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     FrontPage Edition: Fri 9 Dec 2005

52 illegal foreign workers nabbed in raids at 13 coffee shops

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Source: www.mom.gov.sg

52 Illegal Foreign Workers Nabbed in Coffee Shops

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In a raid conducted on 29 Nov 2005 at 13 coffee shops, the Ministry of Manpower¡¯s (MOM) Employment Inspectors arrested 52 foreigners on suspicion of working illegally at food stalls without valid work permits1.
Among them, 27 were immigration offenders2, 17 were social visit pass holders, three were special pass holders3 and the remaining five were invalid work permit holders.
Since January 2005, MOM has stepped up its enforcement operations against the illegal employment of foreign workers in various industry sectors.
For the first nine months of 2005, 353 inspections were conducted against illegal employment in the Food and Beverage (F&B) sector, up by 45% from 243 inspections during the same period last year.
Correspondingly, the number of foreigners arrested for working illegally increased from 359 to 411. These foreigners were found working illegally as food servers, cooks, stall assistants and cleaners at food outlets and restaurants.
Mr Ng Cher Pong, Divisional Director of the Foreign Manpower Management Division said ¡°Strict enforcement is necessary as illegal deployment of foreign workers will push out Singaporeans from those jobs. MOM is therefore taking a tough stance against illegal employment and deployment of foreign workers in Singapore. We will step up operations in sectors found to be prone to Work Pass abuse and take stern actions against errant employers.¡±
Foreign Worker Education
Besides stepping up enforcement actions, the Ministry has also intensified its efforts to educate employers and foreign workers on employment and immigration rules and regulations so that they can play their part to minimise such offences.
The Ministry recently launched a series of bus-stop advertisements to educate foreign workers on their employment rights and responsibilities. For instance, one of the advertisements highlighted to foreign workers that they should work only in jobs stated in the work permit and they could seek MOM¡¯s assistance if they were asked to work in a different job.
The Ministry would like to remind employers that they should not employ foreign workers without valid Work Passes.
Employers of foreign workers should also not deploy them to work in an occupation which differs from that stated in their Work Permits.
The law requires every prospective employer of a foreigner to apply for a Work Pass and to engage the foreigner only if an appropriate Work Pass has been approved.
The Ministry would also like to urge anyone with specific information on such offences to contact MOM at 64385122 or via email at mom_fmmd@mom.gov.sg.
1 Under the Employment of Foreign Workers Act, any person caught employing foreigners without valid Work Permits is liable to be charged in court. A first-time offender faces a minimum fine equivalent to two years of the foreign worker levy and a maximum fine up to four years levy for each foreign worker, or imprisonment of up to one year, or both. For the second and subsequent conviction, the penalty will be a mandatory jail sentence of 1 to 12 months in addition to a minimum fine equivalent to two years of the foreign worker levy and a maximum fine up to 8 years levy for each foreign worker.
2Immigration offenders include Illegal Immigrants and Overstayers
3Foreign workers who have pending salary/compensation claims or are required as prosecution witnesses may be issued with special passes by the Ministry for a limited period to allow them to remain in Singapore.

Source: www.mom.gov.sg Press Release 30 Nov 2005

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Public Holidays CHRISTMAS DAY is the next public holiday. It falls on 25 December 2005.

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