07/10/2012, 00.00
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Foreign workers face tighter rules in Singapore

New immigration rules come into effect on 1 September, affecting family reunification. Harsher penalties will be imposed for marriages contracted to obtain immigration privileges.

Singapore (AsiaNews/Agencies) - Stricter rules will apply to foreign workers in Singapore. The city-state has adopted a series of measures that modify existing immigration laws. The new rules will apply to family reunification. On his website, the prime minister indicated that he hoped the flow of foreigners seeking employment would be better managed. Their greater presence has generated public disquiet.

As of 1 September, foreign workers must earn at least S$ 4,000 (US$ 3,150) a month compared with the current S,800 to sponsor their spouses and children for their stay in Singapore. Foreign workers whose families are already in Singapore will not be affected by the changes.

Job competition between foreigners and locals is, with inflation, Singapore's main problem. Prime Minister and People's Action Party leader Lee Hsien Loong based his election campaign last year on the issue. However, none of his policies has worked so far, with the result that his party is down in the polls.

Under the proposed amendments, permanent residents who flout the city's laws or are involved in any activity that "threatens a breach of peace or is prejudicial to public order" will lose their permanent residency status or have their re-entry permit cancelled.

The new rules will make marriages of convenience to obtain immigration privileges an offence. The proposed penalty for sham marriages includes a maximum fine of S$ 10,000 (US$ 7,875) and a jail term of up to ten years.

Forging documents may be punishable with a fine of up to S$ 8,000 (US$ 6,300) and a maximum jail term of five years.

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