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Fri May 07 2021

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Singapore fines contractor over worker housing

22 Aug 17 A construction company operating in Singapore has been fined and banned from employing new foreign workers after pleaded guilty to housing them in unhygienic quarters.

Kay Lim Construction & Trading Pte Ltd also admitted to abetting four other companies in housing their foreign workers in the same quarters.

The company had pleaded guilty in July for failing to update the housing addresses of the workers in the Online Foreign Worker Address Service (OFWAS).

Kay Lim was convicted on 30 charges, and fined a total of S$156,000 (£88,875), with the remaining 50 charges taken into consideration for sentencing purposes. The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) has also barred the company from employing foreign workers.

Investigations revealed that on or before November 2015, Kay Lim housed 60 foreign workers -comprising its own workers and others from nine other companies - in a construction site temporary quarters. The living condition of the quarters was very poor and there was evidence of rat infestation. Between March 2014 and September 2015, Kay Lim failed to update the accommodation addresses of 20 other foreign workers who had moved to the construction site temporary quarters.

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Following the inspection, MOM immediately ordered the company to improve the hygiene and living conditions of all their existing construction site temporary quarters. The accused company has complied with the order.

Jeanette Har, director of the well-being department at MOM’s foreign manpower management division, said: “All employers of foreign workers on work permit must provide clean and safe accommodation for their workers. Although we have seen improvements in the foreign worker housing landscape, there continues to be employers who deliberately compromise workers’ safety and well-being. This is unacceptable and MOM will take these employers to task.”

Employers who contravene any condition (other than a regulatory condition) of the work pass shall be guilty of an offence under the EFMA. If convicted, offenders can be fined up to S$10,000 and/or imprisoned up to 12 months, per charge. In addition, MOM will ban the employers from employing new foreign workers or refuse to grant work pass renewals for their existing workers.

  • Foreign workers on work permit who have issues with their housing conditions should bring the matter to the attention of their employer. If their employers fail to make improvements to the living conditions, these workers can seek advice and assistance from the Migrant Workers’ Centre (MWC) at 6536 2692 or report the matter to MOM at 6438 5122. Members of the public can also play a part by informing the authorities of persons or employers who contravene the EFMA, or refer foreign workers in distress to MOM at 6438 5122 or e-mail All information will be kept strictly confidential.

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