Eight Employers and Two Employment Agents Charged for Falsely Declaring 41 Foreign Employees’ Salaries
11 April 2014
Nine convicted, fined between $8,000 and $56,000
1. On 10 April 2014, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) charged eight employersi, who are the franchisees of local convenience chain stores 7-Eleven, and two employment agentsii (EA) in the State Courts for providing false salary information to the Controller of Work Passes. They allegedly made false declarations between 11 November 2010 and 11 September 2013 in connection with applications for 41 work passes – 35 Employment Passes (EP) and six S Passes.
Employers and EAs made false declarations to obtain work passes
2. One of the criteria for granting EPs or S Passes is that applicants must meet the minimum salary requirement. Investigations revealed that the eight employers from the following companies – Vina Trading, Manthra Enterprises, Magnaton Ventures, Nalla Traders, Chandrani Enterprise, Niche Formulas, Changrich Enterprise, and Rui Fuels & Services – declared during the application for work passes that they would pay the 41 foreign employees they were hiring, salaries ranging from $2,400 to $4,550. However, the employers allegedly intended to pay the foreign employees salaries much lower than the amounts declared. The employers had thus committed an offence under the Employment of Foreign Manpower Act (EFMA) of furnishing false information to MOM.
3. MOM’s investigations also showed that two employees of Ethics Career Solution Pte Ltd, which facilitated the placement of 21 of the 41 foreign employees, allegedly submitted false salary information in the work pass application forms. The two employees are also charged in Court for furnishing false information.
Conviction and penalties
4. Out of the eight employers, seven had pleaded guilty to the charges. They were fined between $8,000 or in default four weeks’ imprisonment, and $56,000 or in default 42 weeks’ imprisonment. One remaining employer has his case adjourned to 8 May 2014. One of the EAs was fined $22,000 or in default eight weeks’ imprisonment and the other was given a $40,000 fine or in default 15 weeks’ imprisonment.
Actions taken against all parties involved
5. MOM had in February 2014 taken action against the 41 foreign employees involved in the false salary declaration scamiii. Some of them had their much lower salaries paid in cash, while some returned cash amounts ranging between $600 and $3,350 per month to their employers, after receiving salaries of the declared quantum in their bank accounts. All were charged in Court on 18 and 27 February 2014. Of the 41 accused, 37 were fined between $5,000 and $7,000, while four cases are still being heard.
6. With the charging of the employers and EAs in Court yesterday, MOM has initiated prosecution against all parties involved in this case.
Employers and EAs must make truthful declarations
7. Prosecution of the parties involved in this case is part of MOM’s continual enforcement efforts against circumvention of the work pass framework. There are stringent checks by MOM to detect and enforce against false applications. MOM is currently investigating other similar false declaration cases involving 256 foreigners hired by 93 employers. MOM has stepped up on enforcement in this area following the raising of maximum penalties for false declaration under the 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.
8. All work pass applicants must 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.
9. 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.