It is an offence for any person or company, directly or indirectly, to engage the services of an unlicensed EA. If convicted, an offender can be fined up to S$5,000 per charge, the Ministry highlighted.
Singapore's Ministry of Manpower has advised individuals who intend to engage the services of an employment agency (EA) to first verify that the EA is licensed, and they can do so via the Ministry's EA Directory.
The EA Directory also offers other information, including EAs which have had their licence suspended, revoked, or are under surveillance. Such information, MOM noted, helps to protect individuals from errant EAs who flout regulations. Jobseekers are also advised not to pay any fee to the EA until they have secured a job.
This advisory comes on the back of a recent case involving an individual who was convicted in February 2021 for operating an EA in Singapore without a valid licence. According to MOM, he was sentenced to four weeks’ imprisonment and fined the maximum of S$80,000 (in default two months’ imprisonment) for an offence under section 6(4)(a) of the Employment Agencies Act (Chapter 92) (“EAA”). He had appealed against his conviction and sentence, but the High Court dismissed his appeal on 20 October 2021.
Investigations by MOM revealed that the individual had operated an employment agency, JOBSINSG.COM, illegally between March 2016 and June 2017. He posted advertisements that purported to offer employment opportunities to jobseekers. When jobseekers responded to these advertisements and showed up at his physical office, he collected their physical resumes, and charged up to S$450 from each jobseeker. After receiving payment, Ng informed the jobseeker that his services would only entail the distribution of their resume.
In light of this, the Ministry stressed that operating an unlicensed employment agency is a serious offence. The offender can be fined up to S$80,000 or jailed for up to two years or to both.
It is also an offence for any person or company, directly or indirectly, to engage the services of an unlicensed EA. If convicted, an offender can be fined up to S$5,000 per charge.
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