Immigration & Checkpoints Authority (ICA) announced in a press statement yesterday that 29 persons were arrested for various offences during its an inland operation around Singapore conducted on 9 June 2015.
Among those arrested, 26 of them were immigration offenders from China and India, aged between 26 and 62 years old. Most of them had overstayed in Singapore. As for the remaining three persons, one work permit holder was caught for being in possession of duty-unpaid cigarettes and two other persons were arrested for suspected harbouring offences. Investigations are still ongoing.
ICA reiterates in its press statement that it takes a serious view of attempts to overstay, enter or depart Singapore illegally.
Under the Immigration Act (Cap 133), the penalties for overstaying or illegal entry are; a jail term of up to six months plus a minimum of three strokes of the cane, while the penalties for illegal departure is a fine of up to $2,000, a jail term of up to six months, or both.
Homeowners are advised to exercise due diligence in checking the status of their prospective foreign tenants to ensure that their status in Singapore is legal. Those who wish to rent their premises to foreigners are required to conduct the three mandatory checks: (a) Check his/her original immigration/work pass; (b) Cross check the particulars on his/her pass against the particulars on his/her original passport; and (c) Verify the validity of his/her pass by checking with the issuing authority.
If the homeowner is found guilty of recklessly (i.e. carrying out only one of the three due diligence checks) or knowingly harbouring overstayers and/or illegal immigrants, he may be sentenced to imprisonment for a term not less than six months and not more than two years and a fine not exceeding S$6,000. If a homeowner is found guilty of negligently (i.e. carrying out only two of the three due diligence checks) harbouring overstayers and/or illegal immigrants, he may be sentenced to a fine not exceeding S$6,000 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 12 months or to both.