Singapore is a hugely popular destination for expats due to its high standard of living and the fact that you can work and live in English in the city. It’s no wonder that it’s been a popular trend for years to move to Singapore. This is a huge draw for people of all nationalities as English is the most popular second language in the world. In fact, more than 42% of residents in Singapore were not born there, placing it in the top 10 cities for expat populations in the world.
Facts About Singapore
- Population: 5.8 Million as of 2021
- Official Languages: English, Malay, Mandarin and Tamil are all spoken in Singapore, but English is used as the language of business.
- GDP per Capita: $64,103 nominal as of 2021, top 10 in the world.
- Currency: Singapore Dollar ($S, SGD), as of 2021 £1 GBP = $1.77 SGD, $1 US = $1.44 SGD, €1 EUR = £1.61 SGD
- Driving: Singapore drive on the left the same as the UK
Now that you know some of the main facts about Singapore, you might be considering a move to the country. Firstly, you should know that we can help with your international move. But there are some other things that you should think about before deciding that you are going to move to Singapore.
Housing Costs in Singapore
Due partly to the high GDP per capita and also the fact that the city is relatively small, half the size of London, housing costs in Singapore are among the most expensive in the world. This means you should definitely check your salary expectations and the kind of property you will be able to afford before moving to Singapore. Some examples of how much you can expect to pay for housing include the below;
Rental Prices: $550 – $7000 per month, city centre costs are high so prepare for a commute
Property Prices: $14,373 average per sqm but this varies depending on rural or city centre
Comparatively, this makes Singapore more expensive for housing than many well-established countries around the world including New York, London and Paris.
Cost of Food and Restaurants
Another factor that you will have to consider when moving to Singapore is how much you will pay for food. As another essential it is important you take this into account when thinking about your salary expectations. Singapore has a unique food economy as an island-city state, meaning it has to import most of its food and faces expensive taxes in doing so. It means that groceries can be comparatively expensive to other nations but restaurants are quite often cheaper. For example, groceries are around 21% more expensive than in London but restaurants are in fact 51% cheaper than you’d expect to pay in London, which makes eating out common in Singapore as it doesn’t often cost much more than groceries.
Public Transportation Fees in Singapore
One of the main benefits to living in Singapore is that their public transport service has some of the lowest costs in the world, with fares calculated based on distance travelled rather than flat rates in other major cities such as London. Some fees in Singapore are as low as $0.30 per km whereas a journey in London can be as much as $20.00 per km. You can also make up to 5 changes on a single journey with the fare acting very much as a travelcard. As an added bonus, you can even travel for free on the public transport network if you’re an early riser, as there is no charge before 7:45am.
Can I Move to Singapore for Work?
If you are thinking about moving to Singapore for work then you can do this with an Employment Pass but it is recommended you find a long term job role before relocating. It is much easier to apply for an Employment Pass before you move for work.
In order to qualify for an Employment pass, you must earn a salary of over S$3,300 a month, which is over £1,757 as of 2019 and should cover most professional roles. There is a total cost of S$220 in applying for the visa and although this isn’t particularly expensive it does mean you should secure a work opportunity before applying for a visa in case it is denied.
Local Culture in Singapore
One of the main benefits of moving to Singapore is that English is spoken widely so it is quite easy to integrate into the country. It is also a remarkably clean city and there is much more greenery than you might expect from a major city. It is known for handing out rather large fines to people who litter or smoke in public places. There are specific areas for smoking in the country. Singapore isn’t an overtly religious country, with 31% following Buddhism and a further 20% not practising a religion so most western practices are observed in the country. Alcohol is also widely consumed and Singapore has a lively nightlife scene too.
Annual Weather in Singapore
It is important to consider the local climate before deciding on whether to move to a new country, so you also know what kind of clothing you will need to bring with you. Luckily, if you are planning on moving to Singapore you won’t have to worry about seasonal temperature changes, with a year-round tropical climate. The temperature is generally above 25°C with temperatures often exceeding 30°C. The country is prone to rainstorms often though, with December often the wettest month. With seasons of large rainfall, Singapore is also prone to flooding from time to time too but it hasn’t experienced any other natural disasters.
Can I Import a Car to Singapore?
If you are moving to Singapore from the UK, then you will be glad to know they drive on the left-hand side of the road. However, although you can import your car to Singapore it might be more cost-effective to buy a car once you are there. You can’t import cars that are more than 3 years old unless it is a registered classic car and there is a S$10,000 import tax on all cars coming into Singapore. This is a significant amount of money and unless you have a particular attachment to your car it is likely more economical to sell your car and buy a new one when you arrive in Singapore.
Can I Bring My Pet to Singapore?
The short answer to this question is yes you can bring a pet into Singapore but there are some strict rules on what breeds are allowed and from which countries. If you are moving to Singapore from outside of the UK, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand your pet will have to go through thorough checks and rabies vaccinations. There is also a list of breeds for cats and dogs that are not allowed into Singapore. On top of this, many apartment buildings have strict rules on how many pets you can have and also the size and breed of your pets. For more detailed information, read this guide.
Interested in information on another country? Take a look at our other International Relocation guides.
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