Immigration to Singapore | All you need to know about immigration and work in Singapore

Singapore is an attractive destination for immigrants from around the world with a strong currency and high standards of living, including in education, wages, and security. Since the founding of modern Singapore in the early 19th century, it has relied on immigration as a major factor of population growth due to its strategic location.

During the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, Singapore developed into a thriving and large commercial center as immigrants, merchants, and businessmen from all over Asia were attracted to its free trade policy. For a long time after its founding, the majority of Singapore’s population were immigrants, and these immigrants also made up the bulk of the current Singapore population.

If you are interested in immigrating to Singapore, today’s article will definitely be useful to you, because we will put in your hands a comprehensive guide to working and living in Singapore.

Useful and practical information about Singapore

Traveling or migrating to Singapore can be an exciting and unsettling experience at the same time, as there are many laws, customs and traditions that must be memorized and followed meticulously to avoid getting in trouble. If you intend to immigrate to or even visit Singapore to spend some time, here are some useful information that you should know before making your way there.

1- The official language in Singapore

Singapore has 4 official languages: Malay, English, Mandarin and Tamil. Most Singaporeans can speak English well, but their English is heavily influenced by Chinese so their dialect is sometimes called ‘Singlish’!

Singaporeans don’t like to be treated like they don’t speak English, so the worst thing you could do is go to a local and assume they can’t speak English.

Despite the cultural diversity of Singaporeans, English is always taught in schools as the primary language, followed by the student’s mother tongue, which is likely to be either Malay, Mandarin or Tamil. 

2- There is an accurate taxi fare system in Singapore

Taxi drivers in Asia have a bad reputation for inflating prices for tourists, but this practice is considered almost impossible in Singapore, where taxi fares are regulated fairly and distances are calculated through the counter. In fact, with the introduction of cheaper services like Grab and Uber in Singapore, getting around Singapore using taxis is no longer a problem, so foreigners or tourists are not subjected to any kind of scam or price hike.

3- There are strong Wi-Fi networks almost everywhere

If the constant use of the Internet is essential and important to you, then this information will interest you a lot. Most of the cafes and restaurants in Singapore offer free Wi-Fi.

Not only that, public places such as libraries and shopping malls are supported by the “[email protected]” network which is a free internet connection for anyone, including tourists and foreigners. All you have to do is enter your mobile phone number as a one-time password (OTP) and you are ready to use the free internet.

4- Watch out for priority seats on buses and trains

All trains and buses in Singapore have reserved seats reserved for pregnant women, the elderly and people with special needs. These seats are located mostly at the corners of a row of seats (because they are closer to the exit) and the front of the bus. Avoid sitting in these seats even if they are the only vacant seats on the bus, otherwise you will not receive a nice reaction as a reward for this behavior!

It is also worth noting that Singaporeans are so friendly and gentle that passengers are encouraged to give up their seats for whoever needs them most.

5- You will never go hungry in Singapore!

Singaporeans are known to be passionate about food. That’s why you can find countless restaurants in Singapore that stay open all day and night for food preparation and home delivery. In addition to being delicious, food in Singapore is very inexpensive, so there is no difference between the food of the rich and the poor in Singapore.

6- Smoking is only allowed in designated areas

Smoking in Singapore is not illegal, but there are strict laws and regulations that apply. For example, you cannot smoke indoors, at public bus stops, or even under sheltered driveways. There are designated smoking points in most areas, and smoking is not permitted in others. So what happens if you get caught smoking in non-designated areas?

You could be fined up to $1,000 if found guilty in court!

7- The weather in Singapore

Singapore is located near the equator and enjoys a typical tropical climate, with heavy rainfall, high and uniform temperatures and high humidity all year round. Many climate variables, such as temperature and relative humidity, do not show much variation from month to month. However, many variants show significant diurnal (or daily) hour-to-hour variations.

The pros and cons of immigrating to Singapore

Traveling abroad is a difficult process, as there are many pros and cons to living in any country. Therefore, you should know well the advantages and disadvantages of the country you wish to travel to before making this life-changing decision. Here are some of the pros and cons of living in Singapore that you should know well before making your final decision to immigrate to it:

First: the pros of living in Singapore

1- Feeling safe

Security and safety are two of the most comfortable aspects of life in Singapore. Singapore was recently ranked second in the EIU’s 2017 Safer Countries Index, just behind Tokyo. This means that you can leave your phone or wallet at the restaurant or café without worrying about getting robbed, or even forgetting your belongings in taxis with the guarantee that they will come back to you again.

2- Hygiene

The streets and public places in Singapore are clean and organised. Singaporean law prohibits throwing any garbage on the streets and eating and drinking on public transport is prohibited, so you find that the Singapore MRT is superior to that of London, New York or any country in the world. In general, Singaporeans greatly value discipline and respect the law, so the streets are kept clean and well maintained. So if you go there, just make sure you respect their laws equally and dispose of your trash properly.

3- Diversity of travel destinations

One of the best advantages of being in Singapore is the ease of access to a very large number of stunning and amazing tourist travel destinations, and all of these destinations are close to each other. If you love trips and visit tourist places, you will have many places to visit throughout the year in Singapore.

4- Public transport

Singapore’s train service is known locally as MRT or LRT (depending on the line), and this is one of the most efficient transportation services in the world, operating on punctuality and providing the most comfortable experience for passengers, in all respects. All you have to do is get an Ezlink card yourself from any train station and use it to navigate around the country with ease.

5- Outstanding Singaporean Cuisine

Cooking is one of the common hobbies of Singaporeans, so make sure you have a good appetite when you immigrate to Singapore!

