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Construction company fined $156,000 for Foreign Worker housing offences

  1. Kay Lim Construction & Trading Pte. Ltd. (“Kay Lim”) pleaded guilty in the State Courts on 17 August 2017 for housing its foreign workers in workers’ quarters with unhygienic living conditions, and abetting four other companies in housing their foreign workers in the same quarters. The company had earlier pleaded guilty on 6 July 2017 for failing to update the housing addresses of the FWs in the Online Foreign Worker Address Service (OFWAS)1.
  2. Kay Lim was convicted on 30 charges, and fined a total of $156,000, with the remaining 50 charges taken into consideration for sentencing purposes. MOM has also barred the company from employing foreign workers.

    Case details
  3. Under the Employment of Foreign Manpower (Work Passes) Regulations, employers must ensure that the accommodation provided for their foreign workers on work permit comply with the various regulatory requirements. Employers are also required to update any change of accommodation addresses of these workers in OFWAS, within five days of the change.
  4. Investigations revealed that on or before November 2015, Kay Lim housed 60 foreign workers comprising its own workers and others from nine other companies, in a construction site temporary quarters located along Commonwealth Avenue/Ghim Moh Link. The living condition of the quarters was very poor and there was evidence of rat infestation.
  5. Between March 2014 and September 2015, Kay Lim failed to update the accommodation addresses of 20 other foreign workers who had moved to the construction site temporary quarters located at Ang Mo Kio Street 44.
  6. Following the inspection, MOM immediately ordered the company to improve the hygiene and living conditions of all their existing construction site temporary quarters. The accused company has complied with the order.

    Employers must uphold their responsibility towards workers’ well-being
  7. Commenting on the case, Ms Jeanette Har, Director, Well-Being Department at MOM’s Foreign Manpower Management Division, said, “All employers of foreign workers on work permit must provide clean and safe accommodation for their workers. Although we have seen improvements in the foreign worker housing landscape, there continues to be employers who deliberately compromise workers’ safety and well-being. This is unacceptable and MOM will take these employers to task.”
  8. Employers who contravene any condition (other than a regulatory condition) of the work pass shall be guilty of an offence under the EFMA. If convicted, offenders can be fined up to $10,000 and/or imprisoned up to 12 months, per charge. In addition, MOM will ban the employers from employing new foreign workers or refuse to grant work pass renewals for their existing workers.

    MOM’s advisory
  9. Foreign workers on work permit who have issues with their housing conditions should bring the matter to the attention of their employer. If their employers fail to make improvements to the living conditions, these workers can seek advice and assistance from the Migrant Workers’ Centre (MWC) at 6536 2692 or report the matter to MOM at 6438 5122.
  10. Members of the public can also play a part by informing the authorities of persons or employers who contravene the EFMA, or refer foreign workers in distress to MOM at 6438 5122 or e-mail All information will be kept strictly confidential.


  1. OFWAS is an online system that enables employers to update the addresses of their foreign workers with the Ministry of Manpower (MOM). All employers of Work Permit (WP) holders are required to provide the residential addresses of their WP holders to MOM prior to issuance or renewal of their WP and subsequently any change in their address within five days.