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Singapore – Unpaid migrant worker seeking legal recompense fined and deported

Staffing Industry Analysts - 5 February 2015 - A 30 year-old Bangladeshi migrant worker lodged a complaint with Singapore’s Ministry of Manpower (MoM) in August 2014 when he was not paid his salary. His case was dismissed on 6 January 2015, after which he was fined SGD 100 (USD 74) and deported, reports anti-trafficking organisation home-blog.org.

A 30 year-old Bangladeshi migrant worker lodged a complaint with Singapore’s Ministry of Manpower (MoM) in August 2014 when he was not paid his salary. His case was dismissed on 6 January 2015, after which he was fined SGD 100 (USD 74) and deported, reports anti-trafficking organisation home-blog.org.

On 31 April 2014, Khairul arrived in Singapore to start a new job installing smoke detectors. He worked from May to July but was not paid a salary. He was owed approximately SGD 3,900 (USD 2,897).

On 1 August he lodged a complaint with MoM. His case was brought before the Labour Court where legal proceedings continued until January 2015. During the five month legal process Khairul was unable to work as his work permit had been cancelled. He had been issued a special pass giving him leave to remain in the country but it did not grant him permission to find alternative employment.

His claim was dismissed in January after his employer provided signed salary vouchers and witnesses claiming they had seen Khairul receive his salary. Khairul said that the vouchers had been forged and the witnesses pressured into giving false statements.

Singapore law entitles workers to file an appeal with the High Court within two weeks of the judgment issued by the Labour Court, which would end on 20 January 2015. Khairul found a legal representative who would submit the appeal on his behalf.

He told his former employer of his intentions to file an appeal.

Khairul’s former employer then bought him a plane ticket to return to Bangladesh on 14 January 2015. A special pass expiring on that date was also issued by MOM. Without a work permit or a special pass permitting him to stay in Singapore, Khairul would have to leave Singapore and would therefore be unable to file his appeal with the High Court.

In effect, the window for his appeal submission had been halved.

His request to MoM for an extension of his stay in Singapore, so that he would have sufficient time to consider an appeal to the High Court; but this request was rejected. Even though he had the right to file an appeal, he could not do so because MoM did not legalise his stay in Singapore and insisted he depart the country. No reason was given.

Rather than return to Bangladesh, Khairul opted to remain in Singapore to pursue his appeal. As a result, he overstayed his special pass and was fined SGD 100. He was unable to file an appeal with the High Court and was deported.

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Source: http://www.staffingindustry.com/row/Research-Publications/Daily-News/Singapore-Unpaid-migrant-worker-seeking-legal-recompense-fined-and-deported-33028

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