Two construction companies, 3S Solid Surface and Sing Solid Surface (the companies), have been convicted for furnishing false information to the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) with respect to the foreign workers’ addresses in the MOM’s Online Foreign Worker Address Service (OFWAS).
In addition, they have also been convicted for housing their foreign workers (FWs) in poor and unsafe conditions.
A press release from MOM stated the companies pleaded guilty to a total of 18 charges under the Employment of Foreign Manpower Act (EFMA), and were fined $180,000.
Another 30 charges were taken into consideration for the purpose of sentencing.
"The two companies, which had a common director, used their factory premises at 10 Admiralty Street to house their foreign workers," MOM stated.
"Being a factory premises, OFWAS does not accept the address as a workers’ dormitory. To overcome this, the companies fraudulently gave false information and registered the 24 FWs to be residing in other residential addresses. The workers have never resided in these other premises."
Investigations also revealed that in addition to the 24 FWs who resided in the illegally converted factory dormitory, the companies also separately housed 17 other workers in the premises from November 2012 to July 2014.
MOM added the companies did not obtain the requisite approval from Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) to change the industrial use of the inspected premises to a workers dormitory. SCDF found that the existing fire safety measures for the inspected premises as an industrial premise were inadequate for a dormitory.
"The illegal accommodation did not have a proper escape route. The mezzanine level of factory unit where the workers slept was unsafe as the plywood flooring was unstable. The entire premise was dusty due to on-going construction work," MOM stated.
In addition to the poor living condition of the premises, the factory severely lacked sanitary and showering facilities. There were only two toilets to be shared between 41 workers, and workers took their showers in the open.
MOM revealed it has debarred the employers from hiring foreign workers. They will also not be able to renew the passes of their existing workers.