SINGAPORE - About 40 people, all belonging to a syndicate, were arrested earlier this week for bringing foreign workers into Singapore illegally.
The syndicate would set up shell companies. Workers, when they arrive, would then look for illegal employment, said the Manpower Ministry in a statement on Friday.
"Enormous profits would be derived from collecting a large amount of kickbacks," added the ministry, which did not say whether the kickbacks were from employers or the foreigners.
However, it added that in some cases, workers would "willingly pay a large sum of money to be part of the scam in order to obtain a genuine work pass".
Last year, 19 people from three similar syndicates were arrested for the same crime. They had allegedly brought in more than 500 workers.
For being the mastermind of a syndicate that imports foreign workers for illegal employment, the offender may be fined up to $6,000 and jailed for up to two years per worker.
If convicted of at least six similar offences at the same trial, the offender can be caned, too. Runners who abet the offence face similar punishment.