Renowned for its social and political stability as well as its friendly business policies, Singapore has gained recognition as the ideal destination for many businesses and startups to venture into. Considering its fast economic growth, The Lion City is steadfastly attracting entrepreneurs and innovators alike from around the world to set up long-term investments knowing their businesses could run sustainably here.

With that being said, relocating to Singapore is definitely a great idea. But it can be rather daunting if you do not know what to expect or prepare before moving from one country to another. To make it easier for you, here is what you need to know and consider before you relocate to Singapore, and what you should do after.

What you need to consider before moving to Singapore

Finding the right work permit

First things first, regardless of your line of work, your Singapore employer or selected agent need to help identify the proper work pass for you. This is crucial in order for you to set foot in the country and start working. Here are the five primary work passes:

  • Employment Pass – For foreign professionals, managers and executives whose salaries typically sit above S$4,000.
  • Entrepreneur Pass (EntrePass) – Intended for aspiring entrepreneurs, innovators, and investors who are looking to start a business here.
  • Personalised Employment Pass (PEP) – A special Employment pass reserved for high-earning Employment Pass holders and overseas foreign professionals that has no affiliation with a specific employer.
  • S Pass – Mainly for mid-skilled employees whose monthly salary is fixed at no less than S$2,500.
  • Miscellaneous Work Pass – Typically issued to foreigners on short-term work assignments in Singapore.

Familiarise yourself with the local culture

Despite its small size, Singapore prides itself with a rich diversity of cultures, languages, and religions. The local communities made up of Chinese, Malay, Indian, Eurasian, and many others typically converse in English and other dialects, which has made it rather easy for expatriates to settle down in no time. With the country’s great offering of a melting pot of cultures, foreigners could find local cuisines and festivals that speak to their own easily.

Cost of living

To avoid living on a shoestring budget, familiarise yourself with the local lifestyle and set up a modest budget for everyday expenses like food, accommodation, and transport. These are absolutely crucial for long-term living which brings us to the next point—the cost of living.

  • Average costs of regular foods
Meal, Inexpensive RestaurantS$15.00
McMeal at McDonald’s (or Equivalent Combo Meal)S$8.00
Water (1.5 litre bottle) [market]S$1.73
Domestic Beer (0.5 litre bottle) [market]S$5.13
Imported Beer (0.33 litre bottle) [market]S$6.43
Rice (1kg) [market]S$ 2.76
Regular Eggs (1 carton of 12) [market]S$3.07
Apples (1kg)S$4.72
Regular Milk (1 litre)S$3.05
A loaf of Fresh Bread (500g)S$2.30

Source: Numbeo as of January 2021

  • House and rental cost

It is advised to do research on apartments for rental prior to leaving for Singapore so that you can start an apartment viewing right after your arrival. Those who intend to become a permanent resident or taking citizenship, it is best to apply for an HDB (Housing and Development Board) under the fiance/fiancee scheme for either BTO (build to order) flat or to buy one on the resale market. The average costs for property purchase and rental in Singapore are as below:

Rent Per Month
Apartment (1 bedroom) in City CentreS$2,885.51
Apartment (1 bedroom) Outside of CentreS$1,840.62
Apartment (3 bedrooms) in City CentreS$5,323.08
Apartment (3 bedrooms) Outside of CentreS$3,232.69
Apartment Purchasing Price
Price per Square Meter to Buy Apartment in City CentreS$26,275.21
Price per Square Meter to Buy Apartment Outside of CentreS$13,007.60

Source: Numbeo as of January 2021

  • Transportation costs

Travelling in Singapore on a daily basis is rather cheap compared to other developed nations. Since transportation takes up a substantial amount of budget for anyone travelling regularly in Singapore, it is wise to plan and set aside a budget solely for commuting. Here, one only needs to pay for the distance they intended to travel and what’s more, you only need to buy one ticket for a maximum of 5 transfers within 2 hours. So for daily travelling, you are expected to spend an approximate amount of S$300 every month.

However, the cost for weekend travelling could sometimes be inflated for public and private transportations. One ride on either vehicle could set you back at S$10 on Saturdays and Sundays.

One-way ticket (Local Transport)S$1.80
Monthly Pass (Regular Price)S$120.00
Taxi Start (Normal Tariff)S$3.70
Taxi 1km (Normal Tariff)S$0.79
Gasoline (1 litre)S$2.19

Source: Numbeo as of January 2021

What you need to consider after moving to Singapore

Opening a bank account

Opening a bank account in Singapore is pretty simple for a foreigner, provided you have a confirmed address to prove your residence and a valid cause to justify your need for a local bank account. Recognised proof of residence can be found in your employment pass, dependent pass, or student visa, all of which are evidential to a legal basis for your needs to live in the country and in this case, to open a bank account.

Healthcare system

Hailed by WHO (World Health Organisation) as the top healthcare system in Asia, Singapore citizens and permanent residents are entitled to subsidised healthcare services provided through a compulsory national savings scheme. With that being said, expatriates are to pay a slightly higher unsubsidised medical cost than the locals.

The two parts that made up of the Singapore hospital facilities are:

  • Government healthcare facilities

All charges in public health services are financed by the government. For private hospitals and outpatient clinics, patients are to pay for the hospitals and doctors on a fee-for-service charge.

  • Private healthcare facilities

These facilities consist of private hospitals and clinics that commonly offer outpatient services. Patients are expected to pay for a higher cost as the waiting time is much shorter and scheduling appointments are faster compared to their public counterparts.

As a country that promises lucrative career opportunities as well as many other countless lifestyle benefits, Singapore has become the ideal destination for aspiring individuals from all corners of the world to seek a fulfilling career.

Are you looking to move to Singapore? As an immigration consultancy, we have years of experience succeeding in helping those who aspire to do the same. Get in touch with our Lead Immigration Specialist now to find out more!