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Employment agency fined S$5,000 for bringing in 14-year-old Myanmar maid

[SINGAPORE] An employment agency was fined S$5,000 on Thursday for deploying a 14-year-old Myanmar maid in Singapore, well below the minimum required age of 23.

Casa Employment Specialist had pleaded guilty to one charge of breaching licence conditions under the Employment Agencies Act, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) said in a statement on Friday.

It was among the 98 agencies that MOM had taken to task in the past three years for failing to ensure that the maids they place met the age requirement.

Investigations show that the maid had been detected at the MOM Services Centre in July 2017, and later revealed her actual age to be 14 years old when interviewed by MOM officers.

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In the statement, MOM said that Casa "did nothing to verify the age" of the maid.

The agency had relied solely on information provided by the overseas agent, without conducting its own due diligence checks, the statement added.

The maid's work pass application was not approved and she was sent home. She was also barred from working in Singapore until she reaches 23 years old.

MOM's director of well-being in the foreign manpower management division Jeanette Har said that Casa's conviction would be a wake-up call for all employment agencies to take their legal obligation seriously.

"They are to ensure the foreign domestic workers whom they place are minimally 23 years old," she said.

"MOM will continue to do our checks, and employment agencies who neglect their duty of care to their clients will be severely dealt with."

Errant agencies may face a range of penalties, including imposition of demerit points and licence suspension.

Offenders in more severe cases could face prosecution and licence revocation. They could also be permanently barred from conducting business in the employment agency industry.

In the statement, MOM also urged employers to be vigilant in their selection of maids.

Those who have doubts over their worker's age or other credentials should clarify with their employment agencies.

And if employers suspect that a maid recommended by an agency is not at least 23 years old, they should not engage the maid's services and report the agency to MOM.

The public can report a case to MOM on6438- 5122 or e-mail if they are aware of any individuals or agencies violating the law.

All information will be kept strictly confidential, MOM said.