Woman who ran employment agency without a valid licence fined $50,000

PHOTO: ST GRAPHICS

SINGAPORE - A 60-year-old Singaporean woman was fined $50,000 on Tuesday (Sept 26) for running an employment agency without a valid licence.

Noor Hayah Gulam, who pleaded guilty to the offence, has to spend 10 weeks behind bars as she failed to pay the fine.

According to a statement from the Ministry of Manpower (MOM), she performed employment agency work between November 2014 and March last year even though she was not authorised to do so.

She also duped employers whom she was acting for into believing that she was running a genuine agency by using the name of a licensed company.

The ministry added: "She posted job advertisements on the Web portal for job seekers and employers in the name of another licensed employment agency, collected biodata and resumes, conducted recruitment interviews, sourced for potential employers and matched the workers with employers.

"Noor also collected agency fees amounting to about $25,665 from the employers for the services rendered."

The press statement did not reveal the agency's name.

MOM said that the employers made their own work pass applications for their maids and a public complaint spurred the ministry to track Noor down.

It uncovered her illegal activities and she was arrested.

MOM also said that it will be taking separate enforcement action against the licensed employment agency involved in this case.

Ms Jeanette Har from the ministry's foreign manpower management division stressed that it is illegal for individuals to conduct employment agency work without a licence.

Ms Har, who is the division's director of the well-being department, said: "MOM will take firm action against such errant individuals. Employers of foreign domestic workers should use only licensed employment agencies, who are regulated by MOM and bound by rules which protect the interests of employers and workers, by checking against the employment agency directory on MOM's website."

Offenders convicted of performing employment agency activities without a valid licence can be jailed for up to two years and fined $80,000.

It is also an offence to engage the services of an unlicensed agency. Offenders convicted of doing so can be fined up to $5,000.