
However, Chiang later admitted that he did not interview or consider any Singaporean candidate fairly for the position, which he had already offered to Zhou.
Zhou was granted an employment pass on Nov 4, 2019, based on the confirmation on the application form.
Ti2 Logistics is the first firm to be prosecuted for making false declarations on fair hiring conditions under the enhanced Fair Consideration Framework, MOM said.
The ministry imposed stricter administrative penalties under the framework in January, in order to strengthen deterrence against workplace discrimination.
“Ti2 Logistics’ conviction is a strong reminder to employers that MOM does not tolerate any form of workplace discrimination,” said Ms Christine Loh, director of employment standards enforcement at MOM.
“It is unacceptable for employers to treat the job advertising requirement under the FCF as a paper exercise. We will continue to be vigilant on discriminatory employers, and take stern action against those who try to circumvent our fair hiring requirements.”
Employers who fail to make accurate, complete and truthful declarations to the Controller of Work Passes in their work pass applications are liable to a fine of up to S$20,000, a two-year jail term, or both for each charge.