Landmark case: Man convicted for unlicensed EA activities

by Hannah Norton18 May 2015
Construction worker Ahmead Rubel has been convicted for conducting employment agency (EA) activities without a valid employment agency license issued by the Ministry of Manpower (MOM).

By law, all organisations and individuals who connect job seekers with employers must have get a licence. 

A license is not required in situations where businesses or employers are recruiting staff for the sole purpose of employing them for their own company, or they are outsourcing their own staff to their customers’ premises or offices.

Twenty-eight year old Rubel was sentenced on April 30 to a fine of $40,000 over four months’ imprisonment by District Judge Michelle Yap.

Two other similar charges were taken into consideration for the purpose of sentencing.
This is the first case of an accused being convicted after a court trial for conducting EA activities without a valid licence, MOM said in a press release issued Friday.

In 2013, Rubel is said to have connected with the senior site manager of construction firm Nanjing Minglu Construction Engineering (Singapore), Lu Zhibo, who was looking for construction workers.

Rubel then told Bangladeshi worker Mosharaf about the details about the job vacancy, including job description and salary information, informing him that he would charge $3,000 in agency fees.

This information was then passed onto Bangladeshi national Jabed, who agreed to take up the offer.

Rubel asked for a copy of Jabed’s passport and other supporting documents to be sent to him via email, which Rubel then forwarded to Lu via Whatsapp.

The construction company then made an online Work Permit application for Jabed, which was approved.

In December that year, Rubel received the monies from Jabed, who arrived in Singapore and worked at the construction company from Boxing Day until June 2014.

Commenting on the trial, MOM’s foreign manpower management divisional director, Kevin Teoh, said foreigners holding valid work passes should not try to earn quick money by performing unlicensed EA activities.

“Foreigners who want to seek employment in Singapore, and companies which seek workers should approach licensed employment agencies for their employment and recruitment needs.

“The Ministry will clamp down on unlicensed EAs as they undermine the credibility of the industry. Those who break the law will be severely dealt with.” 

Under the Employment Agencies Act, any person who operates or abets an unlicensed employment agency is punishable with a fine of up to $80,000 or up to 24 months’ jail, or both. For subsequent convictions, a fine of up to $160,000 or up to 48 months’ jail, or both, will be imposed.

MOM advised the public to use only MOM-licensed employment agents for their employment needs, which would be viewed through the EA Directory on the MOM website.

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