Eight employers and two employment agents were charged by the Manpower Ministry (MOM) on Thursday for providing false salary information when they applied for their foreign workers' work passes. Applicants of Employment Passes and S Passes must meet minimum salary requirements.
The eight employers, who are the franchisees of local convenience chain store 7-Eleven, declared during the application for work passes that they would pay their 41 foreign employees salaries ranging from $2,400 to $4,550, said MOM in a statement on Friday. However, the employers, according to MOM's investigations, allegedly intended to pay the foreign employees salaries much lower than the amounts declared.
Furnishing false information to the ministry is an offence under the Employment of Foreign Manpower Act (EFMA). The eight firms are Vina Trading, Manthra Enterprises, Magnaton Ventures, Nalla Traders, Chandrani Enterprise, Niche Formulas, Changrich Enterprise and Rui Fuels & Services.
Two employees of Ethics Career Solution Pte Ltd, which facilitated the placement of 21 of the 41 foreign employees, were also charged in court on Thursday. They had allegedly submitted false salary information in the work pass application forms.
Out of the eight employers, seven pleaded guilty to the charges. They were fined between $8,000 and $56,000. The remaining employer had his case adjourned to May 8.
One of the employment agents was fined $22,000. The other was not able to pay the $40,000 fine and will be jailed for 15 weeks.
Investigations into other similar false declaration cases involving 256 foreigners hired by 93 employers are ongoing.
MOM has stepped up on enforcement efforts on this front following the raising of maximum penalties in 2012 for false declaration under the Act. If convicted, offenders can be fined up to $20,000, jailed for up to two years, or both.