The owner of an employment agency was fined $8,500 on Thursday (6 December) for taking on two underaged girls to work as maids in Singapore.
According to a Ministry of Manpower press release, AG Employment Agency brought in two Myanmarese girls who were aged 18 and 15. Both had claimed to be 24 years old.
The agency’s sole proprietor, Sherlyn Tay Li Wen, pleaded guilty to two counts of failing to ensure that the girls were above the minimum age of 23.
Girls told to lie in video
Back in Myanmar, the girls met an agent named Esther in June and October this year to source for work in Singapore.
The agent helped to take a video of each girl introducing themselves to prospective maid agencies in Singapore.
Esther also instructed the girls on what to say in the videos, which included getting them lie about their ages by having them say they were 24.
She also created fake passports for the girls, which contained false birth dates. The videos were then sent to Tay, who processed the girls’ applications.
Lack of due diligence
Both girls arrived in Singapore on 5 November. They were not interviewed by the agency before they were sent for medical check-ups and a mandatory one-day orientation programme for first time maids.
During the orientation, the girls were suspected of being underaged because of their appearance. The pair were then interviewed by MOM officers.
The ministry said that, despite repeated reminders, the agency had not exercised due diligence ensuring that the foreign workers it brought in met the prevailing criteria.
It added that Tay had also been aware the foreign workers should be interviewed upon arriving in Singapore.
For each breach of the Employment Agencies Act, the agency could have been fined up to $5,000.
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