Remember Han Feizi? The 29-year-old Chinese woman who failed to get a student pass and applied for a work permit?
Yes, the one who got caught lying in her work pass application after attracting attention as a result of the hoo-ha she caused at Singapore General Hospital.
Since her situation went viral, many have begun to wonder about the approximate number of people caught lying on their work pass applications every year.
According to the Ministry of Manpower (MOM), about 50 people are caught lying on their work pass applications yearly.
50 People Caught Lying Per Year
Responding to inquiries from Chinese news daily Lianhe Zaobao, MOM noted that between 2020 and 2022, about 50 people are caught lying on their work pass applications yearly.
An average of seven companies were caught making false declarations every year.
Usually, when such incidents occur, there are two reasons.
Either the company did not intend to hire the worker, or the individual did not intend to work for the company they mentioned in their work pass application.
A MOM spokesperson said the authorities have adopted a multi-pronged approach to sniff out false declarations in work pass applications.
For instance, data analytics help to detect and identify suspicious work pass applications.
People aren’t safe even after successfully obtaining a work pass.
When the work pass is renewed, the company may have to undergo further review or provide more supporting documents.
The spokesperson highlighted that all employers must make accurate and truthful declarations when applying for work passes.
It’s illegal to make false declarations.
Those convicted of such an offence will be liable to a fine of up to $20,000, imprisonment for up to two years, or both.
Employers who refuse to comply will also be banned from employing foreign workers.
Work pass applicants who are found to have made false declarations will be banned from working in Singapore.
According to the spokesperson, members of the public who have discovered any suspicious employment activities can email [email protected].
All information will be kept confidential.
Other Enforcement Measures
Lianhe Zaobao reported that the Singapore Police Force (SPF) also conducts island-wide enforcement operations regularly to prevent the illegal employment of foreign workers.
Establishments that offer public entertainment are not allowed to provide escort services.
Places that violate the rules of their public entertainment licence will receive fines and demerit points.
In addition, the Police can restrict the opening hours of the venue.
Furthermore, they can suspend or revoke the establishment’s public entertainment license.
The Police advise establishments to comply with the conditions in the licence and cooperate with the authorities to eliminate illegal activities and prevent criminal acts.
SPF added that they will continue diligently supporting public entertainment venues to create a safer environment for customers.
According to the Employment of Foreign Manpower Act, an employer that employs a foreign worker without a valid work permit can face a fine of up to $30,000, imprisonment for up to one year, or both.
Foreign workers without a valid work permit can face a fine of up to $20,000, imprisonment of up to two years, or both.
Recap: Han Feizi Saga
Videos of Han Feizi refusing to wear a mask at Singapore General Hospitals and scolding nurses began to circulate on the internet in October 2023.
She had also previously abused and shoved security guards at a condominium.
Upon further investigation, it was found that she had lied in her work pass application.
She stated that she would be working as a clerk at KDL Elements.
However, she worked as a freelance hostess at various venues instead.
KDL Elements is also under investigation by MOM for allegedly contravening the Employment of Foreign Manpower Act.
On 25 October, she was sentenced to five weeks and five days’ imprisonment and fined $600.
Her work pass was also revoked.
Furthermore, she has been permanently banned from working in Singapore.
Other Similar Incidents
As seen from the Han Feizi saga, MOM takes false declarations in work pass applications seriously.
In 2021, two Indian nationals, Bailwal Sunil Dutt and Sutradhar Bijoy, were convicted and sentenced to one week and four weeks imprisonment, respectively.
They had submitted false qualifications in their work pass applications.
Their convictions followed MOM’s investigations into 23 foreigners in 2021.
The foreigners had declared qualifications from Manav Bharti University (MBU) in their work pass applications in February 2021.
However, the Indian Government was investigating MBU for selling fake degrees, prompting MOM to investigate those with that education qualification.
More recently, in October 2023, a foreign businessman was imprisoned for making a false declaration to MOM to get a work pass.
37-year-old Zhang Qingqiao, a Chinese national, was sentenced to four weeks’ imprisonment for making a false declaration.
To get a work pass, he said that he would be working for a local company.
However, he didn’t intend to work for the company at all.
He intended to use the pass to legitimise his stay in Singapore.
He aimed to attain permanent residency and, eventually, Singaporean citizenship.
In fact, he wanted to migrate his entire family to Singapore.
In July 2019, Zhang got to know a woman named Wang Jue.
After meeting her, he decided to “invest” $360,000 in a company called MW Dynamics.
In return, he would become a work pass holder of the company.
Supposedly, he would receive the $360,000 back through his salary of $10,000 per month within three years.
Furthermore, he wouldn’t need to perform legitimate work or report to the company.
The court heard that Zhang was a seasoned investor who began investing in 2012.
For making a false application in his declaration form for a work pass, Zhang could have been jailed for up to two years, face a fine of up to $20,000, or both.
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