How did MOM approve the 20 "Chef de Partie" EP applications?

Paramjit Kaur, former COO of Harry's Bar Picture credit: The Straits Times

By: Forever Vagabond

In court yesterday, it was reported that the former COO of Harry’s International, Parmjit Kaur, pleaded guilty to charges of falsifying some 20 foreign employees’ salary declaration to MOM. She was fined $40,000.

She did this so as to hire more foreigners on (Employment Pass) EP to work at Harry’s, a popular bar and dining chain in Singapore. Currently, foreign EP holders are not subjected to quota limitation.

ST reported that in 2012, Ms Kaur told employment agents to look for foreign workers, who would be offered a monthly pay of $3,100 so as to qualify for EP (http://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/courts-crime/ex-harrys-coo-fined-40k-over-hiring-scheme). But they will have to return $1,600 for “transportation and meal expenses”, which means the foreigners were actually getting only $1,500 per month.

It was declared to MOM that these foreign workers would be hired as “Chef de Partie”. A chef de partie, station chef, or line cook, is a chef in charge of a particular area of production in a restaurant. In large kitchens, each chef de partie might have several cooks or assistants but in most kitchens, the chef de partie is the only worker in that department.

ST also reported that the 20 foreign “Chef de Partie” involved in the sham are from India.

MOM said that the offences were discovered after receiving a tip-off (http://www.mom.gov.sg/newsroom/press-releases/2016/0620-former-director-of-harrys-fined-40000-for-falsely-declaring-salaries-in-work-pass-applications).

“Based on the false information provided to the Controller of Work Passes, the 20 EP applications were approved and the EPs were issued to the foreign employees,” it said.

“Since 2014, a total of 39 employers have been convicted for false salary declaration offences,” it added.

How thorough was MOM in checking the EP applications?

The EP is meant for foreign PMETs to work in Singapore. In fact, one of the requirements is that the applicant must have acceptable qualifications, usually a good university degree, professional qualifications or specialist skills (http://www.mom.gov.sg/passes-and-permits/employment-pass/eligibility).

To hire a foreigner as a professional “Chef de Partie” on EP means he must be a qualified chef, graduated from a professional culinary school.

Since MOM approved the EP applications for the 20 Indian nationals, what sort of qualifications these supposedly “Chef de Partie” have? Did MOM verify their qualifications in the first place?

Also, did these 20 people pay any fees to get the job?

ST mentioned that employment agents were involved. Did these agencies over-collect any fees from the 20?

And finally, did MOM think if there were any kick-backs involved?

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