The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) has shared that two Indian nationals have been convicted and sentenced for submitting false educational qualifications in their work pass applications.
According to its press release on Tuesday, Bailwal Sunil Dutt was sentenced to one week in jail and Sutradhar Bijoy was sentenced to four weeks.
Their work passes have been revoked and they have been permanently barred from working in Singapore.
Bhandare Raghavendra, another Indian national work pass holder, has also been charged for the same offence and is due to appear in court on 5 Aug.
MOM added that the three men were among 23 foreigners it investigated.
It was earlier announced in Feb this year that MOM was investigating 15 work pass holders who declared qualifications from Manav Bharti University (MBU) in the Indian state of Himachal Pradesh. This comes after reports emerged about how the private university had sold 36,000 fake degrees across 17 states in over 11 years and that a number of its graduates are working in Singapore.
Of the remaining 20 individuals that MOM investigated, 19 have also been permanently barred from future employment in Singapore while further investigation is under way for one person.
MOM will revoke the work passes of foreign employees found to have submitted forged documents in their work pass applications. They will also be permanently barred from working in Singapore.
They may also be prosecuted under the Employment of Foreign Manpower Act. If found guilty, they face a fine of up to S$20,000, a jail term of up to two years or both.
MOM reiterated in its Tuesday statement that employers have the primary responsibility to ensure that qualifications provided by potential employees are genuine.
“Before hiring, the employer should have already evaluated the candidates… to ensure that they have the right skills and qualification for the position they applied for,”
A spokesman said while MOM conducts checks on qualifications submitted, “it is difficult to detect institutions such as MBU which are approved by the foreign government’s authorities and issuing genuine degrees while selling fakes”.
“Nevertheless, MOM regularly reviews and strengthens measures to maintain the integrity of our work pass framework,” the spokesman added, noting that firm action will be taken against offenders.
MOM also earlier said that it verifies the authenticity of submitted qualifications directly through the issuing institutions or third-party screening agencies.“In addition, MOM receives and acts on reports from employers who discover that they have been misled after the work pass holder has arrived.” the ministry added in its previous statement.
In the past five years, MOM said it has detected and permanently barred an average of 660 foreigners a year from working in Singapore for submitting fake educational qualifications in work pass applications.
In the same period, an average of eight foreigners a year were prosecuted for such offences.