Singapore is known for its low crime rate and strict laws, making it one of the safest countries in the world.
Being a foreigner in Singapore comes with challenges, and navigating the criminal justice system can be incredibly daunting for expats unfamiliar with Singapore’s laws and legal procedures.
Failure to comply with these laws could result in legal consequences, including fines, imprisonment, the cancellation of employment passes and even deportation.
Expatriates must familiarize themselves with Singapore’s laws and regulations to avoid unintentionally violating them. A conviction can significantly impact an Employment Pass in Singapore, mainly if the offence is related to the workplace or the nature of the job.
What happens if I breach the conditions of my employment pass?
If an EP holder is found to be in breach of any of the conditions of their employment pass or any other applicable laws and regulations, they may have their pass revoked or cancelled by the Ministry of Manpower (MOM), and subsequently barred from working in Singapore in the future – pursuant to Section 7(5) of the EFMA.
What happens if an EP holder is convicted of an offence in Singapore?
The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) may refuse to grant or renew an employment pass if the applicant is convicted of an offence in Singapore or another country that, in the opinion of the Minister, makes the applicant unsuitable for the grant or renewal of the pass – pursuant to Section 7 of the EFMA.
Read more: Ministry of Manpower Offences
Additionally, Section 15(1)(d) of the Immigration Act provides that a person may be refused entry into or deported from Singapore if they have been convicted of an offence in Singapore or elsewhere that, in the opinion of the Minister, makes the person unsuitable for entry into or stay in Singapore.
The Immigration Act may have jurisdiction over EP holders, as it provides for regulating and controlling immigration into and out of Singapore, including the grant of employment passes.
Therefore, if an EP holder is convicted of a criminal offence in Singapore, MOM may revoke or cancel the EP or refuse to renew it when it expires, which may make it difficult for the EP holder to continue working in Singapore, as they may need to leave the country and apply for a new EP if they wish to return to work in Singapore.
Fines and Punishment
In addition to an EP being possibly cancelled or revoked, EP holders may also face fines and/or other punishments in lieu of their conviction.
Offences related to immigration and employment laws:
An individual who contravenes any provision under the Employment of Foreign Manpower Act (EFMA) shall be liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding $15,000 and/or imprisonment for a term not exceeding 12 months – pursuant to Section 22(1) of the EFMA.
If an individual has made or causes to be made any false statement or false representation in connection with any application concerning the EFMA, or any subsidiary legislation made thereunder; they shall be liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding $20,000 and/or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years.
Read more: Crime and Punishment in Singapore : The Expatriate Perspective
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I apply for jobs in Singapore if I have been convicted of an offence?
Employers in Singapore must conduct background checks on EP applicants. A criminal record could make it difficult for an EP holder to secure employment in the country, especially in industries requiring high trust and integrity, such as finance or healthcare.
Will my EP be automatically cancelled if I receive a conviction?
The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) may consider revoking or cancelling an EP if the EP holder is convicted of a criminal offence in Singapore. However, the decision to revoke or cancel the EP is at the discretion of MOM, and it will depend on the nature and severity of the offence.
Can I still work in Singapore if my EP is cancelled?
If an EP is cancelled or revoked, the EP holder may need to leave Singapore. They will not be able to work in the country unless they obtain a new EP or other work visa.
Can I appeal if my EP is cancelled?
Yes. Under Section 7(10) of the EFMA, an employment pass holder may appeal the decision to cancel or revoke their pass to the Minister of Manpower within such time and in such manner as the Minister may direct. However, the appeal process can be lengthy and may only sometimes result in the reinstatement of the EP.
What can GJC Law do to help?
Here at GJC Law, our team can provide legal advice and guidance to EP holders concerned about their employment pass status in case of a conviction.
Here are some ways we provide assistance:
Advice on the legal implications: Our team of Criminal lawyers can provide advice on the legal consequences of a conviction for your employment pass. We can explain the relevant laws and regulations and the potential consequences of a criminal conviction on the employment pass status.
Assist in the appeals process: If an employment pass is cancelled or revoked, our team can assist you in filing an appeal to the Ministry of Manpower. We can help prepare and submit the necessary documentation and present the case on behalf of the employer and the employee.