The Ministry of Manpower here wants the public’s opinion on proposed amendments to the Employment of Foreign Manpower Act (EFMA).
If imposed, the three amendments mean two main things – larger fines for those who flout the Act, as well as more investigatory powers for law enforcement officers cracking down on them.
The changes also aim to give prosecutors the authority to seize ill-gotten profits made from unlawfully employing foreigners, usually in the form of kickbacks.
Their main targets? Errant employers and syndicates which violate the EMFA by illegally importing and supplying foreign workers.
According to the press release, the amendments come as a counter to “increasingly complex cases”, including syndicates that “devise new modus operandi to counter prevailing enforcement approaches.”
“This erodes opportunities for Singaporeans and gives errant businesses an unfair advantage over other law-abiding competitors.”
Yahoo! Singapore understands that employers flouting labour laws have been on the rise since the tightening of foreign labour policies here.
One such employer was 72-year-old Lim Ong Long, who pled guilty last October to declaring “phantom” Singaporean workers in order to inflate his foreign worker entitlement. He had also received $6,000 from 30 foreign workers as kickbacks for giving them employment.
In total, 16 employers were prosecuted from January to June last year for making false declarations in work pass applications, which faces a maximum penalty of a $15,000 fine and a one-year jail term.
The full public consultation document summarising MOM’s proposed amendments can be accessed on their REACH website over the next three weeks, closing on 31 May.