Illegal agents: how to avoid them?

November 2010

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The MOM has introduced this November a new law to raise penalties against unlicensed employment agencies. The new law makes it also an offense for employers to knowingly hire from an unlicensed agent.  It is therefore important for prospective employers to know how to make the difference between legal and illegal agents.

The definition of an employment agent in Singapore is : any person who offers matching services between a prospective employer and candidates. However, to be allowed to work as an employment agent in Singapore, the person must apply for a license and hence be accredited by MOM.

An unlicensed agent is always an illegal agent and he/ she faces stiff penalties: a fine from 5000 to 80 000 SGD and jail up to 2 years.

The employer who has hired through the services of an illegal agent faces also penalties: a fine of 5000 SGD.

And the employment agency who processes documents and work permit is exposed to the same sanctions as the illegal agent: up to 80 000 SGD and 2 years in jail.

When looking for a domestic helper, don’t expose yourself to any risk: always ask the agent to show his/her accreditation card with the license number and check on MOM’s website if the number is registered.  The repertory of accredited agencies with MOM can be found here.