International Moving Consideration – Moving to Singapore


Are you looking to migrate from USA, Russia, Canada and so on?  We hope that these following tips will help you prepare for your move to Singapore.

Cost of Living

Have you checked the cost of living in Singapore?  That includes meals, transport, accommodation, healthcare, taxation rates, etc.  You would also need to ensure that you are gainfully employed in Singapore before moving over here.  Do make the effort to determine the eligibility of getting employed in Singapore. Employment Pass or approved EPEC is a must to have before the relocation.

Singapore ranks 5thas the most expensive city after Tokyo, Osako, Hong Kong and Beijing. Tax rates are one key consideration to determine if it is worth relocating over here from another country.  Tax rates are considered lower in Singapore as compared to Europe or Australia.  Rates will be higher if you are migrating from Philippines as cost of living is considerably lower.  If the overall earnings more than outweigh the differences in tax rates, then it would make sense to consider the move.

It would be good to work out the expenses here in Singapore and the expense in the home country. Expenses cover daily living costs such as transportation, petrol, education, healthcare, accommodation, meals and so on.   It would be cheaper putting up in a public housing such as HDB vs staying in a private apartment or condominium.

Employability and Eligibility

Do check your chances of getting employed in Singapore.  You would need to find out if you qualify for an employment pass in Singapore via the Ministry of Manpower website.

If you already have a job secured in Singapore, you may get your employer to help with employment pass application.   Typically the process involves the following procedures:

  • Your employer help with your Employment Pass (EP) application
  • Upon approval online, an in-principle approval EP will be granted to you which will expire in 30 days if the EP is not endorsed
  • In-principle approval EP takes about 3-4 weeks to process.

If you plan to come to Singapore first and then look for a job, then the following procedure may help you along:

  • Apply your Employment Pass Eligibility Certificate (EPEC) from Ministry of Manpower. You would be granted a social visit pass for up to 1 year.  This will give you time to look for a job in Singapore
  • Provide supporting documents for the application. Certified true copies of your educational certificates, passport page, a recent passport photo within the past 3 months

Arrival in Singapore and After

 To get settled in Singapore fast, these are the other important considerations:

  • Endorse your employment pass – you would need to get your company HR to process and approve it. You would need to provide them your passport, immigration card and a health declaration form endorsed by you.
  • Open a local bank account in Singapore – you may approach any bank to open an account. Most local banks offer similar bank rates, terms and conditions.  Documents required for bank account opening:  EP, passport and cash as initial deposit.  You may want to check out the bank’s internet banking offerings, credit card and other banking products that the market can offer you.
  • Credit Card – if you require credit card as well, you would need to bring along documents such as an EP, company ID, passport and a recent copy of your payslip. Please note that min income requirement of $3,000 is required for credit card application.  You may consider a debit card application instead of credit card as having a debit card gives you better control over your spend as compared to credit card.
  • Apply for a mobile phone – communication is important for anyone regardless of where one resides. It is crucial that you get yourself a mobile phone in order to be reachable while you reside here.  There are 3 major mobile communication companies that you may apply for a mobile phone – SingTel, M1 and Starhub.  Each company has their unique value proposition and plans.  You may explore their plan offerings and apply for one which most suits your daily needs.  There are 2 types of phone plans – prepaid and postpaid.  The former works well only if you are here in Singapore for a short period of time.  You would need your EP and passport for the application.  If you want to have discounts on the charges, you may bring along your company ID to see if the company qualifies for corporate rates.

Looking for a House

This is in fact the most critical in your plan for relocation to Singapore.  If you are coming here to Singapore on a non-expat termed employment, then very likely you would need to source around your own house.  For this, you would need to start the house hunting even way before your planned arrival date here.   If budget is a key consideration, you might want to consider renting a room instead of an entire house or perhaps sharing an entire unit rental with a couple of like-minded tenants.  You may search for your property by going to Property Guru  or I-Property to search for house listings.

Getting Around In Singapore

It is relatively easy to commute in Singapore.  First and foremost, you need to get yourself an EZ link card which you can purchase from either 7 Eleven outlets, Bus Interchanges or at the Transit Link office at selected MRT Stations.  Should you require a top up of the fare card, you can do it via the fare card top up machines which are available at most MRT Stations.

Should you decide to commute by cars, you can either rent or purchase a car through any of the car auto dealers.  You may finance the purchase of your vehicle with either the banks or local financial institutions in Singapore.

Living in Singapore is fun and exciting.  Have a good stay!