People who provide false information - such as lying about their educational qualifications - in applying for Singapore citizenship, permanent residency (PR) or work passes will be "dealt with firmly", two ministers said yesterday.
This comes after claims of new citizens and permanent residents obtaining fake degrees circulated on forums, social media and alternative news sites last month.
In cases where citizenship or permanent residency has already been granted, this may be revoked, Second Minister for Home Affairs and Foreign Affairs Masagos Zulkifli said in Parliament.
He was replying to Workers' Party (WP) MP Png Eng Huat (Hougang), who had asked about the process that the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) uses to verify the validity of educational qualifications listed in the applications.
For those who are found to have submitted forged documents or lied to obtain employment passes or S Passes, they may be fined up to $20,000 or jailed up to two years, and will be banned from working in Singapore, said Manpower Minister Lim Swee Say.
His ministry also completely disregards qualifications obtained from unaccredited institutions, also known as "degree mills". Applicants with such degrees "will have to meet more stringent criteria in terms of experience and salary" to qualify for work passes.
He was responding to a similar question from Non-Constituency MP Gerald Giam, also from the WP, about checks that the ministry conducts on the academic qualifications of work pass applicants.
But both Mr Masagos and Mr Lim stressed that academic qualifications are not the "sole determining factor" in granting citizenship, PR status, or work passes. Mr Masagos said citizenship or PR applicants are also assessed on factors such as economic contributions, age and family profile.
This article was first published on May 12, 2015.
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