A Chinese engineer who allegedly spent nearly $10,000 to relocate to Singapore for a new job found himself and his family stuck in the country after his employer canceled his job offer at the last minute.
The 28-year-old man, only identified by the pseudonym Lingo, shared what happened to Singaporean media
outlet Lianhe Zaobao. Speaking to the publication, Lingo said e-commerce company Shopee rescinded his job offer right after he reached Changi Airport in Singapore on Aug. 25.
He said that he had spent around 14,000 Singapore dollars (approximately $9,970) to relocate and that he was supposed to start working as an algorithm engineer at Shopee on Aug. 29.
The man also shared his story on WeChat under the username “Lin Ge goes to Nanyang.”
“I landed with my wife and dog and was told my offer [from Shopee] was canceled while I was still at the airport,” he wrote.
Speaking to Mothership on Friday, Lingo said that he and his wife, who is staying in Singapore on a Dependent Pass, were staying at a hotel as they tried to look for jobs to mitigate the issue. He said the only thing they can do now is to focus on their future.
“We have decided that it is best for us to focus on what’s ahead and devote our efforts to preparing for job interviews,” he said.
Lingo told Lianhe Zaobao that he first received a job offer from Shopee in September 2021, but because of the COVID-19 pandemic, his starting date as an algorithm engineer was pushed to this year.
He started preparing to relocate to Singapore back in May by applying for an Employment Pass. After hearing rumors that Shopee was canceling job offers, Lingo allegedly contacted the company multiple times to inquire about his status, and they purportedly told him there was “no problem with the offer.”
Lingo even recounted receiving a welcome email from Shopee the day before his flight on Aug. 25, detailing the instructions for his first day at his new job.
“I have learned that until you start on your first day, nothing is guaranteed,” Lingo was quoted as saying.
“Going back to three days ago, I might not have believed it,” he wrote on his WeChat account. “This WeChat official account was created on May 17, 2022, to share my life in Singapore and algorithm technology. But it turns out my first article is about my unemployment, job hunting and how to negotiate compensation.”
In a statement to South China Morning Post (SCMP), Sea Limited – the Tencent Holdings-backed company that owns Shopee – confirmed it had canceled some job offers in its tech division.
“Due to adjustments to hiring plans on some tech teams, a number of roles at Shopee are no longer available. We are working closely to support those affected,” the statement read.
A source claiming to be close to the company who wished to remain anonymous also told SCMP that Shopee has offered compensation amounting to a month’s salary as well as travel expenses to those affected.
Sea Limited reported net losses amounting to $931.2 million in the second quarter of this year — about $497.5 million more than its reported loss from the same quarter last year at $433.7 million.
In addition to Lingo, other people have reported similar experiences with Shopee. Lingo told Lianhe Zabao that he had heard about an Indian man experienced a similar issue with the company. A user on Maimai, a China website similar to professional networking site LinkedIn, said they also had their offer canceled three days before starting their new job at Shopee. A Singaporean also shared a similar story on the social media and e-commerce platform Xiaohongshu.
Since Lingo’s job offer was canceled before he could start working for Shopee, Singapore’s Ministry of Manpower (MOM) and the Tripartite Alliance for Fair and Progressive Employment Practices (TAFEP) explained that Singapore’s Employment Act does not apply to cases such as Lingo’s.