Skip to main content

First Employer Charged under Amended Employment Agencies Act for Engaging Unlicensed Agent Fined $2,000

22 March 2013

  1. On 21 March 2013, 23-year-old Indian national Sadh Aakash Raman (Sadh) was charged in court for using the services of an unlicensed employment agent (EA). Sadh had engaged Balaguru S/O Amirthalingam (Bala), who did not have a valid EA licence as required under Section 22A(1) of the Employment Agencies Act (EAA), to submit a work pass application for a foreigner to work in his company.
  2. Sadh pleaded guilty in the Subordinate Courts to one charge of engaging the services of an unlicensed EA. He was also convicted of one charge of illegally employing a foreigner without a valid work pass. Another three illegal employment charges against him were taken into consideration for the purposes of sentencing. In total, Sadh was fined $4,500 in default 18 days’ imprisonment.
  3. This is the first case which the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) has successfully prosecuted an employer for engaging the services of an unlicensed EA, since the revised EAA came into effect in April 2011. In 2012, six employers were offered composition for similar offences.

    Facts of the Case
  4. Sadh was the Director of Times Supermarket Pte Ltd. In February 2011, Sadh sought Bala’s assistance to submit an application for an Employment Pass for his uncle, one Sadh Manoj Kumar to be employed as a general manager. Sadh agreed to pay a sum of $6,000 to Bala as agent fees once the work pass application was approved by MOM. He also provided his SingPass details to the unlicensed EA, Bala to submit the application.
  5. In June 2011, Bala again helped Sadh to find additional manpower for the latter’s company, when Sadh mentioned that he needed an inventory manager in his supermarket. Arumugam Alagesan, an Indian national, subsequently worked for Sadh’s supermarket for about four months from June to September 2011. Arumugam Alagesan held a valid work pass to work for another company as a senior warehouse manager. The accused was aware that Arumugam Alagesan did not have a valid work pass to be employed at Sadh’s supermarket. Under the law, employing a foreign employee without a valid work pass is an offence under Section 5(1) of the Employment of Foreign Manpower Act (EFMA).
  6. Throughout Sadh’s transactions with Bala, he had never enquired whether Bala had possessed a valid EA licence issued by the Commissioner for Employment Agencies.

    Advisory from MOM
  7. Under the EAA, it is an offence to use the services of any person not licensed by the Commissioner for Employment Agencies for recruitment and hiring needs. If found guilty, offenders can be fined up to $5,000 for each employee engaged through the unlicensed EA.
  8. Members of the public are advised to use only MOM-licensed EAs for their employment needs. To protect their interests, they are encouraged to verify whether EAs are licensed through the EA Directory on the MOM website. All staff who are conducting EA work are registered with MOM. Members of the public should also request EA personnel for their registration cards to ascertain their status.
  9. To enhance deterrence, MOM has amended the EFMA last year, and penalties for EFMA contraventions have increased. With the increase in penalties, offenders prosecuted for illegally employing foreign employees will be subject to minimum fines of $5,000, and higher maximum fines of up to $30,000 and/or 12 months’ jail.
  10. Members of the public who are aware of any individuals or EAs that are operating without a valid licence or have information on illegal employment activities should contact MOM at Tel: (65) 6438-5122 or email All information will be kept strictly confidential.