Singapore is often considered the best country to relocate to due to its quality of life, efficiency of services, safety, salary levels and professional opportunities. Many people want to move to Singapore, and it is no coincidence that over 50% of the tertiary sector workforce in Singapore are foreigners.
Singapore is a city-state on the border with Malaysia, consisting of an archipelago of 63 islands, the largest of which is Singapore Island, home to the capital of the same name, one of the most cosmopolitan cities in the world.
The territory is slightly smaller than Hong Kong and the population is 6 million. This makes Singapore the country with the second largest population density in the world after the Principality of Monaco. There are four official languages: Malay, English, Chinese and Tamil.
English is the official language in public administration and is also very popular among the population. The population is mainly composed of Chinese (75%), Malaysians (14%) and Indians (9%). Over 40% of the population (2 million people) are foreigners.
Move to Singapore, visas
For stays of up to 90 days for tourism or business purposes, citizens of many countries do not require a visa to enter Singapore. A valid passport is required for entry (with at least six months remaining validity on the date of return). You can check the Singapore government agency website to see if you need an entry visa.
You are not allowed to enter Singapore as a tourist to seek work, although many do. A tourist visa cannot be converted directly into a work visa in Singapore. If you find a job, you must leave the country and go to a Singapore consulate abroad, complete all the paperwork, obtain a work visa, and re-enter.
There are different types of visas, the main ones are:
1.Employment Pass, (highly skilled labor), this residence and work permit allows foreign professionals and executives to work in Singapore. It can be renewed for 2 years. Workers must earn at least $4,500 per month.
2.S Pass, (mid skilled workers), this work permit allows mid level skilled workers and technicians to work in Singapore. They must have qualifications and work experience. Workers must earn at least $2,500 per month. Employers must pay monthly taxes for hiring these workers.
3.EntrePass: The EntrePass allows foreign entrepreneurs to start and run a business.
4.Student Pass: Those wishing to study in Singapore must apply for a student visa. Application forms must be submitted to the university/school. In Singapore, classes are held in English.
Permanent Residence in Singapore
Foreign citizens who intend to live permanently in Singapore may apply for permanent residency. In recent years, significant restrictions have been placed on the issuance of the permanent residence permit, the issuance of which is at the full discretion of the competent authority.
The permanent residence permit allows access to social benefits, reduced school fees and social housing. It should be noted, however, that both the holder and his sons are required to perform military service.
It is very difficult to obtain a permanent residence permit, and the government tries every means not to grant it. Official statistics show that the average length of stay of foreign workers in Singapore is less than four years. The government tends to select people who do not want to move to Singapore permanently, and in any case does nothing to encourage them to stay.
There are very few foreign workers under thirty or over sixty in Singapore. There is a tendency to encourage the entry of workers in their thirties/forties with work experience and young children to migrate when the children reach school age. Everything is designed to discourage people from settling permanently. Since it is a crowded city-state, this is understandable.
All information about the different types of visas and permits can be found on the website of the Ministry of Labour
Moving to Singapore, usefull resources
- Moving to Singapore, a little guide
- Relocation to Singapore, guide to moving to Singapore
- Singapore Relocation Guide, a pocket guide
Move to Singapore, finding accommodation
As a foreign worker, it is often the employer who finds accommodation. If not, you can search yourself or hire a local real estate agency. Apartments may be vacant or already furnished. The supply of apartments is great, but rents are also very high. Over 80% of the resident population lives in public housing (HDB), but these are not available to foreigners without permanent residency.
If you hire an agency, you do not have to pay brokerage fees if the landlord takes care of them. Otherwise, you will have to pay the agency fees (which are equal to half of a month’s rent, depending on the length of the contract).
The amount of the deposit to be paid usually depends on the term of the contract (for a one-year contract it is equal to one month’s rent, for a two-year contract it is equal to two months’ rent). Rental prices vary by region, but are very high. A single room costs about $1,000 per month without a bathroom and $1,500 per month with a bathroom. Apartments start at $2,000 / $3,000 per month.
However, you can get an idea of the cost by taking a look at the real estate sites listed below:
- Roomgo, shared flats
- Propertyguru, most popular rental website
- 99.co, rental website
- Iproperty, rental website and list of real estate agencies
- Cove, popular website
- Rent in Singapore, rental website
- Hmlet, real estate agent
- SRX, real estate agencies
Code of conduct in Singapore
In Singapore, the applicable law on public order is much stricter than in Western countries. Violations are systematically prosecuted and punished with fines, imprisonment and/or corporal punishment.
The most common prohibitions are:
- littering in the streets
- importing and selling chewing gum
- smoking in all public places, both indoors and outdoors
- indecent or immoral behavior (violation of shame), e.g. physical contact between a man and a woman
- consuming food and drink on public transportation
- feeding pigeons
- crossing the street outside the crosswalk
- walking around naked in one’s own home
Move to Singapore, conclusion
We can say that Singapore is comparable to Switzerland in Europe, its economic-financial situation has nothing to do with neighboring countries.
- the laws are applied very strictly
- it is impossible to live and work in Singapore without a valid visa; those who work without a work visa break the laws and have to face the consequences
- without a valid long-term visa, it is impossible to open a bank account (with some exceptions), sign a contract and rent an apartment
- rental costs are comparable to those in London, Hong Kong, Tokyo or Zurich. This is one of the most expensive cities in the world in terms of the real estate market. With 1,000 dollars you can find a room in a small apartment in a suburb
- if you get a job offer, do not be afraid to ask for partial reimbursement in addition to your salary
Last but not least, Singapore has one of the best healthcare systems in the world, but treatments are expensive and must be paid for immediately. Employers are not required to offer health insurance to their employees. Those who are not insured through the company must provide it themselves.