Employment agency fined a total of $32,500 for breaches during suspension

During the suspension, which took effect from May 22 this year, Sunway was allowed to carry on its existing business but not to enter into new recruitment or placement agreements. In breach of the suspension, Sunway continued to enter into agreements with new clients from June 17 to July 1.

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Here is the press release from the Ministry of Manpower in full:

Sunway Employment Pte Ltd ("Sunway"), an employment agency (EA), was convicted today of entering into new placement agreements with new clients while under a suspension order imposed by the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) 1 . The suspension order was imposed on Sunway while it was under investigation for an illegal employment offence. It is the first EA to be convicted of such an offence since the revised Employment Agencies Act (EAA) came into effect in April 2011, which saw the penalties for this offence increased to $80,000.

Sunway pleaded guilty in the Subordinate Courts to the charge under section 12(1) of the EAA, and was fined $30,000. In addition, it pleaded guilty to a separate charge under Section 5(1) of the Employment of Foreign Manpower Act of illegally employing a foreigner without a valid work pass, and was fined $2,500. In total, Sunway was sentenced to a total fine of $32,500 by the Courts for the two charges.

Despite being fully aware of the restrictions under the suspension order MOM imposed with effect from 22 May 2013, Sunway continued to enter into new placement agreements with three new clients on 17 June 2013, 22 June 2013 and 1 July 2013 respectively. MOM uncovered these breaches through an audit conducted on the EA.

As the suspension order prohibits the EA from using MOM's Work Pass On- Line (WPOL) system to submit work pass applications electronically, Sunway circumvented the system by using the SingPass password of its two new clients to submit online work pass applications. For the third client, Sunway submitted a manual work pass application at the MOM Services Centre. Sunway received a total of $5,522 as placement fees from its three new clients.

Sunway also continued to actively recruit new Foreign Domestic Workers (FDW) to meet the demands of its clients while it was under the suspension order.

Separately, Sunway was also convicted for illegally employing a foreigner who held an FDW work permit to perform cleaning and administrative duties such as photocopying, delivering files and collecting medical examination reports from June 6 to July 9 2012 for its EA business.