For workers on employment passes or S passes, employers may be called upon to furnish proof of such written consent to MOM.

Singapore's Minister for Manpower, Tan See Leng, has reminded employers that they must obtain their workers’ written consent when they apply to renew their work passes.

The process is differentiated as follows for the different categories of work passes:

  1. For workers on work permits, employers are required to upload the workers’ written consent when submitting the application for renewal.
  2. For workers on employment passes or S passes, employers must declare that they have obtained the written consent and may be called upon to furnish proof of such consent to the Ministry of Manpower (MOM).

The issue came up in Parliament on 26 July 2021, whereby Minister Tan responded in writing to MP Leon Perera's query on penalties imposed on employers who are found to have applied for work pass renewals without first obtaining the work pass holder’s written consent.

In Minister Tan's update, he shared that in 2021 to date, MOM has received disputes from 23 migrant workers objecting to renewals of their work permits. Most of these disputes were resolved — with the work permit holders deciding to either terminate their employment or continue their employment with the existing employer.

There are currently three cases under investigation.

For reference, employers found to have falsely declared that they have obtained the workers’ written consent may be prosecuted under the Employment of Foreign Manpower Act and fined up to S$20,000 or jailed for up to two years or both. Similarly, workers found to have furnished false information to the authorities may have their work pass privileges curtailed.

In 2021 to date, no such penalties have been meted out to either employers or migrant workers.

Image / 123RF

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