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Singapore cracks down on illegal employment of foreign workers

SINGAPORE, May 22 (Xinhua) - Singapore will from now on implement
tougher penalties for the illegal employment of foreign workers.

According to Channel NewsAsia reports, Manpower Minister Ng EngHen
said in Parliament on Tuesday that as a small island, Singapore needs
to be vigilant and manage its foreign worker population well, to
ensure that it continues to contribute positively to its economy.

"We need a robust system with effective laws, enforcement and
safeguards against the illegal entry and employment of foreign workers
and ensure that their well-being is protected," said the minister.

The minister said that the government will do this in three ways: new
offenses introduced, penalties for selected offenses will go up and
Employment Inspectors will be given more teeth to augment their
enforcement efforts.

Currently, the penalties for illegal employment and levy evasion in
Singapore are bundled into a maximum fine that is equivalent to 48
months' of levy due or a jail term of up to a year or both, but under
the new act, the maximum fine is 15,000 Singapore dollars (about
9803.9 U.S. dollars) or jail of up to a year or both for each case of
illegal employment.

The number of illegal foreign workers arrested increased to 2,868 last
year from about 2,150 in 1995.


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