Recently, a friend from Bangalore messaged me on Facebook and asked me for some help. Her family friend, who was not very educated, had paid a lot of money to an agent in Bangalore to get work in Singapore. He had his work permit issued, and was told to leave for Singapore as soon as possible. There was a gap of a week: he had to leave immediately, they told him. She found this a little dubious, and asked me to help verify if the work permit was real, if he was being taken for a ride.
As we suspected, the entire thing was a scam. He did not leave for Singapore, and narrowly avoided what I can only imagine was a low paying, illegal job for a shady employer. I doubt he will ever get his money back, but I still think that is a better fate than coming here without even fewer rights than a legit foreign worker.
In the process, I learned a bit about how one can verify the authenticity of a work permit. I hope this can be translated into different languages, especially in Indian languages. Feel free to post this in as many places as you like. As long as it helps somebody.
How to Verify Authenticity of Work Permit
- Visit the Ministry of Manpower’s Work Permit for Foreign Workers page
- Scroll down to: Work Permit Validity Check Via Work Permit Online. Click it. Note: This service is only available Monday to Saturdays from 8am to 10pm, and unavailable at other times and on Sundays and public holidays.
If it’s within the time frame that the WPOL service is online, this is the screen you will see: a lot of legalese. Click Agree.
In the main WPOL screen (which looks like this), click the third item on the left which says “Work Permit Validity/Application Status”.
You’ll be prompted to enter your details. If you are a foreigner or currently not residing in Singapore, check Passport and enter your passport number.
You’ll see many boxes. Go to Option 3 and key in: “Worker’s Work Permit” and “Date of Application of Work Permit”. Both details will be on your IPA letter.
If it is an invalid or forged work permit, you’ll see: Error.
Follow up by calling the Ministry of Manpower at +65 64385122 during working hours in Singapore.
Hope this helps someone.