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MOM Announces Amendments To Employment Of Foreign Manpower Act

The Singapore Ministry of Manpower (MOM) announced that the Employment of Foreign Manpower Act (EFMA) has been amended. Acting Minister for MOM Tan Chuan-Jin said that the changes will allow my Ministry to step up enforcement actions against errant employers, errant foreign workers and syndicates more expeditiously and more effectively.

The changes passed in Parliament include the establishment of the administrative penalty regime to complement criminal prosecution; new presumption clauses and expand investigatory powers; and new standalone provisions for EFMA contraventions and increased penalties.

Amendments in the law came in the wake of public clamor for greater enforcement on employers who exploit foreign workers and who violate the existing employment system and regulations in Singapore. A number of foreigners currently make up a substantial proportion of the working force in the country.

In his speech at Parliament, Tan said that employers in Singapore are by and large responsible, but there are those who seek to profit by circumventing our work pass framework. “Singaporeans ultimately suffer when employers fail to pay the true costs of hiring foreign manpower or hiring foreign manpower that they are not entitled to,” he said.

The proposed amendments to the EFMA will enhance the government’s ability to ensure the integrity of Singapore’s work pass framework for sustainable economic growth to create good jobs and uplift wages for Singaporeans.

Commissioners for Foreign Manpower will be appointed and authorised to administer the new administrative penalty regime.These Commissioners will be empowered to impose administrative financial penalties, capped at a maximum of S$20,000 per infringement, debar employers from applying and renewing work passes, and give directions to comply.

Mr. Tan Chuan-Jin said that this Bill is meant to go after errant employers, and most of the employers are fair and responsible. “It ultimately bolsters our efforts in creating sustainable and inclusive growth in Singapore and ensuring Singaporeans remain at the core of our workforce. This bill is about the kind of people and society we want to be,” he said in Parliament.

The amended law will take effect by the end of the year.