Between 5 and 7 August 2019, a total of 22 people were arrested for immigration-related offences in a three-day enforcement operation conducted by Immigration & Checkpoints Authority (ICA) officers at various locations in Singapore. The 13 men and nine women, aged between 23 and 69 years old, included Bangladeshi, Sri Lankan, Vietnamese, Thai, Indonesian, Indian, Chinese and Malaysian nationals. Two Singaporeans and three Singapore permanent residents were also included in the 22 arrested.
2 The operations covered residential and commercial premises in locations such as Kallang, Geylang, Orchard, Mandai, Little India and Serangoon. The 22 people have been arrested for immigration-related offences such as overstaying, harbouring and employment of immigration offenders (IOs). Some of these IOs were found engaging in work related to construction, cleaning as well as food and beverage industries. Investigations are ongoing.
3 ICA takes a serious view of attempts to overstay, enter or depart Singapore illegally. Under the Immigration Act (Cap 133), the penalties for overstaying or illegal entry are a jail term of up to six months plus a minimum of three strokes of the cane, while the penalties for illegal departure is a fine of up to $2,000, a jail term of up to six months, or both.
4 ICA also takes a firm stance against any person who harbours or employs immigration offenders. Those who wish to rent their premises must exercise due diligence in checking the status of their prospective foreign tenants to ensure that their status in Singapore is legal. They are required to conduct the three mandatory checks:
- Check the tenant’s original immigration/work pass;
- Cross check the particulars on his/her pass against the particulars on his/her original passport; and
- Verify the validity of his/her pass by checking with the issuing authority (i.e. MOM for work passes and ICA for other immigration passes such as Student’s Pass and Long Term Visit Pass).
5 If any person is found guilty of knowingly or recklessly (i.e. carrying out only one of the three due diligence checks) harbouring overstayers and/or illegal immigrants, he may be sentenced to imprisonment for a term not less than six months and not more than two years and a fine not exceeding S$6,000. If any person is found guilty of negligently (i.e. carrying out only two of the three due diligence checks) harbouring overstayers and/or illegal immigrants, he may be sentenced to a fine not exceeding S$6,000 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 12 months or to both. Any person found employing an immigration offender shall be punished with imprisonment for a term not less than six months and not more than two years and shall also be liable to a fine not exceeding S$6,000.
6 ICA is committed to safeguard Singapore’s security and will continue with our inland enforcement efforts to ensure that the immigration offenders situation is kept under control.
IMMIGRATION & CHECKPOINTS AUTHORITY
8 AUGUST 2019
IOs arrested at various locations in ICA’s enforcement blitz (Photos: ICA)