What is the compliance reminder? Singapore’s Ministry of Manpower recently announced the arrests of 33 foreign workers for submitting forged certificates in connection with work pass applications between 2016 and 2018.

What does it mean? Employers and individuals are reminded that it is illegal under the Employment of Foreign Manpower Act to submit, or be involved in procuring, false educational credentials. MOM continues to aggressively pursue prosecutions for any work pass violations, including taking a risk-based approach by conducting additional checks on selected applications.

  • Implementation time frame: Ongoing.
  • Visas/permits affected: Singapore work passes.
  • Who is affected: Employers of foreign workers who are applying for or already hold a work pass.

Background: In 2012, MOM amended the Employment of Foreign Manpower Act to make the falsification of academic qualifications to the Controller of Work Passes a standalone offense. For employees, the maximum penalty is a fine of up to 20,000 Singapore dollars (about US$14,000) or imprisonment of up to two years, or both. If investigations reveal the employer was involved in the deception, MOM will prosecute the employer as well.

Analysis & Comments: Employers are reminded that MOM takes work permit violations seriously and has stepped up prosecutions in this area. Credentials from any higher-educational institution that are not on MOM’s approved list may be considered a red flag by authorities, and employers are may be asked for additional documentation. Employers are reminded that the verification process for academic credentials is strictly regulated and affects a large number of employees. The penalties for employees who forge credentials include blacklisting for all future Singapore passes. Employers found to be in noncompliance may also risk blacklisting and may not be able to sponsor work passes for other foreign nationals.

Source: Deloitte LLP. Deloitte LLP is a limited liability partnership registered in England and Wales with registered number OC303675 and its registered office at 1 New Street Square, London EC4A 3HQ, United Kingdom.