IMPACT – MEDIUM

What is the change? A company in Singapore has been convicted of providing substandard housing for foreign workers in violation of Work Permit regulations under the Employment of Foreign Manpower Act and for failing to notify authorities of the workers’ change of address.

What does the change mean? Employers are reminded that they are required to ensure that foreign employees holding Work Permits are provided with living accommodations that comply with the various regulatory requirements. Additionally, the change of address notification is required for all types of work passes, including Employment Passes and S Passes.

  • Implementation time frame: Immediate and ongoing.
  • Visas/permits affected: Work Permits.
  • Who is affected: Singaporean employers sponsoring foreign nationals.
  • Business impact: Employers who violate conditions of Work Permits may be liable for fines of up to 10,000 Singapore dollars (about US$7,400) and/or one year of imprisonment per charge, and will be barred from hiring foreign workers or renewing existing work passes.

Background: The company in the case was convicted on 30 charges of providing unhygienic living accommodations to 60 foreign workers on a construction site and of helping four other companies to house their employees in the same quarters. The company previously pled guilty to failing to update the workers’ change of address in the Online Foreign Worker Address Service. The company was fined $156,000 and barred from employing foreign workers.

BAL Analysis: Employers are reminded that they are required to comply with all conditions of sponsoring foreign workers. The Ministry of Manpower is actively investigating and prosecuting companies for various violations of the Employment of Foreign Manpower Act and convictions appear to be occurring more frequently.