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MOM conned by F&B company into issuing EPs to 20 “foreign talents”

It was reported today (14 Jan) that GD Group, a food and beverage company operating the restaurant chain Penang Culture, had deceived the Manpower Ministry (MOM) into issuing Employment Pass to 20 of its foreign employees, when they did not meet the requirements.

According to MOM's website, only eligible foreigners will be considered for an Employment Pass to work in Singapore. Criteria include a minimum salary of $3,600 and acceptable qualifications.

Between February 2013 and July 2015, however, GD Group falsely declared salary amounts of between $4,000 and $4,800 for its 20 foreign employees to meet the salary requirement for EPs, while actually paying them between $1,500 and $2,200.

Also, it's not known what kind of "acceptable" qualifications the foreign workers had submitted which somehow, further convinced MOM to issue EPs to these "foreign talents" in addition to the salary requirement.

MOM acknowledged that the company falsely declared the salaries in order to circumvent foreign worker quota rules by hiring foreigners on EPs but paying them less than the declared salaries in the work pass applications.

Presently, there is no quota imposed on foreigners hired on EP as they are deemed to be "skilled" PMETs.

MOM has fined the company $94,500 for making the false declarations in work pass applications. The ministry has also barred the company from hiring foreign employees, it said.

"MOM has a duty to protect the interest of law-abiding employers. We will continue to take errant employers to task by ensuring a level-playing field for businesses," said MOM.

This is not the first incident of such offence, Employers who run franchises of 7-11 convenience shops and their employees were convicted of similar offense back in 2014.

Notice that MOM did not say it has a duty to protect the interest of law-abiding Singaporeans, who are struggling each day to compete with the huge influx of "foreign talents" flooding the country.