In Singapore's State Courts last week, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) charged three Singaporeans - Chia Puay Yeoh (Chia, 53), his wife Tan Chin Hwee (Tan, 48), and Guay Boon Chwee (Guay, 47) – for illegally obtaining work permits for foreigners under the name of one business for the benefit of another business, so that those foreigners could be employed at the latter business.

Each accused is charged with four counts of conspiring to illegally obtain a work pass for a foreigner for a business that neither required his/her services nor employed the said foreigner, under Section 22B(1) read with Section 23(1) of the Employment of Foreign Manpower Act (EFMA).

The case has been adjourned to 29 November 2016 in Court 23 at 9.30 am for further mention.

If convicted, all three persons face imprisonment for a minimum period of six months or a maximum period of two years, and a fine of up to $6,000 for each offence. If convicted of six or more charges, caning will also be imposed. MOM may also impose a permanent ban on the offender from employing foreign workers.

About the case

Investigations revealed that Guay was the registered director of Hong Kong Street F&B. Sometime around August 2014, Chia obtained Guay’s consent to apply for work permits for foreigners under Hong Kong Street F&B’s name even though Guay did not require the services of these foreigners. Chia and Guay agreed that the foreigners would work for another business after they have been issued with their work permits.

Investigations also revealed that Tan, acting under Chia’s instruction, allegedly obtained the particulars of four foreigners from the owner of an eatery who wished to employ foreigners for her business but could not meet the requisite conditions to do so. Tan then applied work permits for the said four foreigners under Hong Kong Street F&B’s name, when she knew that the foreigners would be working for the said eatery, and not for Hong Kong Street F&B.

Under the EFMA, it is an offence to obtain work passes for foreign workers for a business with no intention of providing any work for them.

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