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     FrontPage Edition: Sun 1 Jan 2006

Manpower Ministry revokes maid employment agency's licence


(I) Revocation of Employment Agency Licence for Grand Pacific Manpower Consultancy Pte Ltd
(II) New Employment Agency Rules
The Ministry for Manpower has revoked the employment agency (EA) licence and forfeited the $20,000 security bond of Grand Pacific Manpower Consultancy Pte Ltd for its repeated breaches of the Ministry¡¯s employment agency regulations.
The EA had failed to provide acceptable housing for FDWs under its charge by housing them in the kitchen and backyard of a house.
In a separate incident, the EA also withheld the passports of FDWs placed by them. Finally, the EA had failed to repatriate an FDW upon the revocation of the in-principle approval of her work permit within the Ministry¡¯s stipulated deadline of 14 days.
The Ministry takes contraventions of the Employment Agency Act and its subsidiary rules, regulations and licensing conditions very seriously.
The Ministry will not hesitate to revoke the licences of EAs whose practices undermine the integrity of the workpass framework or compromise the welfare of foreign domestic workers.
From January 2004 to date, the Ministry has revoked the licence of one other EA and also not renewed the licenses of a further 10 EAs. There are about 500 FDW-placing EAs in the industry.
The Ministry has also introduced a new piece of subsidiary legislation under the Employment Agency Act, namely the Employment Agencies (Composition of Offences) Rules 2005, and amended the Employment Agency Rules with the Employment Agency (Amendment) Rules 2005.
Under the Employment Agencies (Composition of Offences) Rules 2005, offences under the EA Act and Rules may henceforth be compounded by the Commissioner or any officer authorized by him. The composition amount is $2,000 or half the maximum fine prescribed for the offence, whichever is lower.
This new regulation affords MOM greater flexibility to penalize EAs which breach the provisions of the EA Act and Regulations.
Under the Employment Agency (Amendment) Rules 2005, any EA licensee who collects any deposit or fee from any person after he or she has received notice in writing of the Commissioner¡¯s intent to revoke his or her EA licence, commits an offence and is liable for prosecution.
This protects customers from unscrupulous EAs who may continue to collect deposits despite impending closure due to licence revocation.

Source: Press Release 22 Dec 2005

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