SINGAPORE - A man was sentenced to three years' jail on Tuesday (Dec 6) for fraudulently obtaining work passes for 37 foreign workers.
Mui Chee Mun, 53, was also given a six-month prison sentence for collecting kickbacks from the workers to prevent their work passes from being cancelled, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) said in a press release on Wednesday.
MOM has permanently barred Mui from employing foreign workers.
Mui managed a shell company, Blue Apple Design, which was set up to bring in foreign workers. He had no intention of providing work for them, MOM said.
He used the details of the company's registered director without the latter's knowledge to apply for work passes.
In the application forms, he declared that the foreign workers would be employed by the company as construction workers and electricians.
Mui also made Central Provident Fund (CPF) contributions to local "phantom workers", fabricated employment contracts and salary vouchers to avoid detection and to give the impression that he was operating a genuine company.
He obtained work passes for 37 foreign workers between May 2014 and February 2015. He then collected monthly kickbacks from each foreign worker to ensure their work passes were not cancelled.
The workers could then seek their own employment illegally.
Mui made more than $46,000 in kickbacks from the foreign workers, MOM said.
He was charged with 74 counts under the Employment of Foreign Manpower Act, and pleaded guilty on Aug 18.
Reza Salim, a Bangladeshi worker who abetted Mui, was jailed 18 weeks and barred from working in Singapore. He was sentenced on July 22.
Reza, 42, helped Mui with the collection of kickbacks, and recommended friends and relatives to enter Singapore.
He was paid $1,200 a month for these services.
"The accused had devised an elaborate scam to cheat MOM to approve work passes for work that was non-existent, and subsequently profited by collecting kickbacks from the foreign workers. These are serious offences as they severely undermine our work pass controls.
"We will continue to investigate and take strong enforcement action against such individuals," said Mr Kandhavel Periyasamy, director of the employment inspectorate at MOM's foreign manpower management division.
According to MOM, it is an offence to obtain work passes for foreign employees for a business that does not exist and with no intention of providing any work for the employees.
Such offenders can be sentenced to imprisonment for six months or more, and face a fine of up to $6,000 for each offence.
If convicted for six or more charges, caning will also be imposed.
It is also an offence to demand or receive from a foreign employee monies or other benefits as a condition for his employment.
Offenders can be imprisoned for up to two years and/or fined up to $30,000.
Employers are also prohibited from recovering employment-related costs such as levies and other fees from foreign employees.
MOM urged members of the public who know of people contravening these regulations to report the matter by calling 6438 5122 or e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org.