Offering an introduction to other cultures in a modern environment with Western influences; the island is a popular destination in Asia for first-time expats from all over the world. The island is South East Asia's hub of economic activity and by some estimates, there are over 600,000 expats working in the city.
Though the many rules and regulations that shape life in Singapore can cause a culture shock for new arrivals, they function to keep life in Singapore safe for all and contribute to its success as an expat destination. A city that doesn’t allow chewing gum in public may seem authoritarian, but Singapore's citizens know that such restrictions make the city-state a better place to live - especially the ban on spitting.
If you're planning a move or want to learn more about expat life in Singapore, scroll down to read our guide to getting a job, the cost of living and raising a family in Singapore plus information on Singapore's healthcare for expats.
Most foreigners working in Singapore are transferred there by their company. If you want to live in Singapore and your company has offices there, speak to your boss about an international transfer.
Recruitment agencies make it easier to find a job in Singapore. Expats are most likely to work in finance or banking, where there is still a demand for qualified talent because many international corporations have headquarters or regional bases in the city. It has the fourth largest foreign exchange trading center in the world!
It’s worth remembering that there is a strong education system in Singapore so you will be competing for job positions with Singaporeans, and employers are generally more likely to employ a local person to avoid the costs associated with sponsoring a worker from elsewhere. It is therefore not recommended to arrive in Singapore without a job lined up, especially taking into account the high cost of living. You also need an Employment Pass, and your employer must start the application process.
Business professionals can enjoy speaking English in the workplace thanks to Singapore’s position as an international leader in enterprise.
Singapore's position on the southern tip of Malaysia has allowed it to develop into one of the most important trade and finance centers in Asia and today it is the fifth wealthiest country in the world according to GDP. Most expats benefit from higher disposable income and low taxes.
However, a strong economy means that living costs in Singapore are some of the highest in the world. It’s important to take this into account when evaluating your relocation package.
Companies in Singapore now reserve comprehensive benefits packages for senior positions, and are looking for expat talent who are willing to accept a lucrative salary without transportation, housing and education or healthcare allowances. You should budget for all of these costs.
Property prices are particularly staggering, which is important to remember if your company don’t cover accommodation costs.
You can expect to pay SGD $13 for lunch in the business district, SGD $4,691 Monthly rent for 85 m2 (900 Sqft) furnished accommodation in a sophisticated area, and SGD $7 for a cappuccino in an expat area of Singapore.
Singapore lies almost on the equator and therefore enjoys a tropical climate with no harsh seasons. Temperatures usually range from 22 °C-34 °C (72°-93 °F) and humidity often reaches 100%. Singapore’s hottest months are June and July, while its monsoon season is in November and December.
Like most countries, giving birth in Singapore can be an expensive experience if you don’t have a compliant insurance plan suitable for Singapore which includes cover for pregnancy and childbirth.
Did you know it's almost impossible to purchase maternity cover after you fall pregnant, and most plans have a time delay? Read our guide to giving birth abroad.
Choosing to raise a family in Singapore means your children benefit from a high quality of education and exposure to a multicultural environment in a city where things are done efficiently.
For professional expat parents, low price of home help and secure neighbourhoods means that bringing up children here is often easier than it would be in your home country. In fact, Singapore came 5th for bringing up kids in HSBC’s survey.
Children will generally be taught in English in Singapore schools but will also be expected to learn Mandarin, which is beneficial for their future careers.
Read our guide to choosing an international school.
It’s common knowledge that Singapore’s healthcare facilities are second to none. Singapore’s health care system comprises of a number of private and government hospitals, several specialist clinics and a large number of general practices. Insurance is essential for expats in Singapore: the city has no subsidised schemes for foreigners.
If your employer provides you with a health plan, you should check the extent of that cover. Individual workers should purchase their own insurance, and Medibroker can guide you to a plan that meets your specific needs.
An international plan is always better than a local plan because it offers you peace of mind even when you travel outside of Singapore – yes, it goes wherever you do and it allows you to choose where you receive treatment.
Factors to consider when choosing a health plan for your time in Singapore include whether you will need family cover, dental insurance, and cover for any pre-existing conditions. Our experts can help you with all of this, and our advice is completely free and impartial.
Finding the right Singapore healthcare can be tricky. So let our experts do all the work!
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