Agency steps up prosecution of employers for false work pass salary declarations

13 Nov 15

SINGAPORE

IMPACT – HIGH

What is the change? The Ministry of Manpower has charged another employer with making false salary declarations on work pass applications, and has announced that it is currently investigating more than 200 similar violations by 95 employers.

What does the change mean? The government continues to aggressively pursue investigations and prosecutions against employers who violate work pass salary minimums or make other false or misleading statements on their applications.

  • Implementation time frame: Ongoing.
  • Visas/permits affected: Employment Passes, S Passes.
  • Who is affected: Employers in Singapore applying for work passes.
  • Business impact: Violations of work pass regulations carry heavy penalties, including fines, imprisonment and loss of work pass privileges.
  • Next steps: Employers should make sure they are in compliance with all declarations on work pass applications.

Background: Over the past two years, MOM has stepped up enforcement against fraud in work pass applications and has successfully exercised its prosecutorial powers under the Employment of Foreign Manpower Act.

In the latest case, a former human resources director of a restaurant chain was charged with declaring a false salary amount for 20 work pass applicants to meet the minimum monthly salary threshold of 3,100 Singapore dollars (about US$2,175), while knowing that the employees would be paid less. The alleged violations are punishable by fines up to SG$20,000 and/or two years of imprisonment.

MOM also announced that it is currently investigating similar cases involving 241 foreign employees hired by 95 employers.

BAL Analysis: The recent activity is a reminder to employers that the Ministry is taking false statements in work pass applications seriously. Employers are advised to conduct routine compliance checks of their human resource policies and labor practices in Singapore.

This alert has been provided by the BAL Global Practice group in Singapore. For additional information, please contact singapore@balglobal.com.

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