Relocation Fact File: Singapore

Relocation Fact File: Singapore

Key Industries:

Singapore has been built on several key industries. To stay atop of the global economic landscape, some of the most heavily invested in (and developed) industries include electronics, pharmaceuticals, chemicals, finance, logistics, and shipping.

Income Tax Rates

Personal income tax rates in Singapore are some of the lowest in the world. Individuals are taxed only on the income earned within the Republic. The income earned by expats while working overseas is not subject to taxation barring a few exceptions.Individual residents in Singapore are taxed on a progressive tax rate as seen here.

Visa Information

As an expat to work in Singapore you would need a work permit, often referred to as an EP (Employment Pass). These are grouped according to salary rather than occupation.

There are three types of Employment Passes for professionals who already have a job offer in Singapore:

  • P1 is for people with a fixed monthly salary which exceeds that of SGD 8,000+
  • P2 is for those who earn more than SGD 4,500 and are equipped with relevant recognized qualifications
  • Q1 is for everyone with a fixed monthly Salary of a minimum of SGD 3,000 and recognized qualifications and/or relevant work experience.

There is a useful self-assessment tool provided by the Ministry of Manpower which can help applicants find out which work permit they qualify for.

Main Relocation Costs

Moving to a new country always comes with some considerable costs. The biggest expenses you should expect will likely be rent, transport (whether you buy a vehicle or use public transport), and schooling for those with children. (see private schooling fees below)

Costs of Living:

In recent years, Singapore has moved up to be ranked as one of ten most expensive cities in the world, for expatriates. Within Asia, Singapore remains the 5th most expensive, falling shortly behind Tokyo, Osaka, Hong Kong, and Beijing.

Lifestyle Synopsis

With an equatorial, humid climate, Singapore offers a unique climate that is pleasing to live in all year round. Singapore is generally warm and humid. For those who enjoy the sun and heat, Singapore can’t be beat. With many beaches on the island you will have just as many opportunities to enjoy the weather.

At first glance the cost of living in Singapore may seem alarming. If you simply look at the cost of living ranking and the online literature, you may develop the view that it is unrealistic to live comfortably there. With more thoughtful consideration though, the cost of living is not as a serious detriment. Singapore offers the highest standard of living in South East Asia; when you take into account your higher disposable income available, a slightly increased cost of living can easily be managed.

Private Schooling Fees:

As mentioned previously, education expenses are some of the biggest factors in relocation costs. International schools’ tuition fees can range from S$6,000 to over S$20,000 per year.

Expat Community:

The expat community in Singapore is a blend from nationalities all around the globe. However, some typical generalizations can be seen based on the types of professions of the expats.  Among the white collar workers arriving in Singapore, the majority of expatriates come from Australia, India, the United Kingdom, Malaysia, and the Philippines. Blue collar workers typically come from Malaysia, Bangladesh, and India.


As the world continues to evolve, the growth and influence of Southeast Asia continues to rise. Centrally located within this up-and-coming region is none other than Singapore. With its world class port and shipping centers, Singapore is and will continue to be the epicenter of this region’s advancement. Whether you aim to capitalize economically on the great access to the nearby markets of Indonesia, India, Australia and the rest of Asia, or you hope to establish a perfect home base so to easily travel to these other locales, Singapore’s real estate can’t be beat.

One concern to be considered before moving to Singapore is the expensive cost of leisure goods such as alcohol. For those who enjoy a glass of wine or specialty beers, you will find that your drinking options will be fewer and more expensive than they would be in other locales. This is due to the enforcement of import and alcohol taxes, as well as having fewer local manufacturers.

English has been the official first language within the Singaporean school system. However, many native Singaporeans speak “Singlish.” Singlish is a hybrid of English which borrows words from various Chinese dialects, Malay and Tamil. This language can be hard to grasp for newcomers to Singapore, especially those who were expecting widespread use of the English language.