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What You Need To Know If You’re Moving To Singapore For Work

Singapore skyline at sunset

A social melting pot that combines a stunning food culture with life at the razor’s edge of technological innovation, it’s little surprise that Singapore is a favourite destination for many that look to work abroad.

There’s plenty to like about the city-state that sits off the southern coast of Malaysia and has a population of over 5.5 million within its small borders.

Financial services, technology and infrastructure are among the industries that typically attract workers to Singapore.

No matter what it is that is tempting you to make the move, here are some things you ought to consider before taking the plunge. 

Relatively high cost of living

Singapore is regularly ranked among the most expensive places to live on the planet and you should factor in how your living circumstances could change before moving.

Mitigating this somewhat is the higher average salaries that workers in the country typically enjoy. Tax rates are also lower than you would expect to pay in the UK.

However, that is also balanced out by the need for expats to pay for healthcare while living in Singapore, as foreign nationals are not eligible for many of the state-funded subsidies that Singaporeans enjoy.

Visas and passes

As is the case with many cases of deciding to move to a new country for work, you must secure the necessary documentation before starting your new life.

An Employment Pass is necessary in order to set up a home in Singapore, and this also comes with certain restrictions on your salary.

The same is true for a Dependents Pass if you are wishing to bring your spouse and children with you. In order to do this, you will need to be paid more, so it is vital that you research this and confirm the details with your prospective employer before signing a contract.

Companies based in Singapore can typically help you secure these visas before offering you a job.

Accommodation is in high demand

Singapore ranks among the most densely populated countries in the world, with only the microstates of Monaco and Macau seeing more people packed in per square kilometre.

That naturally makes the demand for accommodation extremely high and if you are unable to plan ahead and secure your long-term living space before moving you may need to adopt a new plan.

Serviced apartments are a smart way to adapt to life in Singapore while you search for a permanent base, with many of the stresses of housework taken care of for you.

Etiquette and cultural norms

  • Language: Native English speakers should have little trouble communicating with locals as it is recognised as one of the country’s official languages and is used in schools as the taught language.
  • Customs: Pointing with a finger may be construed as rude, while handing something to somebody using just one hand may also be seen the same way. Be sure to hand things like business cards and with two hands if you want to impress local clientele.
  • Religion: Buddhism is the most practised religion in Singapore but Christianity, Islam, Taoism and Hinduism are also widespread. Checking any religious requirements of people you don’t know is a wise idea to avoid causing offence.
About author

Poppy loves personal finance almost as much as she loves her two cats, Tif and Taz.
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