On the 11th of September 2023, Poh Jinxiang, a 41-year-old Singaporean, and Director of Exclaim Pte. Ltd., was found guilty of violating the Employment of Foreign Manpower Act (EFMA) and the Immigration Act (IA). He has been sentenced to an $8,000 fine, and imprisoned for nine months and two weeks for the EFMA and IA violations, respectively, as of the 25th of September 2023. Poh’s transgressions include the unlawful employment of a 27-year-old Malaysian woman, Han Shez Lyii Michelle, without a valid work pass, as well as harbouring her in his residence. Additionally, Poh obstructed Immigration & Checkpoints Authority (ICA) officers in the execution of their duties by providing false information regarding her whereabouts.
On the 22nd of June 2023, Michelle was convicted and fined $5,000 (in lieu of 20 days of imprisonment) for working without a valid work pass. She also received a stern warning for overstaying and has subsequently been deported and barred from re-entering Singapore.
Michelle initially entered Singapore on the 19th of October 2020 on a 30-day social visit pass and subsequently took up residence at Poh’s place. Regrettably, she neither left Singapore nor extended her stay, when her social visit pass expired on the 18th of November 2020. On the 28th of December 2021, ICA officers conducted checks and apprehended Poh at his residence. Poh falsely claimed that he had not been in touch with Michelle and that she had no local contact number. However, he had advised her to stay at a mutual friend’s residence to evade arrest and had deleted her contact details from his phone. Subsequently, Michelle was located and arrested the following day for her unlawful presence in Singapore after her visit pass had lapsed.
In 2020, Poh employed Michelle as an Executive Interior Director for Exclaim, even though she did not possess a valid work pass. Her work pass application in 2020 and her subsequent appeal were both denied by the Controller of Work Passes.
According to the EFMA, individuals who employ foreigners without a valid work pass are subject to a fine ranging from $5,000 to $30,000, a prison sentence not exceeding 12 months, or both upon conviction.
ICA maintains a strong stance against anyone harbouring immigration offenders. Persons found guilty of intentionally or knowingly sheltering overstayers and/or illegal immigrants may face imprisonment for a period not less than six months and not exceeding two years, along with a fine not exceeding S$6,000. In cases of negligent harbouring of overstayers and/or illegal immigrants, a fine not exceeding S$6,000 or imprisonment not exceeding 12 months, or both may be imposed.
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The editorial team at Singapore Employment Agency
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