A company director has been fined S$21,000, or nine weeks' imprisonment in default, for making false declarations in the work pass applications for 10 foreign workers in his company.
In a press release on Friday (Jul 8), the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) said 51-year-old Tan Boon Sing declared the monthly salaries of the workers to be S$2,200 in order to match the minimum salary requirement to apply for an S Pass, which applies to foreign mid-skilled technical staff in Singapore.
The workers were granted S Passes based on the false information provided, even though Tan knew they would be paid a lower amount. Although the workers were each paid only S$1,400 monthly, the company, KT Engineering & Construction, would issue a monthly S$2,200 cheque to each worker.
Tan instructed his former employee, 44-year-old Indian national Peyarijohn Shekatham, to collect back the difference in cash from each worker every month on his behalf. Peyarijohn told the workers that if they did not comply, their work passes would be cancelled and they would be sent back to their home countries.
MOM said following its investigations, Tan has returned the money collected to all of the workers. Tan and KT Engineering & Construction have also been barred from hiring foreign workers.
Peyarijohn will be dealt with "in due course" for helping Tan to collect kickbacks, the ministry added.
MOM's director of employment inspectorate for the foreign manpower management division Kandhavel Periyasamy said the false declaration of workers to qualify for S Passes is a serious offence.
"We will take strong enforcement action against such employers, including barring them from employing foreign workers," he said.
Since 2014, 55 employers have been prosecuted for falsely declaring their foreign workers’ salaries, according to MOM.
Under the Employment of Foreign Manpower Act (EFMA), offenders found guilty of false declarations can be imprisoned for up to two years, fined up to S$20,000 or both. For collecting kickbacks, offenders can be imprisoned for up to two years, fined up to S$30,000 or both.
Members of the public who know of anyone who contravenes the EFMA can call MOM at +65 6438 5122 or email the ministry to report the matter confidentially, the authority said.