Parmjit Kaur, 48, a former director of Harry’s International, which operates the popular Harry’s chain of bars, was charged with 20 counts of falsely declaring salaries when applying for work passes for the foreign employees, in order to obtain Employment Passes (EP) for them.
She was in charge of human resources at Harry’s International. The Singaporean is accused of telling her staff to declare in the 20 foreign employees’ work pass applications that they would draw salaries of S$3,100, even though she allegedly knew that they would be paid less. The qualifying monthly salary for employment passes at that time was S$3,000.
This latest crack down came as a result of the law that was amended few years back. Now, the forging of educational certificates/employment certificates is a standalone offence in Singapore. These declarations were made between April 9, 2013 and Sept 2 of the same year. The case will be heard in court again on Dec 10 and if found guilty she faces a maximum fine of S$20,000 and could be sentenced for up to two years in jail. In addition to the court-imposed penalties, firms may be barred permanently from hiring foreign manpower for resorting to such hiring tactics
The growth of foreign workers in recent years has created an economic unrest among the local population in the country. Employers generally prefer to hire cheaper foreign workers. The salary of local workers is also be suppressed due to lower cost of hiring foreign workers.
Moreover, there are now stringent steps over the years to ensure that hiring process is fair and they have fraud detection capabilities. These include enhancing the internal database checks, third-party screening, and checking the certificate's authenticity directly and ensuring no discrepancy in the salary records. The Singapore’s Ministry of Manpower (MOM) said it is also investigating other similar cases, involving 241 foreigners hired by the around 100 employers in the country.