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Passport detained at MoM

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ashwinh
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Passport detained at MoM

Postby ashwinh » Sat, 06 Feb 2010 12:51 pm

This is the first time I’m using the forum and thankful for having such platform to discuss.

I’m an expat in Singapore. Started working last August attached to a company engaged in sales and marketing. Recently I discovered that the company is paying only 50% of the salary which I’m to supposed to receive and what is been shown to MoM by the employer organizing the employment pass.

When inquired, the Managing Director states of company procedure and would continue to harass me at work.

So, I took a bold decision to quit and to return to my country. In doing so, yesterday I went to MoM and asked of the legal implications of cancelling my pass prematurely. Well, they wanted me to lodge a complaint which I did. With complaint in place my passport was taken away from me and the MoM issued a temporary letter. If I knew of passport suspension would have just left the country rather complaining of some employer who is violating law and order.

Being the victim, can they detain the passport of an expat? And most importantly, they wanted me to support in their investigations to prosecute the employer, which is not my interest!!! Adding more to this, now I’m jobless and would have to stay in Singapore till the conclusion of investigations; was told that it could take months and months!!!
Can this be the proper procedure???
:???:

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Postby sundaymorningstaple » Sat, 06 Feb 2010 1:08 pm

Yes. You had to knowingly agree to the scam. Your payroll voucher would have shown you the salary that was being reported to MOM. Obviously, you are smart enough to use the internet so you should have know what the income requirements for your given pass were. I am making an assumption but I'll bet you were on an S pass correct? This is an all to frequent happening here and you should have known the minimum salary for your pass before you started working. You will be hard pressed to convince them that you had no knowledge beforehand of the scam. If you did know about it, then you are just as guilty as the employer.

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Postby ashwinh » Sat, 06 Feb 2010 4:46 pm

Dear Moderator,

Yes, you are correct; I’m on S-pass. Even though I know how to Google, never suspected the employer to cheat. Had lot of faith on Singaporeans and the big halo behind this company!!!

There are many other nationalities working for such small salaries attached to it. All of us have come through the same job agent!!! The agent charged each SGD 5,000/- in finding the job placement and was strictly instructed that salary cannot be discussed with the employer at the interview, which we all adhered to innocently. We all expected that he was genuine and was acting in good faith.

Last month I got hold of some information which certifies an ‘S-Pass’ has a minimum salary. When checked with MoM they confirmed it. So, when the company didn’t want to pay the same I just wanted to quit.

Among other things, we used to work from 10.30am till 9pm for six days of the week. The lunch break is less than 15 minutes!!! When checked with MoM, I was told that this is also illegal to work so long without any over-time payment. We sometimes used to work on public holidays and never received a payment or an additional off-day. I have been in communication with MoM for the last three weeks which prompted me to quit and return to my country.

The most difficult part is to survive in Singapore especially without a job till the investigations comes to a conclusion. :cry:

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Postby Strong Eagle » Sun, 07 Feb 2010 8:40 am

This agent and this employer both need to be caned and put in jail. This isn't capitalism... this is greed at its worst.

How can they be reported and prosecuted? If, as the OP says, many people paid $5,000 to be ripped off, surely there is recourse? Hell... I'd donate to see unscrupulous people like this pay a penalty.

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Postby sundaymorningstaple » Sun, 07 Feb 2010 10:28 am

SE, the problem with the system is that the agent who ripped them off isn't in Singapore. It's their agent in their home country who acts as a conduit and middle man so that the local agent doesn't run afoul of the laws here regarding the collecting of recruitment fees from job seekers which is against the law here. (Of course the foreign agent is in cahoots with the local agent but proving it is a different kettle of fish.

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Postby ashwinh » Sun, 07 Feb 2010 4:30 pm

Dear Moderators,
In my case the agent lives in Singapore and he is a Singaporean (Chinese by ethnicity). This agent happens to own a private school as well as the recruitment business.

Since 9am today, would you believe that I received almost 20 telephone calls from this agent and his known party asking me to step-down by taking the salary due for an S-Pass!!! In other words the agent/ employer are willing to pay me the balance 50% of my salary. In return they expect me to take-off the statement which would lead to a serious investigation.

I have already informed my High Commission and they too will support me in this case. However, what could be the best move for me? :?

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Postby morenangpinay » Mon, 08 Feb 2010 1:45 pm

hi im sorry you are in that situation.from what i heard through other people, the MOM will give you a temporary pass which you will renew all the time. so you can look for another job.You will be asked to testify against the employer. so they are holding your passport. i don't know why they do that though because its not a personal belonging...

its also sad the government persecutes the victim as well thats why no one is enticed to report these cheating employers. my best advice to you would be to look for a job while you are here. good luck i hope you stay strong.

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Postby jpatokal » Mon, 08 Feb 2010 2:44 pm

sundaymorningstaple wrote:Yes. You had to knowingly agree to the scam. Your payroll voucher would have shown you the salary that was being reported to MOM.

ashwinh, let me take two wild guesses here -- you did not receive any payroll vouchers, and you were paid in cash?

