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The Ministry of Manpower has charged eight employers and two employment agents for providing false salary information to the Controller of Work Passes.
The false declarations, allegedly made by franchisees of local convenience stores 7-Eleven, were believed to have been made between 2010 and 2011 in connection with applicants for 41 work passes – 34 Employment Passes (EPs) and six S Passes.
Investigations by MOM revealed eight employers – from Vina Trading, Manthra Enterprises, Magnaton Ventures, Nalla Traders, Chandrani Enterprise, Niche Formulas, Changrich Enterprise, and Rui Fuels & Services – declared they would pay the 41 foreign employees they were hiring salaries ranging from $2,400 to $4,550.
However, it was apparently discovered the employers intended to pay the foreign employees much lower than what was officially declared. Some had their lower salaries paid in cash, while others returned cash amounts of between $600 to $3,350 per month to their employers, after receiving salaries of the declared amount in their bank accounts.
This is an offence under the Employment of Foreign Manpower Act (EFMA).
MOM’s investigations also found two employees of Ethics Career Solution Pte Ltd – which helped find job placement for 21 of the 41 foreign workers – allegedly submitted false salary information in the work pass application forms. They have also been charged for furnishing false information.
Of the eight employers, seven have pleaded guilty to the charges and were fined between $8,000 or in default four weeks’ imprisonment, and $56,000 or in default 42 weeks’ imprisonment. One remaining employer’s case has been adjourned to May.
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.
All involved were charged in February. Of the 41 accused, 37 were fined between $5,000 and $7,000, while four cases are still being heard.
Offenders of false declaration under the Employment of Foreign Manpower Act (EFMA) can be fined up to $20,000 and may face a jail term of up to two years, if convicted.