It was reported that the Immigration and Checkpoint Authority (ICA) issued a press statement last week (14 Jan) saying that a Filipino was jailed for 7 weeks for immigration offences.
The 38-year-old female Filipino, De Luna Noriza Dancel, was sentenced to seven weeks’ imprisonment for “providing false statements to the Immigration & Checkpoints Authority (ICA) on her and her daughter’s Permanent Residency (PR) applications”, ICA said.
She submitted false documents purportedly from the Centro Escolar University during her PR application in 2008 and 2009. She was eventually granted PR but was arrested in 2017 for the offence. It took another 2 years before she was sentenced.
ICA said, “The case was surfaced following ICA’s internal investigations. Verifications with the Centro Escolar University located in Manila, Philippines revealed that De Luna has no records of enrolment at the said school, and the diploma and transcript which De Luna had submitted for the applications did not originate from their office.”
In other words, the Filipino had submitted a fake degree to ICA when she applied for PR. It’s not known why ICA did not check the authenticity of her degree when she first submitted her PR application back in 2008 and 2009. ICA also did not elaborate why “internal investigations” were carried out or what prompted their “internal investigations” in the first place.
In any case, it does not appear that last week’s sentencing was De Luna’s first brush with Singapore’s law. Online checks show that in 2012, she was charged and fined $50,000 for setting up and running 2 unlicensed employment agencies. She was also convicted for employing her Filipino husband without a valid work pass. Her husband was fined $20,000 for abetting De Luna in her illegal employment activities as well as charged for working in Singapore without a valid work pass since he was on a social visit pass then.
At the time of her first conviction in 2012, she has already obtained her PR. However, her PR was not revoked and she continues to live in Singapore.
With regard to her recent conviction related to the submission of fake degree to ICA, in response to media queries, an ICA spokesperson said that Singapore PRs who have been convicted of an offence will have their PR status reviewed.
“ICA will consider each case based on factors such as the seriousness of the offence, the extent of the person’s involvement in the crime, and the length of the jail sentence before a decision is made on whether to revoke a person’s PR status,” the spokesperson added.
Not so lucky for Yang Yin
On the other hand, Yang Yin, a PR from China who was convicted of cheating a rich Singaporean widow in 2016, was not so lucky. ICA revoked his PR on 1 Nov 2016 after he was convicted in September the same year.
Besides being convicted of cheating, he was also sentenced for other crimes over his immigration status, including falsifying receipts for a sham company in order to stay in Singapore.
When the case broke in 2014, questions had been raised about how Yang had been granted PR here. He was subsequently found to have lied to the ICA that he was running a profitable business and earning a salary via a sham company.
The ICA had said previously that PR applications are decided by factors including qualifications, income and length of stay here. It also has a longstanding policy of revoking the PR status of foreigners who are convicted of crimes. In fact, in August 2012, the law was amended to make it administratively easier for the ICA to revoke permanent residency.
Still, Filipino De Luna got away from getting her PR revoked when she was first convicted in 2012. It remains to be seen if she can get lucky a second time after her recent fake degree conviction.