Woman charged with running job agency without licence

A 60-year-old woman was charged yesterday with allegedly running an employment agency (EA) without a valid licence for more than a year.

Noor Hayah Gulam, who is Singaporean, is believed to have posted job advertisements in a web portal for job seekers, placed foreign domestic workers with employers, and collected biodata and resumes.

She also conducted interviews and sourced for potential employers, and collected agency fees for her services, said the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) in a statement yesterday.

MOM, which acted on a complaint to investigate her case, added that she performed such work between November 2014 and March last year. If found guilty, she may be fined up to $80,000 and jailed up to two years. MOM said it will also act against employers involved in Gulam's case. MOM advised employers who intend to engage the services of an agency to first verify that it is licensed. This can be done through the EA directory on the MOM website at www.mom.gov.sg/eadirectory.

This directory also provides information such as an agency's retention and transfer rate.

Retention rate considers whether foreign domestic workers placed by the agency have stayed with the employer for at least one year. Transfer rate considers if the foreign domestic workers have transferred to three or more employers within a year.

Together they reflect an agency's ability to match workers with employers' requirements.

Employers will also be able to find out the agencies' placement volume of foreign domestic workers, years of experience in the industry, and if they have previously committed violations. They can also see the agency's rating based on customer feedback.

Last December, a man was fined $30,000 for carrying out the activities of an employment agency without a licence.

In March last year, about 20 people claimed they handed thousands of dollars to three firms that were run by two people, although the agencies had suspended or revoked employment agency licences.

The firms claimed on their websites that they marketed resumes of job seekers to "headhunters from the world over, creating maximum exposure to millions of job opportunities".

The authorities launched an investigation after reports were made against the firms.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 12, 2017, with the headline 'Woman charged with running job agency without licence'. Print Edition | Subscribe