The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) reported yesterday that it received a whopping 489 reports of foreign workers falsely registering private residences as their home addresses in the last five months, compared to less than 30 such cases per year in the past.
Revealing that it has “contacted each of these home owners to rectify their residential records and block their addresses to prevent further misuse,” MOM said that it has revoked the work permits of 13 workers and has fined 19 employers in relation to the cases.
The employers were penalised for “failing to exercise supervision over their foreign workers’ place of residence and for providing false address information” while the workers were banned from working in Singapore for abetting their employers.
MOM further revealed that these employers had purposefully registered false addresses for their foreign employees to circumvent housing regulations while housing their workers in unapproved factory premises or overcrowded rooms.
Some workers had themselves provided false addresses to their employers since they were living in overcrowded units they had sourced for themselves. A small number of cases were due to “genuine administrative errors” such as employers plugging in the wrong unit number as they registered addresses.
MOM has also taken over 2,000 employers and 1,000 foreign workers to task in the past three years for providing false addresses or for failing to update the addresses of their workers.
The issue of foreign workers falsely registering private residences as their home addresses came to the fore when a local homeowner revealed his shock when he discovered that five unknown foreigners had registered his home address as their address with MOM.
Facebook user Ruzaidie Dar Surnik wrote that he was alerted to the situation by a neighbour who shared an MOM website with him and asked him to check whether any foreign workers had used his home address as their residential address with MOM.
The website Ruzaidie’s neighbour shared is the webpage for MOM’s Foreign Worker Tenant Enquiry Service (FWTES) for homeowners. Launched in January this year, FWTES allows homeowners to check the names of work pass holders staying at their residential properties.
If unknown foreigners have misused the homeowner’s address, the homeowners can de-register work pass holders from their residential addresses and report the matter to MOM.
When Ruzaidie checked FWTES, he was shocked to find that five unknown work pass holders had registered his home address as their residential address with MOM. Ruzaidie, a father of two daughters, was left shaken by this knowledge.
Expressing concern that such unwanted situations could have put his family in danger, Ruzaidie wrote: “So I went to the MOM website and was shocked that there were not one but five unknown persons had registered with MOM using my residential address.
“What if they made an illegal loan with a loanshark? What happened if they had done something wrong and out of the sudden the police came standing in front of our house? What if.. Aduh, panic siol!”
Ruzaidie’s case is presently under investigation by MOM. The ministry has encouraged home owners to come forward and report cases if their addresses have been misused.
MOM added that the FWTES service will be improved by the end of 2019, with email or SMS alerts for home owners whenever a foreign worker registers their residence as their home address. FWTES will soon also feature a new service allowing homeowners to “delist” their addresses if they do not intend to rent their properties out to foreign workers.
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