Employer refused me to join after receiving EP

Hello Experts,

I am stuck in some weird situation and trying to understand my rights.

I am already working in Singapore for almost 1 year and I secured a new job a few months back for one Small IT consultancy where I was supposed to be deputed at client site (one of the recognized MNC). Initially, the consultancy pressurized me to join the site in 20 days or max 30 days whereas my official notice period was of 60 days and I even I told them I will try my best to negotiate with my existing company,

After a long wait, I received my EP and they told me that if you can join in one month then only the client is interested to accept you else we will cancel the visa.

I fought with my management and managed to reduce the notice period but two weeks before the joining date they told me that the client can not onboard you due to unknown reason and we are giving you a one month notice period from now (even before joining how they can give me a notice period?).

I somehow sustained my current job but I went through a very bad phase and got very much disturbed.  My efforts for giving an interview and waiting for EP got wasted and I also disturbed my relation with the existing company. Now the consultancy is even denying me to pay compensation for the notice period by saying you have not joined our company officially and hence you are not eligible to get one single penny.

Can anyone please suggest whether MOM can help me in this matter or any other suitable action can be taken?

If you think the consultancy is legally right on their side then I will not put effort and continue with my job but if there are some chances to get compensation then I would definitely fight.

Thanks in advance for your valuable feedback.

We don’t know exactly what happened between the consultant and the client which is why client no longer to hire you. Either the project which they suppose to hire was scrapped or there was an issue hiring you.

Nevertheless, your case is something others should learn from it.
- Not sure what was communication between Consultant and the client. Was it clearly informed that you need to serve 2 months notice period before you could able to join. I have doubt on it
- Consultants are most of the time do unethical things and don’t follow the normal rules which applies between an employer and employee because their offer letter is always in their favour.
- You should thankful to your current employer that after this event, they still didn’t cancel your work pass. But, yes they may not trust your employment in Long run as they will think that in future you may jump the ship any time.
- You are here for one year only but you want to change your job which doesn’t give your profile a positive case, unless there was an issue with your existing employer.
- Try to stay at least 2yrs before you try to switch over.
- As you have never joined so technically the consultant won’t pay, unless it has written in offer letter - I doubt.
- Cancelling your work pass, the consultant would tell the MoM some reason (May be true or fake one) on why are they cancelling your pass. Reason could be anything like project plan stalled or client postponed hiring due to present market conditions etc.

In these cases, it’s very hard for you to fight. But, if you want then you can write the entire details to MoM with offer letter and other communications mail. Let MoM knows there are many unethical companies are here who are playing with employee’s career.

Good luck.

Thank you, Surya for your detailed reply.

The calculation for joining the client site was as below -

All the documents provided immediate next day after receiving the offer (around last week of Oct 19); Expected to get visa approval in one month and then after two months means somewhere at the end of Jan 20 I was supposed to join. 10 Days of buffer approval was already taken.
The consultant delayed the process of submission as well as in responding to MOM. Got approval in Jan 1st week( in 4-5 weeks) and I  resigned immediately. I was supposed to join in Feb 1st week. All of a sudden received a call from the consultant with this news.
The client was completely aware and knowing the fact that the candidate is taking extra efforts for joining the project on time.
I don't know who is in the fault but not me for sure.
I want to move on but still think to take some effort to update this to MOM but afraid if this would adversely impact my future EP application.

Thanks

It’s Upto MoM to understand the honest part from your end. I too understand your point of view as we never know whether these consultants or client can influence in this matter.

MoM won't help you here, as an employer has the right to cancel an EP at any time. Even if you complain to MoM and they follow your way of reasoning, they will not make you employed again - they'd just put a black mark on the e mployer's profile, which might make it more difficult for them to hire foreigners in future.
However, depending on what is written in your employment contract, you might be able to claim damages from the employer. The questions are:
- Is termination before your first day of work allowed by the employment contract?
- Is the notice period for termination one month?
To my understanding, if both questions are answered with "Yes", you may be entitled to the salary for the portion of the notice period which you would have otherwise worked. If the first question is answered "No", you might even get a full month salary.
But you'll have to engage a lawyer and fight a court case, which might cost you more money (and nerves!) than you get in the end.

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