The Manpower Ministry of Singapore today said all the offenders, 21 men and four women, had pleaded guilty in court. It said 22 of them were jailed for 10 weeks, two for 12 weeks and one for four weeks yesterday.
The 25 were issued work passes to work in operations, sales, and food and beverage sectors. Among them were also a hair restoration technologist, a quality control executive and a chef. All of them had worked for less than a year in Singapore.
All the 25 offenders had obtained forged academic certificates in their home countries and used them to apply for work passes between November 2, 2012 and June 7, 2013. They were charged under the Employment of Foreign Manpower Act (EFMA) for submitting forged academic certificates to the Controller of Work Passes to obtain employment passes to work in Singapore.
"This is the largest number of foreign employees prosecuted for this offence in this year, and the penalties are the most severe the court has meted out so far for the offence," the ministry said in a statement.
The ministry had launched investigations last November and discovered that the certificates were forged through checks with the relevant certificate-issuing institutions and respective foreign government departments.
It said the employers of the 25 were not aware that their foreign employees had submitted forged academic certificates for their work pass applications. "As the employers were not complicit, no further actions were taken against them," said the statement.
The ministry prosecuted 78 foreign employees for similar offences in 2013 and 43 in 2012. They were also barred from working in Singapore. The EFMA was amended in November 2012, making it an offence of submitting false statements or any false document relating to academic qualifications to the Controller. The offence carries a maximum fine of SGD 20,000 and possible imprisonment up to two years.