Taking a tough stand against forged degree certificates submitted by foreigners in applications for employment, permanent resident status and citizenships, Singapore has said those found lying would be "dealt with firmly".
Two ministers of the city state have warned applicants lying about their educational qualification would be "dealt with firmly", The Straits Times reported Tuesday.
Manpower minister Lim Swee Say told parliament that to detect forged qualifications, his ministry is conducting internal database checks as well as external checks through third-party screening agencies and direct verifications with the issuing institutions.
Meanwhile, second minister for home affairs and foreign affairs Masagos Zulkifli said citizenships and permanent residency status would be revoked in cases of fake degrees being submitted to support earlier applications.
Those found to have submitted forged documents or lied to obtain employment passes would be banned from working in Singapore and would face a fine up to SGD 20,000 ($14941) or jail term of up to two years, according to media reports.
This comes after claims of new citizens and permanent residents obtaining fake degrees circulated on forums, social media and alternative news sites last month.
Lim has also stressed that employers have a primary responsibility to ensure the authenticity and quality of academic qualifications of the foreigners they wish to hire.
He said his ministry completely disregards qualifications obtained from unaccredited institutions, also known as 'degree mills'.
Applicants with such degrees "will have to meet more stringent criteria in terms of experience and salary" to qualify for work passes in Singapore.
However, both the ministers stressed that academic qualifications are not "sole determining factors" in granting citizenship, permanent resident status, or work passes.
An estimated 40% of Singapore's 5.4 million population are foreigners.