Singapore has been a major trading hub in the Asia-Pacific region for centuries and continues to attract ambitious professionals from all over the world. Singapore is indeed full of opportunities for those who have skills that are in high demand in the country. It’s a place that requires quite a bit of adaptation, however, as Singapore is unlike any other place in the world. Let’s take a look at what living and working in Singapore is like and some of the things you’ll have to prepare for.
If you’re coming in as an ex-pat and your goal is to work, then you will need to get an Employment Pass before entering the country. Note that you are not the one who will need to apply – your employer or employment agent will handle this for you. Not everyone can get this pass and you will need to meet several requirements. One of them is that you need to have at least a revenue of SGD 4,500 per month, which is about $3,309 USD/£2,417.
You can also bring your spouse and your family on a Dependents Pass, but you’ll need to earn at least SGD 6,000 per month to be eligible. If you and your partner are not married, you will need to apply for a Long-Term Visit Pass instead. The same goes for stepchildren.
Lodging and Real Estate
Now let’s take about lodging and buying/renting real estate in Singapore. First of all, you have to understand that the country has very limited space and it allows its citizens to have ready access to property. This is why there are limits on the type of real estate that you can buy in the country.
If you’re a permanent resident, however, or have a Singaporean spouse, things change. You could get access to HDB lots, which is Singapore’s public housing. Some of the best deals are on the BTO market. BTO units are units that will only be built once a certain reservation quota has been met. These allow you to benefit from a fresh lease instead of what would be left on a pre-owned HBD unit
To get a look at what the HDB BTO market looks like right now, check out Property Guru. They run down some of the biggest BTO projects with background information on every location. You’ll get a clearer idea of what kind of infrastructure projects are being initiated nearby, for instance, along with some information on the amenities and entertainment/shopping options in these areas.
If your goal is to rent, there are plenty of options available. The best option would be to go for a serviced apartment. Those are fully furnished, usually located in prime areas, and you’ll get all the comforts of home with extra service.
There is lots of real estate available to foreigners, including condos and private apartments you could check out. There are also no limits on the number of properties you can own, so this could be a great option if you want to earn some rental revenue.
Getting Around in Singapore
If you want to get around the city, you might want to think twice about owning a car. Unless you make a lot of money, you might not be able to afford it. The price of vehicles in the country is very high because of the taxes and duties the government puts on imports, so it would be wiser to consider public transit options instead.
The good news is that Singapore has one of the best public transit systems in the world and you’ll have no trouble getting from A to B. You can take the bus, train, or taxis. Taxis are reliable and surprisingly affordable, so they could be an option if you’re in a pinch and need to get somewhere fast. There’s no Uber in the country, but there are tons of other ride-hailing services that you can use. Some of them include GrabCar, Gojek, and Tada Mobility.
One thing you’ll be glad to hear is that English is the official language in the country. Singapore also has one of the best public school systems on the planet and it’s accessible to foreigners.
However, many schools in the country are oversubscribed with long waiting lists. So, you might have to choose your location based on where spaces are available. You can also consider looking at other options like private international schools.
International schools are the best option if you want your children to continue their education seamlessly. Getting into those is also a bit easier if your children meet the requirements. So, instead of counting on public schools, it would be wise to look at all the options at your disposal.
Singapore is a beautiful country full of opportunities and a great place to relocate as an ex-pat. If you still have questions, you should speak with some of the people who’ve decided to make the move and ask them about their experiences.