Singapore construction company, B-Construction was convicted yesterday for housing its foreign workers in unapproved accommodation, and for aiding another construction company to house its foreign workers in a similar manner. Pleading guilty to 11 charges under the Employment of Foreign Manpower Act (EFMA), the company was fined a total of $74,000.

According to the press release, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) has debarred both employers from hiring new foreign workers or renewing the work passes of their existing foreign workers.

Investigations revealed that the company had housed the foreign workers at a construction site quarters in Canberra Crescent from January to June 2015. Despite knowing that approvals from relevant government agencies and endorsement by a professional engineer were necessary before housing the workers onsite, it had failed to obtain the required documents.

The 26 workers involved lived in temporary workers quarters consisting of containers and make-shift zinc huts that were cramped. To make matters worse, the sanitary facilities were also inadequate including three poorly maintained portable toilets, with no proper toilets or shower areas. MOM has since assisted all the foreign workers involved to relocate to other accommodation.

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Jeanette Har, director of well-being department at MOM’s foreign manpower management division, commented on the case, “employers must take the well-being of their workers seriously. We will take strong action against employers who house their workers in accommodation that does not have the necessary approvals and subject their workers to poor living conditions.”

Under the Employment of Foreign Manpower (Work Passes) Regulations, employers are required to provide accommodation for their foreign workers that complies with the various statutory requirements. Employers who fail to comply any of the conditions of the work pass will be guilty of an offence and can face fines and/or imprisonment.

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