Jobless dad faces despair over child's care

Jobless dad faces despair over child's care

He did not know he had to check with the Manpower Ministry before marrying a Chinese national, a former Singapore work-permit holder.

He did not know he faced fraud charges until he returned from China.

Now he does not know who is going to care for his 10-month-old baby boy.

Life for Mr Y. C. Chen, 27, and his Chinese wife began to unravel when they returned to Singapore in July to seek a better life for their son.

His wife, Ms Li Qiaoyan, 22, applied for a long-term visit pass so she would not have to keep renewing her short-term visit pass.

When she first arrived in Singapore on July 3, she received a two-week extension. She extended her short-term visit pass two more times and received a one-month and a 1½ month extension.

After 10 weeks, when they did not hear from the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA), they decided to appeal to the authorities, with the help of their Member of Parliament.

His MP told him to report with necessary documents to the ICA on Sept 29. On the same day, ICA told him that Ms Li had contravened the work permit conditions. It was then that Ms Li discovered that she has been served with an entry ban to Singapore and had to return to China by Sept 30.

She left Singapore on Oct 13 after receiving a two-week extension on her visit pass.

As a former work permit holder, Ms Li has breached a Work Permit condition, which required her to seek permission before marrying a Singaporean. (See report on facing page.) Mr Chen said they did not know about the rule.

The former minimart assistant, who lives with his parents and two younger brothers in a four-room flat at Lorong Ah Soo, had to quit his job to take care of his son after his wife returned to China.

His predicament does not end there.

When he returned to Singapore, Mr Chen found out from the police that he would have to appear in court on Friday to face fraud charges.

As a result, his passport was impounded.

SEEKING LEGAL AID

He declined to reveal much about his court case, except that he is seeking legal aid and faces jail if found guilty.

He said: "If I could, I would have flown to China with my wife so that our family could be reunited.

"I'm just worried that if I end up being sentenced to jail, no one would be able to take care of my son."

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