SINGAPORE - A Bangladeshi man has been sentenced to jail for harbouring a fellow countryman illegally in Singapore, said the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) in a statement on Friday (May 3).
Younus, a 46-year-old former work permit holder who goes by only one name, was sentenced to nine months and two weeks of jail on Tuesday for harbouring 32-year-old Hajra Md Naimul.
Investigations revealed that Younus had rented a Serangoon Road unit by enlisting the help of a friend to sign the tenancy agreement on his behalf, ICA said.
He assumed control over the unit when the tenancy agreement took effect on Feb 1, 2017, then sublet the unit to Hajra on the same day.
Hajra did not offer to show any identification documents to Younus, and Younus did not ask him for any documents to verify if his stay in Singapore was valid, said ICA.
On April 18, 2017, ICA officers conducted a check at the unit and arrested Hajra, who had remained unlawfully in Singapore after his Special Pass had expired on Feb 5, 2017.
"As Younus did not exercise due diligence by carrying out at least two out of three checks required under the law before allowing Hajra to stay at the unit he had rented, he had committed an offence of harbouring an immigration offender with reckless disregard under the Immigration Act," said ICA.
Hajra was sentenced to a $3,000 fine on April 19, 2017, for overstaying. He served a 12-day jail sentence as he was unable to pay the fine.
ICA said in its statement that it takes a firm stance against anyone who harbours immigration offenders.
It said that those who wish to rent their premises must exercise due diligence in checking the status of their prospective foreign tenants to ensure that their status in Singapore is legal.
Renters are required to conduct three mandatory checks:
- Check the tenant's original immigration or work pass.
- Cross-check the particulars on the pass against the particulars on the tenant's original passport.
- Verify the validity of the pass by checking with the issuing authority - the Ministry of Manpower for work passes, and ICA for other immigration passes such as student's passes or long-term visit passes.
A person found guilty of recklessly - carrying out only one of the three checks - or knowingly harbouring overstayers or illegal immigrants may be jailed for at least six months up to a maximum of two years, and fined up to $6,000.
A person found guilty of negligently harbouring overstayers or illegal immigrants - by carrying out only two of the three checks - may be fined up to $6,000 or jailed for up to 12 months, or both.