Moonlighting Foreign Workers Concerns
The increased number of moonlighting foreign workers raised concern to the local residents of Singapore. The government tried to respond to the complaints and in the year 2012, officials from the ministry of manpower patrolled certain regions to make arrests. In January 2012, some foreigners were arrested in busy Tampines central business region. The region consists of many pushcart stalls where a variety of merchandise is sold .Many people do purchases from these stalls and so the population around these stalls is normally high. The officials from the ministry of manpower department decided to do an impromptu search in this region where they found several foreigners working under conditions not recognized by the government. To disguise themselves, the officials from the ministry surrounded the stalls in the region before wearing their MOM vests.
The moonlighting foreign workers were found with a range of offenses. The foreigners had violated the Employment of Foreign Manpower Act in various instances. They had passes which indicated their reason for being in Singapore as contrary to the positions they were found .Majority of the foreigners were on social visit pass. Their passes indicated that they were in the country to visit friends or family members, but were found selling in the pushcart stalls. Others had Dependants pass indicating that they were not to do any jobs while in the country. A few who had work permits were found to be working in regions not specified in the pass. Some foreigners with work permit decided to employ other foreigners to work in their stalls using the single permit. This was one successful raid in which the ministry of manpower officials managed to get the true picture of what is going on in the country. In about five stalls that were inspected, six foreigners were nabbed. This is a clear indication that there are many foreigners working illegally in the country.
Every year the officials from the ministry of manpower prosecute both employers and employees for illegal employment or illegal deployment offenses. The employers know the governments stand on employing foreigners and policies that one must follow as a guide line before employing a foreigner. But they still employ the foreigners without following the stated regulations since the illegal foreign workers appear to be cheap to pay. Several foreigners use valid pass to gain entry into the country, but once in the country, seek for employment. The foreigners therefore end up working using invalid pass, resulting to an increase of moonlighting foreign workers.
The ministry of manpower encourages the public to report to the department cases of people who engage in employing illegal foreigners or foreigners who get into the country illegally or the foreigners who use good pass to get into the country but get employed in jobs without working permits. The ministry officials have given the public an email address which they can use to report such cases. The ministry officials have tried to make the public be aware of the fact that the foreign workers take up jobs which would otherwise be done by the locals. As the foreigners earn their salaries, they post the money back to their original countries. This has led to the money getting out of Singapore, leaving the country’s economy depressed. The depressed economy in any country relates to low salaries as the money circulation is greatly interfered with. The attempt by the ministry of manpower officials to arrest the moonlighting foreign workers was welcomed by many Singapore residents. Many residents though felt that this was a small percentage of the culprits nabbed. They blamed the ministry officials for not doing a good job as a lot still need to be done.