A 46-year-old Bangladeshi national and former work permit holder, Younus was sentenced to nine months and two weeks’ imprisonment for harbouring one male Bangladeshi immigration offender on 30 April 2019, the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority announced on Friday (3 May).
The authority then conducted investigations and revealed that Younus had rented a unit at Serangoon Road by enlisting the assistance of a friend to sign the tenancy agreement on his behalf.
According to the authority, he assumed control over the unit when the tenancy agreement took effect on 1 February 2017. Younus then sublet the unit to 32-year-old Bangladeshi national Hajra Md Naimul (Hajra) on the same day. Hajra did not offer to show any identification documents to the accused nor did Younus ask him for any documents to verify if his stay in Singapore was valid.
On 18 April 2017, ICA said that its officers conducted a check at the unit and arrested Hajra, who had remained unlawfully in Singapore after the expiry of his Special Pass on 5 February 2017.
As Younus did not exercise due diligence by carrying out at least two out of three checks required under the law before allowing Hajra to stay at the unit he had rented, he had committed an offence of harbouring an immigration offender with reckless disregard under the Immigration Act.
Hajra has since been dealt with for his overstaying offence and was sentenced to a fine of $3,000 in default 12 days’ imprisonment on 19 April 2017.
ICA stressed that it takes a firm stance against any person who harbours immigration offenders. Those who wish to rent their premises must exercise due diligence in checking the status of their prospective foreign tenants to ensure that their status in Singapore is legal.
It noted that they are required to conduct the three mandatory checks, which are checking the tenant’s original immigration/work pass, crossing check the particulars on his/her pass against the particulars on his/her original passport, and verifying the validity of his/her pass by checking with the issuing authority (i.e. MOM for work passes and ICA for other immigration passes such as Student’s Pass and Long Term Visit Pass).
If any person 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 any person 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.