40-year-old Singaporean man, Sao Wei Loon, was charged in the State Courts on Thursday (1 June) for hiring 19 Indonesians without valid work passes to work at local pasar malams (night markets) in 2016.

In a press release by Singapore’s Ministry of Manpower (MOM), the foreigners hired by Sao worked as stall assistants at three pasar malams. The illegal employment period ranged from three days to more than three weeks, and the offence was committed between 1 June and 16 September 2016.

Sao, if convicted, may face a fine of between $5,000 and $30,000 or up to 12 months’ imprisonment, or to both, for each illegally employed foreigner.

“Under the Employment of Foreign Manpower Act (EFMA), employers are not allowed to hire any foreigner without first obtaining a valid work pass. Employers who flout the law can be fined a maximum of $30,000 or up to 12 months’ imprisonment, or to both,” said MOM in a statement.

They will also be banned from employing foreign workers, the ministry added. Foreigners working in Singapore are expected to hold a valid work pass, and those working in bazaars or pasar malams are not exempted from this requirement.

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