As for what's the best course of action for you: you're already burned your bridges with the employer and agent, so I think you should not accept their offer. You obviously cannot trust them to keep their word, and they will fire you at the first excuse or make your life hell if you keep working.

The best thing to do is to stay the course, do not withdraw the complaint, keep any communication between you and the employer and agent in writing, and start looking for a new job in Singapore. You should get the money you are owed eventually, and if you are lucky, you can find a better position in Singapore. And, of course, you will get the immense good karma of bringing these slimeballs to justice. But in the meantime -- be careful. You're pissing in someone's rice bowl here, and they will not be happy about it.

Last and probably least, you might want to get in touch with local media. I doubt the mainstream media are interested in touching this, but local blogs like Temasek Review http://www.temasekreview.com/ and Yawning Bread http://www.yawningbread.org/ would probably be.
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Postby ashwinh » Mon, 08 Feb 2010 3:54 pm

Dear all,

Now I’m getting many telephone calls from the job agent and his related parties offering attractive deals with easy exit!!!

Without my request, they have voluntarily offered to pay my salary dues to the last cent along with the initial payment of SGD 5,000/- paid in finding the job. Isn’t this amazing? In return, they just want me to do some changes/ withdraw the case.

At this moment if I try to withdraw, the Singapore authorities can hold me for coming up with a bogus complaint against a ‘nice and obedient’ employer. Secondly, I think the job agent and his goonies will blackmail me without any second being spared to think. They just want me to take the money and leave the country ASAP!!! What say you? :?

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Postby sundaymorningstaple » Mon, 08 Feb 2010 5:32 pm

ashwinh wrote:Dear all,

Now I’m getting many telephone calls from the job agent and his related parties offering attractive deals with easy exit!!!

Without my request, they have voluntarily offered to pay my salary dues to the last cent along with the initial payment of SGD 5,000/- paid in finding the job. Isn’t this amazing? In return, they just want me to do some changes/ withdraw the case.

At this moment if I try to withdraw, the Singapore authorities can hold me for coming up with a bogus complaint against a ‘nice and obedient’ employer. Secondly, I think the job agent and his goonies will blackmail me without any second being spared to think. They just want me to take the money and leave the country ASAP!!! What say you? :?


Actually, it doesn't matter at this point what you do. The company has already been "flagged" by MOM due to your complaint. Even if you withdraw the complaint it won't help the company or you. If MOM were to let you leave (which they won't) after trying to withdraw the complaint, they will still proceed with their investigation of impropriety. The employer is, at the moment, up to their eyeballs in Sh*t and they know it. They are themselves clutching at straws and are trying anything.

The odds are that they (MOM) will eject you from the country anyway as you will be hard pressed to convince them you didn't know what was going on.

I am not advising you to do anything, but if it were me, I'd ALMOST be tempted to take all that the employer is offering you (and I do mean ALL of it) and go ahead and try to withdraw the complaint. But! I would make the employer give it to you by company cheque made out to your name and then tell them that as soon as the cheque clears you will withdraw the complaint. In the meantime, before depositing the cheque, I would be sure to make several photocopies of both sides of the cheque and mail one to yourself, one to your home (in China) and one to keep. They don't have a whole lot of choice as they have already been reported so MOM is gonna check them out anyway whether or not the complaint has been withdrawn.

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Postby agopal » Mon, 08 Feb 2010 10:27 pm

sundaymorningstaple wrote: one to your home (in China)


SMS, i guess you got this one wrong.... :) I believe he is from India....!!
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Postby sundaymorningstaple » Mon, 08 Feb 2010 11:02 pm

agopal wrote:
sundaymorningstaple wrote: one to your home (in China)


SMS, i guess you got this one wrong.... :) I believe he is from India....!!


Does it matter what country he's from? I would tend to agree with you only on the premise of his nick, but I don't see anything in his posts where he says he's from India, or Thailand, or Malaysia or Bangldesh or Pakistan.

So we both are making assumptions, but I concede you are probably right. That's what happens when I answer while also working at the same time and have multiple monitors & windows open! :oops: :shit: :wink:

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Postby ashwinh » Tue, 09 Feb 2010 1:45 am

Dear friends,
Well, with all due respect to nationalities that you were talking about; Indians, Chinese, Bangladeshis, Pakistanis, Thai, etc. my nationality is different!!! But from the Asian subcontinent. Any luck guesses? :)

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Postby sundaymorningstaple » Tue, 09 Feb 2010 6:46 am

As I said, it really doesn't matter as what the employer/agent is doing it wrong. I look at you as a foreign worker the fact that you might be from Malaysia, Nepal, Indonesia, Brunei or Burma is immaterial. You might well be from the 'peens. Again, doesn't matter to me at all.

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Postby revhappy » Sun, 21 Feb 2010 8:37 pm

Your nationality could be anything, but your ethinicity is definitely Indian, unless Ashwinh refers to something else in a different language


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