18 arrested for allegedly bringing foreigners into Singapore on illegally acquired work passes
SINGAPORE: Eighteen people have been arrested for allegedly bringing foreigners into Singapore on work passes acquired through false declarations, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) said on Tuesday (Sep 21).
The arrests were part of an enforcement operation conducted by MOM on Sep 14 involving a suspected syndicate. The operation took place over 12 hours across 22 locations islandwide.
“MOM began its investigations in July 2021 upon obtaining information of a foreigner’s attempts to acquire a work pass illegally,” the ministry said in a media release.
“Through detailed analyses over a few months, MOM uncovered a potential syndicate suspected of setting up several shell companies to apply for work passes, even though they had no legitimate business operations.”
Investigations are ongoing.
Under the Employment of Foreign Manpower Act (EFMA), those convicted of obtaining work passes for a business that does not exist, is not in operation, or does not require the employment of foreigners face a fine of up to S$6,000, up to two years in prison, or both, for each charge. Those convicted of six or more charges also face caning.
Those who hire foreigners seeking illegal employment may be fined up to S$30,000, jailed for up to 12 months, or both, for each charge. Convicted employers will be barred from hiring foreigners.
A foreigner who undertakes employment without a valid work pass faces a fine of up to S$20,000, up to two years in prison, or both. Those convicted will be permanently barred from working in Singapore.
“Members of the public who are aware of suspicious employment activities such as companies employing foreigners without valid work passes, persons receiving CPF contributions from unknown companies, or know of persons or employers who contravene the EFMA should report the matter to MOM at 6438 5122 or mom_fmmd [at] mom.gov.sg,” the ministry said.