Under the Singapore law by the Ministry of Manpower (MOM), to operate a recruitment agency or head-hunting business within Singapore, regardless of whether the clients or candidates are located in Singapore, if you were to operate in Singapore itself, the business entity needs to be an approved by Ministry of Manpower (MOM), hence it must have the following:
- The entity must be approved by the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) as a license holder (http://www.mom.gov.sg) click on link after which do a direct search https://services.mom.gov.sg/eadirectory/
Under the New Employment Agency Regulatory Framework launch on 1 April 2011 and exercised on 31st July 2011, any personnel or business entity operating without a license found guilty may be fined up to a maximum of S$80,000.00 or jail in prison.
Company or business who engage an individual or company that engage in employment activities that are not licenced will also be fined up to a maximum of $5,000.00 per case.
Tricks that Non-licensed companies do to “bypass” the law
- They claim they are involved in only head hunting, hence no license is needed – Wrong, anyone involved in the process of assisting companies and candidates in the recruitment as a third party will need to be licensed. Regardless of what level they are doing.
- They use a foreign company to invoice the companies, if the operation is in Singapore it must still be licensed by MOM.
- They do not have a website and use free email such as Gmail, Yahoo or Hotmail
- They claim to have the license but never registered for it.
- They claim they are in the process of applying for the license – If they are in the process of applying, they are NOT allow to engage in the recruitment activities, hence if you are the HR and engage them as an agent, you will still be liable to be fined up to S$5,000 per case.
- They claim they never know about there is a need to do so, even though they can claim so, in Singapore ignorance is not an excuse and they will still be heavily punished. Hence even the company who engage that are also be liable to be fined up to S$5,000 per case.
- They said they just set up the company, well if they just set up the company and if you are the HR, please tell them to talk to you after they have managed to get a license.
Warning: The laws in Singapore for violation of MOM rules are very strict and offenders who breach the law will be fined or jailed in prison. Even the company that engage the agencies will also get implicated. Hence, if you are unsure, please check with MOM website at http://www.mom.gov.sg there will be officials available to assist you in most of the issues.