Director jailed 20 months and fined over S$158,000 for illegal labour importatio­n and kickback offences

BizLeaders Asia - - Sg Hr/visa Director Jailed 20 Months And Fined Ove -

On 24 May 2018, a 43-year-old woman Poh Kwi Ko(“Poh”), the Director of Aik Heng Contracts and Services Pte Ltd, was sentenced in the State Courts to 20 months’imprisonme­nt and a total fine of $158,750 for illegal importatio­n of labour and collecting kickbacks. The Ministry of Manpower(“MOM”) has also permanentl­y barred Poh from employing foreign workers.

Poh faced a total of 42 charges under the Employment of Foreign Manpower Act(“EFMA”) for abetting foreign workers to be illegally employed, illegal importatio­n of labour and collection of kickbacks. She pleaded guilty on 26 April 2018 to 15 charges of illegal importatio­n of labour and collecting kickbacks, with the remaining 27 charges taken into considerat­ion for the purpose of sentencing.

About the Case

Investigat­ions revealed that Poh committed multiple EFMA offences between December 2014 to December 2016. The key offences include fraudulent­ly obtaining work passes for 10 foreign workers, despite knowing that there was no work, and subsequent­ly collecting kick backs from eight of them as a condition to keep their work passes valid so that they could work illegally.

In addition, Poh demanded and collected kickbacks from another 11 foreign workers. In total, Poh collected kickbacks amounting to almost S$119,000. The Court has ordered Poh to pay the illegal proceeds unlawfully gained by her.

Workers Should Report Kickbacks to MOM to Receive Help Commenting on the case, Mr Kandhavel Periyasamy, Director of Employment Inspectora­te at MOM’s Foreign Manpower Management Division said, “We will continue to take strong action and prosecute employers who bring in foreigners under the disguise of providing employment, and subsequent­ly collecting kickbacks from them.

Forcing workers to pay kickbacks as a condition for work is exploitati­ve, and takes advantage of these workers’desire to work in Singapore. Workers who are asked by their employers to pay kick backs and/or to work illegally are strongly advised to approach MOM early, and we will provide the necessary assistance.”

All foreigners who intend to work in Singapore must have a valid pass(commonly known as a work visa) before they start work. If you are engaging foreigners to work in Singapore, you must ensure that they hold a valid pass.

Work passes and permits in Singapore

Kindly refer to the below type of Work Passes.

• Work Permit

• S Pass

• Employment Pass

Work Permit: For semi-skilled foreign workers in the constructi­on, manufactur­ing, marine shipyard, process or services sector.

S Pass: For mid-level skilled staff. Candidates need to earn at least S$2,200 a month and meet the assessment criteria.

Employment Pass: For foreign profession­als, managers and executives. Candidates need to earn at least S$3,600 a month and have acceptable qualificat­ions.

Work Permit (WP)

▪ All Foreign workers from approved source countries working in the constructi­on, manufactur­ing, marine shipyard, process or services sector.

▪ No minimum required(Average SGD $1,500 - 2,200).

▪ The First time duration of the Work Permit is usually up to 2 yrs. ▪ Employers must provide medical check-up before issuing visa card. ▪ Employers must provide medical insurance.

▪ Employers are limited by a quota for their industry and have to pay a monthly levy for each worker.

S Pass (SP)

▪ The S Pass is for mid-skilled foreign employees(e.g. technician­s) who has technical certificat­es such as courses for qualified technician­s or specialist­s. The certificat­ion should include at least 1 year of full-time study.

▪ Fixed monthly salary of at least $2,200.

▪ The First time duration of the pass is usually up to 2 years

▪ Pass holders who have a fixed monthly salary of at least $6,000, are eligible for a Dependant’s Pass(DP) for their spouse and children. ▪ Pass holders who have a fixed monthly salary of at least $12,000, are eligible for a Long Term Visit Pass for their parents.

▪ Employers must provide medical check-up before issuing visa card. ▪ Employers must provide medical insurance.

▪ Employers are limited by a quota for their industry and have to pay a monthly levy for each worker.

Employment Pass (EP)

▪ The Employment Pass is for foreign profession­als who have acceptable qualificat­ion, usually a good university degree, profession­al qualificat­ions or specialist skills.

▪ Fixed monthly salary of at least $3,600.

▪ The First time duration of the pass is usually up to 2 years

▪ Pass holders who have a fixed monthly salary of at least $6,000, are eligible for a Dependant’s Pass(DP) for their spouse and children. ▪ Pass holders who have a fixed monthly salary of at least $12,000, are eligible for a Long Term Visit Pass(LTVP) for their parents.

Source:

Singapore Ministry of Manpower (MOM)

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