The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) will not hesitate to revoke the work passes of foreign individuals found guilty of flouting the country’s COVID-19 measures, regardless of the type of work pass and nationality they hold.
MOM added in a statement on Monday (1 June) that such individuals may also be banned from working in Singapore.
The Ministry’s statement was made in response to media queries on actions taken against Employment Pass (EP) holders who are caught breaching the COVID-19 measures.
The EP is a work visa designated for foreign professionals, managers, executives, and technicians (PMETs) in Singapore. Other forms of work passes for foreigners include S Passes for “mid-level skilled staff” and Work Permits for “semi-skilled foreign workers from approved source countries to work in certain sectors”.
According to MOM, over 100 EP holders had their passes revoked after being convicted of criminal offences or for making false declarations in their work pass applications in the last three years.
MOM’s statement came a day before seven people were charged in court on Tuesday (2 June) for flouting Government prohibition on social gatherings during the COVID-19 circuit breaker.
The individuals charged in court — who were named by local press — are:
- A 45-year-old Austrian national (Singapore permanent resident);
- A 30-year-old British national;
- A 33-year-old British national;
- A 35-year-old British citizen;
- A 37-year-old British citizen;
- A 40-year-old United States citizen; and
- a 52-year-old United States citizen.
Each of them is charged with one count of breaching Regulation 6 of the COVID-19 regulations by meeting each other without reasonable excuse between 6pm and 6.44pm on 16 May, either at Rosso Vino at 15 Merbau Road or [email protected] Quay — the latter of which is situated within a short walking distance from the former.
All seven were offered a S$3,000 bail. The case has been adjourned to 16 June.
Facebook user Lectress Pat on 16 May posted a series of photos showing crowds of people gathering at Robertson Quay, noting that no enforcer was seen patrolling the area when the photos were being taken at around 6.25pm.
Some individuals were spotted not wearing masks in the photos, while others were seen sitting near to each other without social distancing. The photos went viral on social media.
Following the incident, URA stated on 17 May that it has ordered the restaurants at Robertson Quay to cease the sale of takeaway alcohol immediately.
Minister for the Environment and Water Resources Masagos Zulkifli confirmed in a Facebook post on 18 May that the URA officers have been patrolling the area. He noted that a number of the individuals who gathered in the area have been traced by the police.
“These persons are non-Singaporeans, and are currently under police investigation,” he wrote.
Although Mr Masagos had stated that the police have tracked down the individuals who gathered at Robertson Quay and that they are non-Singaporeans, no clarification was given at the time on whether these individuals have faced any punishments.
MOM revoked 24 work passes of migrant workers drinking, eating and gathering at factory-turned-dormitory
Previously on 13 April, MOM revoked 24 work passes of individuals who broke the COVID-19 circuit breaker rules and has permanently barred them from working in Singapore.
The individuals were caught drinking, eating, and gathering in groups in the area of Tuas View Square, which is a factory-turned-dormitory, according to MOM.
Tuas View Square is one of such industrial or warehouse developments partially converted into a dormitory for migrant workers.
Following that, Nabil Khairul Anwar, a student of Nanyang Technological University (NTU), questioned if MOM will apply the same policy to other work pass holders who have flouted the rules, including holders of EP, EntrePass, Personalised Employment Pass (PEP), and S Pass.
MOM stressed in its statement on Monday that “Singaporeans and foreigners alike” are penalised for flouting the circuit breaker rules in widely publicised cases.
MOM’s statement, however, did not clarify whether the EPs of those who break COVID-19 regulations would be revoked.
For each charge, persons found guilty of flouting COVID-19 regulations can be subject to a jail term of up to six months, fined up to S$10,000, or both.