20 men and one woman were arrested between 29 July and 2 August 2019 for immigration-related offences in a week-long enforcement operation conducted by the Immigration & Checkpoints Authority (ICA) officers at various locations in Singapore.
The authority announced in the press release that the 20 men and woman, aged between 21 and 55 years old, included Bangladeshi, Nepalese, Sri Lankan and Vietnamese nationals, as well as three Singaporeans and a Singapore permanent resident.
According to ICA, the operations covered residential and commercial premises in locations such as Bedok, Bugis, Changi, Little India, Pasir Ris and Serangoon. A total of 21 people have been arrested for immigration-related offences such as overstaying and employment of immigration offenders (IOs) with some were found engaging in work related to construction as well as food and beverage industries.
Investigations are ongoing, ICA said.
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.
ICA also stated 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. They are required to conduct the three mandatory checks:
- Check the tenant’s original immigration/work pass.
- Cross-check the particulars on his/her pass against the particulars on his/her original passport.
- Verify 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.