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Singapore - Employment Agency suspended for charging excess fees

29 July 2013

The Singapore Ministry of Manpower (MOM) has successfully prosecuted the Gateway Employment Agency for collecting excessive agency fees from three Chinese workers. Investigations revealed that the employment agency, which facilitated the employment of the workers, charged each applicant RMB 15,000 (equivalent to approximately USD 2,445) as payment for agency fees. Gateway Employment Agency also collected RMB 18,000 (USD 2,935) from another foreign worker for finding him a job. The amounts are more than what an employment agency can charge under the law. Consequently the agency has been fined SGD $3,000 (USD 2,368) and also ordered to pay compensation the workers totalling SGD$6,600 (USD 5,210). The Singapore MOM has also suspended the agency’s licence.

Fee caps are upheld by the Ministry are to protect vulnerable workers who have weak bargaining power. Under the regulations, agencies cannot charge employees a fee exceeding one month of their salary, for each year of the approved work pass duration or employment contract, whichever is shorter, subject to a maximum of two months’ salary.

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