UK media freelancer based in S'pore fined S$6,500 for working without valid work pass

He had also written articles for Yahoo Singapore.

Sulaiman Daud | May 18, 2022, 03:07 PM

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A 36-year-old UK citizen, identified by The Straits Times as Stuart Calum Arthur Alistair and by CNA as Calum Arthur Alistair Stuart, was fined S$6,500 for performing freelance work between Nov. 2015 and July 2016 without a valid work pass.

ST reported that Stuart, who is the husband of local journalist and activist Kirsten Han, pleaded guilty to one charge under the Employment of Foreign Manpower Act.

A second charge involving Stuart working as a freelance writer for Yahoo Singapore's news website between June and August 2015 without a valid work pass was also taken into consideration for sentencing.

At the time, Stuart was a long-term visit pass holder. This meant that he could only work in Singapore if he had a work pass or a letter of consent issued by the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) under MOM rules.

Thomson Reuters / Refinitiv Asia

In Aug. 2015, Stuart was offered an assistant producer's role with news agency Thomson Reuters, now known as Refinitiv Asia. He agreed but did not sign the employment contract.

Refinitiv then applied for an employment pass for Stuart, but the application was rejected in Sep. 2015.

Next, it applied for a letter of consent for Stuart to work for them in Nov. 2015, which was also rejected a month later.

While waiting for the letter of consent, Refinitiv offered freelance work to Stuart for S$4,500 a month, which he accepted despite knowing that he could not engage in any profession without a valid work pass, CNA reported.

Refinitiv was fined S$5,500 for employing Stuart despite knowing he did not have a valid work pass.

Yahoo Singapore

Another man, media professional Muhammad Firdianshah Salimat, was fined S$4,000 for his role in abetting Stuart.

Firdianshah is the founding partner of online site Popspoken, according to Today.

In May 2015, Firdianshah had an agreement with Yahoo Asia Pacific to provide three to five original pieces of writing every weekday on news and current events.

Firdianshah became acquainted with Stuart through Han and offered him a job as a freelance writer.

Both men worked out a deal where Stuart would provide Firdianshah with three to five original pieces every weekday.

Firdianshah would vet Stuart's articles and submit them to Yahoo for consideration. Yahoo would pay Firdianshah S$150 for every article.

Firdianshah would pay Stuart S$100 for every published piece and would take the other S$50.

Stuart wrote seven articles that were published on Yahoo between June and August 2015.

For each count of working in Singapore without a work pass, Stuart could have been fined up to S$20,000 and jailed for up to two years, according to ST.

Top image by Mothership.

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