A guide to settling in Singapore

expat life in Singapore

Modernity, cleanliness, tempting salaries... Singapore continues to attract many expats seeking better career growth and a high quality of life. According to the HSBC Expat Explorer Survey 2015, the Asian city-state 2015 is even the top destination for expats. Take a look at our tips to prepare your expat life in Singapore.

 

Landing a job in Singapore

To be allowed to work in Singapore, you will need to get a work visa. There are many different visa categories, called work permits or work passes. The type of work permit you should apply for depends on your occupation, your professional experience and your salary. Your employer should request the visa for you. 

To learn all about employment in Singapore, visit the Ministry of Manpower website.

Finding a place to live in Singapore

A vast majority of Singaporeans live in HDB flats which are administered by the state. These apartments tend to be fairly inexpensive. Many expats live in private residential properties, called condominiums.

To rent an apartment, you will usually need to pay a 2 months security deposit and one month's rent in advance. Also note that in Singapore, most lease agreements are signed for a period of 2 years.

Sending the kids to school in Singapore

The public education system in Singapore is of good quality and English is the language of instruction. Though some expat children may have the opportunity to attend a local public school, you might also prefer to enroll your children in an international school. Remember, this type on education can be very costly. For example, an academic year at the Australian International School for a child in elementary school costs over SGD37,000.

Using public transport in Singapore

In Singapore you can use:

    • the metro (MRT),
    • the bus,
    • taxis.

    The EZ-Link reload card will allow you to easily access these different means of transportation. 

      Staying healthy in Singapore

      Though medical care in Singapore is of excellent quality, you will not have access to local health system (National Health Plan) if you aren’t a permanent resident. As when it comes to healthcare, prices tend to soar, having adequate insurance for expats in Singapore is essential.

      Having fun

      Living in Singapore doesn’t mean all you will see are skyscrapers and shopping malls... Singapore also is a multiethnic garden city.

      A few ideas to get started:

      • explore the Bukit Timah Nature Reserve,
      • discover the local specialties in a hawker center,
      • visit Chinatown and Little India,
      • spend an afternoon at the botanical garden,
      • try water skiing at the East Coast Park.

      To find out more about expat life in Singapore:

      How much does living in Singapore cost? Visit Expatistan.com to learn about the cost of living in the city-state.

      Date of publication Dec 14 2015