27 employers found hiring illegal foreign workers in first half of 2011
SINGAPORE – In the first six months of 2011, the Manpower Ministry took 27 employers to task for hiring illegal foreign workers.
Two of them were sentenced to one month’s jail and fined S$5,000 each, while the rest received fines of between S$1,000 and S$22,500.
The Singapore Contractors Association said the ramped up construction of public flats and private homes, on top of the Downtown MRT Line project, have led to higher demand for foreign construction workers.
Employers in the construction industry said they are facing labour woes.
With changes to the foreign worker quota and difficulty in getting locals to fill the jobs, they said they are left with no choice but to raise wages.
As a result, business costs have gone up by about 20 to 30 per cent.
The Singapore Contractors Association said some firms may have resorted to hiring illegal foreign workers so that they could deliver their projects on schedule.
But a higher pay package is still not drawing one particular group of construction workers.
Mr Kenneth Loo, 1st vice president of the Singapore Contractors Association, said: “Where the workers are coming from, predominantly from China, a lot of them are not coming up because domestically they themselves are also having enough work, so Singapore does not become that attractive for them anymore.”
Under the Employment of Foreign Manpower Act, any person caught employing foreigners without valid work passes is punishable with a fine of up to S$15,000 and/or jailed up to 12 months.
This will be over and above the restitution of any levy evaded. Any person who abets the illegal employment of foreigners will also face the same penalties.