The popular expat destination of Singapore is an attractive option for those looking to get away for a number of reasons. The tiny country allows for a tropical experience but is also known for a love of tech and cleanliness which allows for a cutting-edge and well-developed society. It is considered one of the easier cities in Asia for expats to fit in since its citizens often speak English as what they call “business language”. It offers a safe and modern environment with the culture and climate of an Asian country, making it appealing to those looking to raise a family.
However, moving to Singapore takes some forethought, and there are some things you should consider before you go looking up working visas. Singapore’s safe and clean environment comes from strict government laws. You will have to impress and adapt to live in Singapore. Read on for details on what to expect before you move to Singapore.
Don’t expect to reach Singapore on a travelling visa and find a job once you’re in the country. It is generally advised that you get a job in the country before you move. Since Singaporeans themselves are well-educated so competition is fierce, but those who are highly educated or have strong work experience have a good shot and are welcomed.
A significant portion of jobs available are in banking and finance, so expect to network a lot. Jobs are generally found through who you know as opposed to job advertisements. There are also opportunities in shipping, information technology and electric industries, which all seem to be going upwards despite global economic issues.
However, a spouse looking to work will need their own employment pass and cannot piggyback off of yours.
Singapore is a tale of two cities, with skyscraper buildings creating a beautiful skyline but also an abundance of ornate houses dripping with Asian architectural style. The main perk of apartment living is the fact that they are serviced, with the fee covered by your rent, but also the fact that the buildings come fitted out with facilities like pools, gyms, and barbeque areas so that you can really get the most out of your tropical experience. You can look for service apartments in Singapore here.
It is also recommended that you have a temporary lease in an apartment before you move, since property prices can be quite steep in Singapore. Singapore’s Housing and Development Board can offer you short-term housing, which will allow you to explore the island and browse homes while you work.
Singapore has a climate that is as tropical as it gets, since it lies one degree north of the equator. When packing for Singapore, you should pack for heat and humidity. Forget the jeans and scarves. Pastel colors, flip flops, shorts, and light materials are a must-have – as well as a sturdy umbrella. There may be heat but there is also the monsoon season to think about.
Temperatures are consistently over 86 degrees Fahrenheit and there is a high level of humidity, which increases with rainfall as the seasons change, making the country feel like one giant sauna. In the monsoon seasons from November to December, the rainfall can often reach 100%.
But don’t panic about heatstroke. Air conditioning is a staple in any indoor establishment. However, a 10-minute walk will have you sweating in your business suit, so be prepared for a sticky existence. However, the plus side is that in turn, the country is always full of sunshine, making weekend excursions a joy.
The cost of living
The cost of living, unfortunately, isn’t as low as backpackers would hope, especially compared to their nearest neighbor, Malaysia. Singapore’s clean and digital friendly environment comes at a price. Unlike Malaysia, which shares in a number of cultural elements but has an overall slower pace of life and therefore a lower cost of living, Singapore often lands itself on lists of the most expensive cities to live. Alcohol is often taxed at a high rate but is balanced out by a reasonable food and groceries rate making eating out quite cheap.
However, buying a car is an expensive endeavor, with new hatchback models reaching prices many times more than what would be expected in Europe. Plus, once you have a car, you have to gain a Certificate of Entitlement from the government, which can cost almost as much as the car.
The country makes up for this by investing heavily in a vast and sprawling public transport system, where a delay as little as 20 minutes can make national news.
If you’re thinking about relocating to Singapore, there is a lot to gain. A new lifestyle, a new cultural experience, the natural beauty surrounding the city, and the sun. But there is also a lot to think about. Moving to Singapore will take more forethought than other adventures abroad. But the lifestyle and easy transition into Singapore life does make any planning worth it.