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Singapore – Businessman jailed for employing illegal workers

28 February 2014

A Singaporean businessman was sentenced this week to three months’ imprisonment and fined SGD 90,000 (USD 71,067) for hiring foreign employees without valid work passes. Under the law, employers are not allowed to hire any foreigner without first obtaining a valid work pass from the Manpower Ministry, reports todayonline.com.

Mr Neo Wee Seng, the director of a restaurant and catering business, had been previously convicted of five counts of illegal employment dating back to 2010. He pleaded guilty to four charges of hiring four foreigners without valid work passes as food packers at his restaurant, and two charges of illegally employing two foreigners at another company he ran.

Ten other charges of illegally employing foreigners were taken into consideration when determining Mr Seng’s sentence.

The Ministry of Manpower said it had issued a stern warning to the foreign workers who had been employed by Mr Seng. They are to be sent home and banned from returning to Singapore to work.

Employers who break the law can be prosecuted, and will be subjected, upon conviction, to a fine of between SGD 5,000 (USD 3,948) and SGD 30,000 (USD 23,689) and/or imprisonment of up to 12 months for first-time offenders. Those convicted of employment offences may also be barred from employing foreigners in future.

In 2013, 98 employers were convicted of illegal employment activities, up from 74 in 2012. 

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