Construction firm officer charged for housing foreign workers in overcrowded living conditions
- On 31 October 2017, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) charged a 34-year-old Singaporean man, Li Dan ("Li"), in the State Courts for allowing 18 foreign workers (FWs) from his company to be housed in overcrowded living conditions.
- The company, Shuang Lin Construction Pte. Ltd. ("the accused company"), was also charged for submitting false information in the Online Foreign Worker Address Service ("OFWAS")1.
- Li faced 18 charges under the Employment of Foreign Manpower Act (EFMA) for failing to provide approved FW accommodation that complies with the various statutory requirements. If convicted, he can be fined up to $10,000 or be imprisoned up to 12 months or to both, per charge. The accused company faced 22 charges under EFMA for providing false information on FW housing in the OFWAS. If convicted, the accused company can be fined up to $20,000, per charge.
About the Case
- Li was the company’s officer in charge of FW accommodation. Investigations revealed that between October 2015 and July 2016, he arranged for the FWs to be housed at overcrowded premises at Upper Paya Lebar, MacPherson and Changi. These premises had exceeded the prevailing allowed occupancy load of eight occupants under Urban Redevelopment Authority’s guidelines then. MOM ordered the company to relocate the affected workers to other approved accommodation.
- Separately, between March 2016 and April 2016, the accused company furnished false addresses of 22 FWs to the Controller of Work Passes in the OFWAS. It declared that the FWs were staying at Tuas South Avenue, when they were not.
Employers Must Provide FW Accommodation that Meets Statutory Requirements
- Under the Employment of Foreign Manpower (Work Passes) Regulations, employers are required to provide accommodation for their FWs that complies with the various statutory requirements. Employers who contravene any of the conditions of the work pass will be guilty of an offence under Section 22(1)(a) of the EFMA. On top of penalties imposed by the Court, MOM will also bar errant employers from employing FWs.
- Employers are also required to register or update their FWs’ residential addresses through OFWAS, within five days of the FWs moving to a new address. Any change in the address should be accurately and promptly updated. Employers who wilfully provide false information on OFWAS may be fined of up to $20,000 or imprisonment of up to two years, or both, per charge.
Report Poor Foreign Worker Accommodation
- MOM urges FWs who have issues with their accommodation to first raise the matter to their employer. If their employers fail to make improvements to the living conditions, they should immediately seek advice and assistance from the Migrant Workers’ Centre (MWC) at 6536 2692 or report the matter to MOM at 6438 5122.
- Members of the public can also play a part by informing the authorities of persons or employers who contravene the EFMA, or refer FWs in distress to MOM at 6438 5122 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. All information will be kept strictly confidential.