22 foreign employees charged for falsely declaring their salaries to MOM

SINGAPORE - The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) charged 22 foreign employees from India for providing false salary information to obtain work passes on Tuesday. Another 75 employers and 230 foreign employees are being investigated for similar offences.

The 22 foreign employees made false statements to the Controller of Work Passes between November 2010 and September 2013 in connection with the applications for 19 Employment Passes (EPs) and three S Passes (SPs). They were employed by four separate companies - Vina Trading, Manthra Enterprises, Magnaton Ventures and Nalla Traders, which are franchisees of local convenience chain store 7-Eleven.

Applicants for EPs or SPs must meet the minimum salary requirement. However, they knew that their employers would pay them less than the amounts declared, so when they signed declaration forms which indicated occupations such as store managers, customer service managers and account managers, and salaries ranging from $2,400 to $4,550.

Among the accused, 15 of them had worked less than a year in Singapore.

The 10 accused persons from Vina Trading pleaded guilty to the charges on Tuesday. Investigations revealed that they received their declared salaries from their employer, most of which were paid through GIRO. Subsequently, these accused persons had to withdraw cash ranging from $600 to $3,350, and return the monies to their employer.

Following their guilty pleas, they were fined between $5,000 and $7,000 or in default five weeks' and seven weeks' imprisonment respectively. All accused persons did not pay the fines and will serve the in-default sentences. They will also be permanently banned from working in Singapore.

For the remaining 12 accused persons, 11 of them sought an adjournment for their cases to be heard in Court on February 25 and March 18. The remaining accused person is claiming trial, and the matter has been fixed for a pre-trial conference on February 28.

MOM will separately take action against the employers and the employment agents involved.

MOM is currently investigating other similar false declaration cases involving 230 foreigners hired by 75 employers. MOM has stepped up on enforcement in this area following the raising of maximum penalties for false declaration under the Employment of Foreign Manpower Act (EFMA) in November 2012. Offenders will be severely dealt with - if convicted, they can be fined up to $20,000, and / or imprisoned up to two years.

Members of the public who know of persons or employers who contravene the EFMA should report the matter to MOM at 6438 5122 or email mom_fmmd@mom.gov.sg. All information will be kept strictly confidential.

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