Singapore is not only one of the leading centres of business, commerce, and innovation in Asia but a nation that boasts a truly cosmopolitan society. As such, it is no surprise to learn that Singapore consistently ranks among the top countries for expats to live.
If you have decided to join the burgeoning expat community in Singapore, there are a few crucial details you need to know to ensure a smooth transition process. And we are glad to help you prepare for your big move! Read on for a general lowdown of what to expect from life on our sunny island.
A checklist for your move to Singapore
Moving to a new country is undoubted an exciting prospect. However, the last thing you want is for you to overlook an essential detail. So here is a handy checklist for you to refer to as you prepare for your move.
Ensure your passport and the relevant documentation are in order
Decide on the essential belongings to take with you
Get your moving insurance sorted out
Ensure you have local currency on hand
Get started on your job hunt if you have not secured a job yet
Begin the school enrolment process if you have children
Ensure your accommodation is sorted out
Arranging your accommodation
Naturally, the first thing you should sort out before your move to Singapore is your accommodation. If you are not planning to stay for the long term, you might prefer to rent an apartment.
Unfortunately, in land-scarce Singapore, property prices are at a premium. And this has a knock-on effect on the rent as well. While the rental cost is largely dependent on its location, you should still expect the rent to take up a significant portion of your expenses.
Generally, it costs at least SGD700 per month to rent a room in a shared flat. If you prefer to live alone, you can expect to pay upwards of SGD1500 to 4000 a month for an apartment in Singapore. And this does not include the management fees (if applicable), legal fees for signing the tenancy agreements, and government taxes.
If you are seeking the assistance of an agency to source your accommodation, you will have to factor the introductory fee – equivalent to 50% of your monthly rent – into your expenses.
Conversely, if you plan to stay for the foreseeable future while you wait for an update on your PR application, it might be worth investing in a property. In Singapore, you can obtain a fixed or variable-rate mortgage of up to 60 to 80% of your property value. And you can pay the remaining sum in cash.
You may want to keep yourself abreast of the housing market in Singapore, as there are rules limiting the types of properties – such as an HDB flat – an expat can purchase. So if you want to buy an HDB flat, you may want to consider applying for permanent resident status in Singapore if you have not done so already.
Finding a job in Singapore
It is advisable to secure a job before moving to Singapore. However, we understand that circumstances may require you to migrate before your job application can be settled. So if you are still in the midst of your job hunt, you may want to consider some of the popular recruiting websites in Singapore, including LinkedIn, JobStreet, and Jobs DB.
To work in Singapore as an expat, you will require an Employment Pass (EP). Fortunately, this process is generally handled by your employer or an employment agent. Nevertheless, there are specific criteria to fulfil before your EP can be granted. You can check out the eligibility criteria on the Ministry of Manpower’s website.
And if you are not travelling alone, you will need to apply for a Dependents Pass for your partner and children. However, the criteria for the Dependents Pass are a little more stringent, with applicants having to earn a monthly salary of at least SGD6000.
Additionally, there are other various work permits granted to professionals with specific skill sets. Some examples include the Entrepreneur Pass (EntrePass) and Personalised Employment Pass (PEP), which are granted to entrepreneurs and high-earning professionals, respectively.
What are the educational options for your child?
Singapore boasts one of the best educational systems in the world. As such, you might want to consider enrolling your child in a public school. However, you might face stiff competition for a spot, especially if you wish to enrol your child in a renowned school.
Furthermore, local students are often given priority. So if you have your eye on a particular public school in Singapore, you may wish to consider an application for PR status in Singapore to give your child a better chance of securing a spot in your preferred local school.
Alternatively, you can consider enrolling your child in an international school. With a host of options to choose from, you will definitely find a curriculum closely aligned with your birth country’s education system. This will also make it easier for your child to adapt to their new surroundings.
Why you should consider a PR application
If you possess a valid work pass and have worked in Singapore for a minimum of 6 months, you are eligible to apply for permanent resident status in Singapore. So if you qualify for a PR application and foresee yourself staying in the Lion City for the long term, you should definitely consider doing so.
Allow us to share the multitude of benefits you get to enjoy as a Singapore PR:
You will receive a Blue Card that functions as your identity card. As such, you would no longer need to apply for a separate visa when you enter or exit the country.
You can include your spouse and unmarried children (under the age of 21) in your PR application.
As a PR, your school-age child is high on the priority list – only behind Singapore citizens – for public school admission.
You have the flexibility of changing your job without worrying about the re-application of your work permit.
Reap the tax and financial benefits provided by the Central Provident Fund (CPF) scheme.
As a Singapore PR, you are now eligible to purchase second-hand HDB flats.
Enjoy access to top-class public healthcare facilities at reduced rates.
You can apply for full citizenship two years after your successful PR application, granting you the same rights as locally-born citizens.
Are you excited to start your new life in Singapore? To truly make the most of your time in the Lion City, you should be thorough in your preparation and ensure you have the essential items crossed off your checklist before your big move.
At Singapore Immigration Partners, our team has assisted numerous expats with their successful PR applications. As such, you can rest assured that your PR application will be error-free, boosting your chance of getting the approval. Do not hesitate to contact us today so that we can help you to apply for your Singapore PR status online.