Operator of Penang Culture chain of restaurants, GD Group, has been convicted of seven charges under the Employment of Foreign Manpower Act (EFMA) in Singapore, and fined S$94,500 for making false salary declarations in order to fraudulently apply for Employment Passes (EPs).

Another 13 charges were taken into consideration for the purpose of sentencing. The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) has barred the company from hiring foreign employees, as confirmed in a statement.

Case details

The case goes back to February 2013 and July 2015, whereby investigations revealed that the company had circumvented foreign worker quota rules by hiring foreigners on EPs but paying them less than the declared salaries in work pass applications.

During this time period, the company falsely declared salary amounts of between S$4,000 and S$4,800 for 20 foreign employees to meet the salary requirement for EPs. However, the foreign employees were paid salaries of between S$1,500 and S$2,200.

Commenting on the case, Kandhavel Periyasamy, Director of Employment Inspectorate of MOM’s Foreign Manpower Management Division, said: "MOM will continue to take stern actions to uphold the integrity of our work pass controls. The errant employer in this case has gained an unfair advantage in hiring foreigners at the expense of other firms.

"MOM has a duty to protect the interest of law-abiding employers. We will continue to take errant employers to task by ensuring a level-playing field for businesses."

Truthful declarations by employers

Making false declarations to the Controller is a serious offence. Upon conviction, offenders can be fined up to S$20,000 per charge and/or jailed for up to two years under the EFMA. They will also be barred from employing new foreign workers and renewing their permits of their existing foreign workers.

MOM urges reporting such matters via the MOM website under "Contact us", or call 6438 5122. All information will be kept strictly confidential.