SINGAPORE — An island-wide raid has led to the arrests of 44 people suspected of being involved in the illegal employment of foreign workers.
The two-day operation conducted by the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) last week (July 26 and 27) was carried out at several locations including construction sites, residential units and office buildings, said an MOM statement on Tuesday.
Of the 44 people arrested, six were suspected members of a syndicate, while the other 38 were foreign workers. Investigators also seized SingPass tokens, permit cards and lists of workers.
Syndicates that illegally bring in foreign workers often use shell companies to fraudulently obtain work passes for phantom foreign workers and use them to make large amounts of money via kickbacks. The foreign nationals brought in to the country via the scheme are then free to find illegal employment.
Those convicted of illegally importing foreign workers face between six months and two years in jail and a fine of up to S$6,000 per charge. Severe offenders can also be caned.
Employers who use foreign workers in illegal employment are liable to a fine of between S$5,000 and S$30,000, or up to 12 months in jail or both.
Divisional Director of the MOM’s Foreign Manpower Management Division Kevin Teoh said that the ministry takes a “serious view” of such offenses and will continue its efforts to find and punish offenders.