Two foreigners jailed, 19 others barred from working in S'pore over false educational qualifications

Individuals who provide false declarations face a fine of up to $20,000 and up to two years in jail. ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG

SINGAPORE - Two Indian nationals have been convicted for submitting false educational qualifications to the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) in their work pass applications.

On Tuesday (July 27), Bailwal Sunil Dutt was sentenced to one week in jail, and Sutradhar Bijoy got four weeks.

Their work passes have been revoked and they have been permanently barred from working in Singapore, MOM said.

Another work pass holder, Indian national Bhandare Raghavendra, has also been charged with the same offence and is due to appear in court on Aug 5.

MOM added that the three men were among 23 foreigners it investigated. They had declared qualifications from Indian school Manav Bharti University (MBU) in their work pass applications in February this year.

Of the remaining 20 individuals, 19 have also been permanently barred from future employment in Singapore while further investigation is under way for one person.

A spokesman said while MOM conducts checks on qualifications submitted, "it is difficult to detect institutions such as MBU which are approved by the foreign government's authorities and issuing genuine degrees while selling fakes".

"Nevertheless, MOM regularly reviews and strengthens measures to maintain the integrity of our work pass framework," the spokesman added, noting that firm action will be taken against offenders.

Individuals who provide false declarations face a fine of up to $20,000 and up to two years in jail.

In the past five years, MOM said it has detected and permanently barred an average of 660 foreigners a year from working in Singapore for submitting fake educational qualifications in work pass applications.

In the same period, an average of eight foreigners a year were prosecuted for such offences.

Employers have the primary responsibility to ensure that qualifications provided by potential employees are genuine, MOM said in Tuesday's statement.

"Before hiring, the employer should have already evaluated the candidates... to ensure that they have the right skills and qualification for the position they applied for," added MOM.

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