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     FrontPage Edition: Thu 6 Oct 2005

58 foreign workers arrested for having no work permits


58 Foreign Workers Nabbed In Illegal Employment Scam

On 22 September 2005, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM)¡¯s Employment Inspectors raided various parts of Singapore and arrested 58 foreign workers believed to be working as conservancy cleaners without work permits.
This is the largest number of foreign workers nabbed in a single raid in the conservancy sector in 2005.
The Ministry has been monitoring the employment activities of eight companies, which are allegedly involved in an illegal employment scam.
The eight companies illegally deployed 45 foreign workers with work permits valid for work in the marine sector to the conservancy sector. The remaining 13 foreign workers held special passes1 which does not allow them to work.
Employing foreigners without valid work permits is an offence under the Employment of Foreign Workers Act.
The 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 one to 12 months in addition to 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.
The foreign workers arrested and their employers are currently being investigated by the Ministry for possible violation of the Employment of Foreign Workers Act.
Illegal employment in the Conservancy Sector
From Jan 2005 to Sep 2005, MOM has investigated a total of 81 companies with 393 foreign workers being arrested for working illegally in the conservancy sector. 75% of the foreign workers were from the Marine sector.
The Ministry has lately been stepping up its enforcement against illegal employment and taken stern action against errant employers who hire or deploy foreign workers in sectors where the workers are not supposed to work2.
For the conservancy sector, this strict enforcement action ties in with the NTUC and Government¡¯s efforts to encourage employers to redesign jobs to make them more attractive to locals, instead of relying on illegal foreign workers.
The Ministry urges anyone with specific information on such cases to contact the Ministry of Manpower at Tel: 6438 5122 or email at

Source: Press Release 29 Sep 2005

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