Singapore has a tremendous reputation as a destination for expats, largely due to the high standard of living and the job opportunities available in sectors such as IT, marketing and even the oil industry. There’s plenty of jobs available for expatriate workers, with the HSBC Expat Explorer report ranking it 1st in the ‘Satisfied with the host economy’ category and 2nd overall as an expat destination.
As with any move abroad, there are plenty of details to take care of before you start packing your bags. While Expat Healthcare Infographic covers off most of the basics you’ll need to arrange before you go, there are a few unique aspects of moving to Singapore you’ll need to be aware of.
1. Finding Your Feet
English is an official language of Singapore, and you should find that the majority of people will speak English with varying degrees of fluency. It’s a highly multicultural city with expats from all around the world, and while it’s exciting to see so many different cultures coming together in one place it can be easy to feel a little isolated and homesick. Fortunately, the large expat community is fairly sociable, and there are numerous forums and Facebook groups which help newcomers to the area to connect.
When it comes to choosing somewhere to live, you won’t be short of options. New high rise buildings are being built regularly to accommodate the increasing population of the area, but unfortunately, space is at a premium so rent costs can be fairly high in the more populous areas.
Singapore is also one of the safest places in the world to live and has an extremely low crime rate, so exploring your new surroundings shouldn’t be too intimidating. Just be careful around the roads as pedestrians do not have the right of way, so aim to use designated crossings where possible.
2. Getting Set Up For Work
If you’re planning to work in Singapore you will need to make the appropriate Visa arrangements and apply for an Employment Pass ahead of time. In order to be awarded the pass you’ll need to present relevant qualifications in the field you’ll be working and have a job arranged which will earn you at least SD3,000 per month.
There are various different passes available based on factors such as salary levels, qualifications and for those who intend to set up their own business. You can find out more details about which pass you’ll need on the Ministry of Manpower website.
3. Schools and Hospitals
The standard of education in Singapore is fairly high, and both public and private schools are available to expats. Both are relatively inexpensive, though as you might expect you will pay more for access to private education. There are also various private international schools if you’re looking for your child to follow the curriculum from your home country.
In terms of what they’ll be taught, learning a new language is compulsory for all students. Once they reach the secondary level they will also be required to take on a co-curricular activity alongside their main areas of study.
Access to healthcare is excellent in Singapore, with a range of public and private hospitals as well as plenty of local clinics. It’s important to check with your insurance agency which facilities and treatments are covered by your policy, as payment is typically demanded on the spot if they don’t accept up front bill payment from your insurance company.
Singapore is a fantastic destination for expatriates, and if you’re considering a move there, there’s plenty to be excited about. It’s a vibrant, prosperous area with plenty to offer new residents including ample employment opportunities, quality schools and hospitals and an excellent quality of life. It’s easy to see why it’s been rated so highly in various expat surveys, and the trend looks set to continue for the foreseeable future.