 Singaporean cuisine consists of exquisite dishes and flavors influenced by Malaysian, Chinese, Indonesian, Vietnamese, Thai and Indian. Singaporean food is also affordable, allowing you to enjoy all kinds of Singaporean food without any budget worries.

6- Low taxes

Singapore is characterized by low tax value, which makes it an attractive country and a safe haven for investors, where the government tax does not exceed 20% on personal income in the highest tax bracket, and the state does not impose capital gains taxes.

This type of tax policy makes it a gateway for companies hoping to expand into emerging Asian economies, ultimately making Singapore a global center for international investment and trade.

Cons of living in Singapore

On the other hand, there are some negatives and inconvenient aspects – if it is true – that you will face when living in Singapore, including the following:

1- It is too hot to do any outdoor activities

Due to its tropical climate, it is difficult to enjoy outdoor activities without suffering from the high temperature in Singapore. While it is still possible to hike in the afternoon, you should avoid going out as much as possible in the middle of the day due to the high temperatures. 

The best time to go out is after sunset and the temperature has cooled down a bit, when you can practice many different night activities.

2- Difficulty balancing life and work

In a study of 40 countries, Singapore was ranked among the lowest 10 countries in terms of work-life balance and ranked second in terms of stressful work. If you work for a local company, the normal leave is 14 days, and overtime is usually expected with no additional pay. So completing your job assignments at home and being in touch with you 24/7 is a common thing in the Singaporean job market.

3- The difficulty of owning a car in Singapore

Owning a car in Singapore is very expensive, and Singapore consistently ranks among the most expensive countries to own a car, with the average cost of owning a car in Singapore 3 times as expensive as Europe or the United States. Perhaps this is one of the reasons why most residents are committed to using public transportation.

4- High rental rates

Living in Singapore is very expensive if you do not own your own home, with rent being the undisputed biggest source of spending. You should budget at least $700 to $2000 per month if you are renting a room and up to $4,500 to rent a studio apartment or a one-bedroom condo!

5- High costs of medical care

Healthcare in Singapore is quite expensive, so having a good healthcare plan is essential to avoid any high and unexpected costs. Locals often joke that it is cheaper to die than to get sick in Singapore.

6- Weakness of the technical and entertainment aspect

Singapore is often associated with efficiency rather than creativity, as creativity is not encouraged enough in Singapore compared to encouraging work and production. So the artistic aspect such as cinema, music and cultural festivals is very weak compared to the neighboring countries like Indonesia, Japan, Korea and Thailand where the creative aspects are more vibrant.

Immigration to Singapore: visas and job search

Singapore offers a variety of work permits that allow foreign employees and businessmen to live and work in Singapore. Furthermore, under certain circumstances the family members of a person holding a work permit can also live in Singapore by obtaining a family permit.

The EP visa is the most common work visa granted by the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) to foreign professionals. However, the work permit application must be submitted by a company registered in Singapore for the particular employee you want to bring to Singapore. For this purpose, the company must have interviewed the candidate, submitted a job offer and the job offer must be accepted by the candidate. Once these basic requirements are completed, the company can proceed with submitting a work permit application to the Ministry of Manpower.

So the key factor here is having a job offer as an individual cannot apply for a job on his own. If this person is a high-income earner, they may consider applying for a personal work permit.

According to the criteria provided by the Singapore Ministry of Manpower, to be eligible for a work permit, you must:

  • You have been recently employed or employed in a well-established company registered in Singapore, and that company intends to bring you to Singapore for the job.
  • Have a minimum monthly salary of 3,600 Singapore dollars. Individuals with work experience are required to earn a higher salary.
  • Have a valid degree (higher education) or have an excellent work background. For individuals who do not have a degree such as a Bachelor’s, they must demonstrate sufficient work and professional experience which can make up for the lack of an undergraduate degree.

Investing in Singapore

Singapore offers good prospects for people who want to invest in a rising market in Southeast Asia. Knowing the pros and cons of investing in the country can help you make a more informed and clear decision about whether to make it part of your investment portfolio. Singapore attracts foreign investors for many reasons, including the fact that it has thriving commercial and financial sectors, a business climate conducive to profit and growth, a skilled workforce, and good infrastructure. Here are some of the advantages and disadvantages that you will face if you decide to start your investment journey in Singapore:

Advantages of investing in Singapore

The advantages of investing in Singapore include:

  • Appropriate purchasing power as Singapore is the second richest country in the world based on GDP per capita as of 2020.
  • A free and diversified economy, Singapore is believed to be one of the freest global economies and one of the easiest countries in the world to set up businesses due to its business-friendly climate. Its economy boasts diverse sectors including shipping, finance, tourism, and pharmaceuticals.

Risks of investing in Singapore

The risks of investing in Singapore include the following:

  • Its dependence entirely on foreign trade, which led to its exposure to the economic downturn during the bubble of 2001 and the financial crisis of 2008, but despite that it was quick in its economic recovery.
  • Singapore’s economy is closely linked to China, given the weight of the country’s capital. This correlation has proven to be problematic in recent years, as any slowdown in Chinese economic growth is seen as the reason for Singapore’s slowdown.

Travel and study abroad Explore different study and work abroad destinations, and apply for unique opportunities around the world. 

There is no doubt that Singapore is one of the top destinations for immigrants from all over the world, due to its high quality of life and a thriving economic situation that encourages investment. If you have a high school diploma or you are good at a particular skill, apply for a work visa in Singapore and be part of this thriving and rapidly growing community. If you have a tourist or professional experience in Singapore, share it with us in the comments, and do not forget to register on the site to receive all new interesting and useful articles.

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