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Singapore – Labour Ministry drops investigation against staffing firm

11 October 2012

Singapore’s Ministry of Manpower (MOM) is no longer pursuing an employment agency in the country that was alleged to have charged high recruitment fees to workers, following intense media coverage on the issue.

Workers hired through the agency had complained about the staffing agency used by Panasonic Singapore. The issue had attracted wide interest by the media which, the Ministry of Manpower said, inaccurately reported the facts and questioned its own investigations.    

Several workers had secretly filmed how they had seemingly been charged high recruitment fees, but the Ministry earlier found in an investigation that this had not been the case.

Commenting on the video material, the Ministry said that “the total footage ran for more than 51 minutes, and came in 8 parts. Our officers scrutinised the video footage extensively and concluded that an investigation was warranted. We then proceeded to call up the EA (employment agency) for an interview. This was in March 2012.”

The video had shown a copy of the receipt of RMB$45,000 (approximately €5,500), allegedly the recruitment fee charged to the workers who were sourced from so-called subagents in China. The Ministry clarified that this transaction was not a recruitment fee, but a payment made to the agents.

It confirmed that the Singapore-based staffing firm had received a placement fee, but said there was no evidence that the workers had been over-charged by the agency itself. This was supported by evidence provided by the staffing firm.

The Ministry is therefore “unable to proceed further on the alleged over-charging offence under the Employment Agencies Act.” 


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