Making the decision to live in Singapore is a popular choice. Within its population of 5.5 million, a staggering 40% are foreign-born workers or students. It has one of the highest percentages of millionaires and due to its low tax rates Europeans can find their net earnings are given a huge boost.
With that all said, it was ranked in 2014 by Mercer as the fourth most expensive city to live in based on housing, transport, food, clothing and household costs. So how can expats live in this exciting South East Asian country without breaking the bank?
1. Climate: The hottest months to be in Singapore are April to May where temperatures can reach 35 degrees. Humidity can be exceptionally high, reaching 79% in the morning. You should also expect monsoons throughout November – January. Singapore is eight hours ahead of GMT.
2. Currency: The national currency of Singapore is the Singapore Dollar – SGD. The local currency is in dollars and cents. To find out how the British pound fares against the SGD go to http://themoneyconverter.com/GBP/SGD.aspx
3. Housing: Many expats flock to central Singapore making rent for properties such as apartments and condominiums expensive. In return accommodation is of a high quality. Popular areas include Orchard, Tanglin, Holland and Bukit Timah all of which have good transport links and access to international schools. Expats on short-term contracts usually find renting to be the easiest option however buying becomes a more viable suggestion. Check out http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/property/expat-property/10031686/Expat-property-where-to-live-in-Singapore.html for clear information.
4. Schooling: There are two options to consider when thinking of where to send your child to school in Singapore. You can apply for a place at a state run school. These are subject to strict criteria and an admissions process. http://www.moe.gov.sg/education/admissions/international-students has all the details. Alternatively, many expats choose to send their children to International Schools. These incur a fee and an admission process also. In 2012 the Telegraph ranked the available schools. Look at: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/education/expateducation/9063501/Expat-guide-to-Singapore-schools.html
5. Transport: As in many cities, owning a car is not always necessary, but for some it is essential. The good news for Europeans is that if you are intending to live there for under a year you don’t need to apply for a Singapore driving license. If your period of stay is for more than a year make sure to apply for new documentation. See http://driving-in-singapore.spf.gov.sg/services/driving_in_singapore/services/information.html for more information. There are also tolls or Electronic Road Pricing (ERP) on certain roads and within certain hours.
6. Public Transport: Singapore has plenty of cheap ways to get around the city. Its MRT system (Mass Rapid Transit) is a modern, speedy train service that operates all over the island. There are also two efficient bus services – the SBS Transit Buses and SMRT Buses – and a good taxi network. Taxis can be flagged down or picked up from a taxi stand.
7. Language: Learning to speak a new language is not obligatory when moving to Singapore. The government recognises four types; English, Malay, Mandarin and Tamil. Most companies speak English.
8. Culture: 2015 sees Singapore celebrating its 50th year of Independence. The Lonely Planet guide has named it the top travel destination for the year and there is plenty going on to celebrate the milestone.
9. Law and Order: In a city that totally ‘bans’ the import and chewing of gum, it’s no surprise that it has strict rules on everything from littering to smoking. Drug possession is treated harshly with the death penalty enforceable. Despite recent riots, Singapore is a safe city with violent crime extremely rare. British government advice can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/singapore/safety-and-security
PSS International removals is a family run company and our desire is to ensure your family receive a friendly, professional and stress free overseas move. We have specialised in international removals for over 32 years, so whether you are planning on sending a full or part household removal, excess baggage or a vehicle we recognise the importance in ensuring that our customers receive the same level of care and attention that we would expect ourselves. Contact us now for a free estimators survey, online moving and baggage quote.