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Company Director Fined More Than $87,000 for Abetting the Illegal Employment of Foreign Students

Yeo Tian Ming Benedict, the director of International Cuisine Association of Singapore (ICAS), was convicted of 14 charges under the Employment of Foreign Workers Act (EFWA) and fined $87,360 for abetting the illegal employment of 42 foreign students. Another 28 charges were taken into consideration during his sentencing on 28 May 2008.

Facts of the Case

2.   The Ministry of Manpower's (MOM) investigations revealed that between November 2005 to November 2007, Yeo had sent 42 foreign students from ICAS and other private schools in Singapore, to work as waiters at various restaurants. Yeo had informed the restaurants that the foreign students would not be considered as the restaurants' employees and were merely on industrial attachment and could therefore work for them. These foreign students, who were paid monthly salaries of between $400 to $800, did not hold valid Work Permits to work in the restaurants.

Employing Foreign Students without Valid Work Passes is an Offence

3.   Mr Aw Kum Cheong, Divisional Director of the Foreign Manpower Management Division, MOM said: "The defendant deceived both the foreign students and employers into believing that the arrangement was legal. MOM will not hesitate to prosecute individuals who perpetrate such frauds. We would also like to remind the public that it is an employer's duty to ensure that the foreign students they employ have valid work passes. Foreigners on Student Passes are not allowed to work in Singapore unless they have been granted work pass exemptions or have applied for the relevant training pass1.”

4.   Under the Employment of Foreign Manpower Act (EMFA), any person caught employing foreigners without valid work passes is punishable with a fine of up to $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. Foreigners caught working illegally can be fined up to $5,000 and/or jailed up to 12 months.


1Foreign students are not allowed to work in Singapore during term time or vacation time unless they are granted Work Pass exemption under the Employment of Foreign Manpower (Work Pass Exemptions) Notifications.  Foreign students who wish to undergo any form of industrial attachment must apply for relevant training pass. For a list of institutions that were granted work pass exemptions, please visit the MOM website.