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Individual jailed and fined $80,000 for operating an employment agency illegally

Ng Chai Hock (“Ng”), a 44-year-old Singaporean man, was convicted by the State Courts of Singapore on 9 February 2021 for operating an employment agency (“EA”) in Singapore without a valid licence. He was sentenced to four weeks’ imprisonment and fined the maximum of $80,000 (in default two months’ imprisonment) for an offence under section 6(4)(a) of the Employment Agencies Act (Chapter 92) (“EAA”). Ng appealed against his conviction and sentence. The High Court dismissed his appeal on 20 October 2021.

2 The investigation by the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) revealed that Ng had operated an employment agency, JOBSINSG.COM, illegally between March 2016 and June 2017. He posted advertisements that purported to offer employment opportunities to jobseekers. When jobseekers responded to these advertisements and showed up at his physical office, he collected their physical resumes. He charged up to $450 from each jobseeker. After receiving payment, Ng informed the jobseeker that his services would only entail the distribution of their resume.

Advisory to jobseekers and employment agencies

3 MOM advises individuals who intend to engage the services of an EA to first verify that the EA is licensed. They can check the EA Directory at The EA Directory also offers other information, including EAs which have their licence suspended, revoked or are under surveillance. Such information helps to protect individuals from errant EAs who flout regulations. Jobseekers are also advised not to pay any fee to the EA until they have secured a job.

4 Operating an unlicensed employment agency is a serious offence. The offender can be fined up to $80,000 or jailed for up to two years or to both.

5 It is also an offence for any person or company, directly or indirectly, to engage the services of an unlicensed EA. If convicted, an offender can be fined up to $5,000 per charge.

6 Members of public who have any information on unlicensed EA activities should report the matter to MOM at All information will be kept strictly confidential.