MOM Prosecutes 25 Foreign Employees for Submitting Forged Academic Certificates
21 February 2014
- On 20 February 2014, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) charged 25 foreign employees under the Employment of Foreign Manpower Act (EFMA), for submitting forged academic certificates to the Controller of Work Passes to obtain work passes to work in Singapore.
- All the 25 foreign employees pleaded guilty to the charges, and were sentenced to imprisonment by the Court – 22 of them to 10 weeks', two to 12 weeks', and one to four weeks' imprisonment. This is the largest number of foreign employees prosecuted for this offence in this year, and the penalties are the most severe the Court has meted out so far for the offence.
Accused persons fraudulently obtained 20 S Passes and five Employment Passes
- The 25 foreign employees1 obtained forged academic certificates in their home countries, and used them to apply for work passes between 2 November 2012 and 7 June 2013. Based on the false information submitted, they were issued 20 S Passes and five Employment Passes (EPs)2. They did not possess the requisite university degree qualifications, but knowingly used the forged academic certificates to mislead MOM to believe that they met the required educational criteria to obtain work passes.
- MOM launched investigations between November and December 2013, and discovered that the certificates were forged through checks with the relevant certificate issuing institutions and respective foreign government departments. MOM’s investigations revealed that all the employers were unaware that the foreign employees had submitted forged academic certificates for their work pass applications. As the employers were not complicit, no further actions were taken against them.
- MOM successfully prosecuted 78 foreign employees for similar offences in 2013, and in 2012, 43 foreign employees were convicted. The majority of these foreign employees were jailed for up to four weeks by the Court. They were also barred from working in Singapore.
Robust measures in place to deter foreigners with fake academic certificates
- MOM amended the EFMA in November 2012, and made the offence of making false statements or submitting any false document relating to academic qualifications to the Controller a standalone offence with stiffer penalties. Offenders may be fined up to $20,000, and /or imprisoned up to two years.
- Apart from legislative measures, MOM has strengthened processes and fraud detection capabilities. This include enhancing our internal database checks, supplementing these checks with third-party screening agencies, verifying the certificate’s authenticity directly with the issuing educational institution, and requiring employers/employment agents to upload verification proof of diplomas and higher qualifications for applications for EP, S Pass or Training Employment Pass. MOM also performs retrospective audits.
Foreign employees and employers must make truthful declarations
- All applicants for passes must make accurate, complete and truthful declarations to the Controller. Making a false declaration by submitting forged academic certificates is a deliberate attempt to mislead the Controller. MOM will not condone such acts of deceit, and will take severe actions against offenders, as well as errant employers and employment agencies if they abet foreign applicants who submit forged academic certificates.
- Members of the public who know of such offences should report the matter to MOM at Tel: (65) 6438 5122 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. All information will be kept strictly confidential.
Sixteen from Myanmar, seven from India and two from the Philippines, comprising 21 males and four females.
The accused persons were issued work passes to work in operations, sales, and food and beverage sectors. Among them were also a hair restoration technologist, a quality control executive and a chef. They all worked for less than a year in Singapore.