MOM busts illegal foreign worker syndicate; 41 arrested

The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) has arrested 41 people after an island-wide operation against a syndicate allegedly involved in bringing in foreign workers for illegal employment.

Those arrested in the operation from July 1 to 2  include the alleged mastermind and syndicate members, MOM said in a statement today.

The syndicate is believed to have set up shell companies to bring in the foreign workers, and then collected a large amount of kickbacks,

These workers did not have any actual employment and had to settle their own upkeep.

MOM said that some foreign workers would also willingly pay large sums of money so theat they could obtain a genuine work pass. They would then seek illegal employment.

Divisional Director of MOM's Foreign Manpower Management Division Mr Kevin Teoh said: "Even as we continue to step up our enforcement efforts, we urge employers to partner us in our efforts to clamp down on illegal employment by reporting such activity to MOM and/or by employing workers through the proper means."

The Employment of Foreign Manpower Act (EFMA) was amended in November 2012 to give MOM greater enforcement powers to deal with and heavily penalise offenders involved in illegal labour importation.

Employers who hire foreign workers seeking illegal employment face a fine of between $5,000 and $30,000 or up to 12 months' imprisonment or to both. They may also be barred from employing foreign workers.

For foreigners who work without valid work passes, they face a fine of up to $20,000 or 24 months' imprisonment or to both. They may also be barred from working in Singapore.

Members of the public who know of anyone who contravenes the EFMA should report the matter to MOM at 6438 5122 or email

All information will be kept confidential.