CASES OF AND PENALTIES FOR EMPLOYERS FOUND TO HAVE ILLEGALLY RECOVERED EMPLOYMENT COSTS FROM FOREIGN WORKERS

MP Gerald Giam

Mr Gerald Giam Yean Song asked the Minister for Manpower for each year from 2013 to 2022 (a) how many reports has the Ministry received against employers for illegally recovering employment costs from foreign workers; (b) how many employers have been taken to task; (c) what are the (i) median (ii) lowest and (iii) highest administrative financial penalties imposed; (d) what other penalties are imposed; (e) whether the Ministry plans to step up enforcement and increase penalties for such infringements; and (f) whether random spot checks are performed.

Dr Tan See Leng: From 2015 to 2021, MOM received about 390 reports each year against employers for illegally recovering employment costs from migrant workers. The number of reports has been declining since 2017.

Administrative financial penalties were issued against about nine employers per year over this period. The median penalty was $12,000, and the penalties ranged from $7,500 to $95,000. Other enforcement actions taken included issuing cautions, directions to rectify breaches, and debarment from hiring migrant workers. 

The range of penalties permitted has enabled MOM to take the needed action. MOM investigates all complaints and has also stepped-up engagement efforts to educate migrant workers that their employers cannot make such demands from them. Migrant workers who are asked to do so should approach MOM for assistance.

In addition to following up on reports, MOM has made use of data analytics to identify and detect firms with unusual patterns in hiring practices. This could signal illegal hiring practices or other contraventions and MOM will follow-up with inspections.

Ministry of Manpower
9 November 2022

https://sprs.parl.gov.sg/search/#/sprs3topic?reportid=written-answer-na-12048

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