As Singapore is becoming the business center of Asia, more and more expatriates are willing to settle there. If it often represents a good career opportunity, it also provides one of the best expatriate living conditions in the world. However, in order to live this dream, the first thing you need to think about is managing your integration in the city.
Singapore: a land of expatriates
Expatriates are a part of Singapore's DNA. The city has always been a polyglot population of migrants with different religions and has managed to create a good ethnic diversity. As a consequence, English is one of the four official languages of Singapore, which fosters integration and is a great help for newcomers to socialize with the local population & expatriates.
Numerous reasons to move in
There are 1.32 million foreign workers over a population of 5.6 million people. Several reasons made them chose Singapore: unemployment rate is low, crime merely exists, tax rate is attractive and Singapore's central location in Asia is an asset for business as well as for tourism. Check out our article to know more about their profile: "Who wants to expatriate in Singapore and Why ?"
Despite all this, integration still is a cause for concern for newcomers as it is never easy to move in a new country.
Don't worry about visas
Singapore welcomes foreign talents. Getting a visa is quite easy, most of western expats earning more than US 2,600$ a month own an "Employment Pass", instead of a "Work visa". Employment Pass holders with a minimum salary of US 4,000$ can also apply for a family visa named "Dependent Pass" (automatically approved if EP application is approved).
Be aware of the costs
Living in Singapore looks like a dream but those high standards of living, have a price you need to be aware of.
Singapore is an expensive city, from housing to transportation costs. It has become usual for expats to rent a home or an apartment and take the public transportation rather than owning or renting a car. Moreover, Singapore is filled with great international schools, but those are also very expensive.
Select a good private health insurance
Singapore has some of the best doctors in the world and great facilities, but enjoying those services can cost a lot of money. That's the reason why we encourage you to subscribe to a private insurance. Discover MyHealth insurance if you want further information.
Networking is the key
Trying to meet new people, to mingle with locals is essential to feel integrated: should it be for a job opportunity or to meet new friends, network is king in Singapore. Try to get in touch with people you may know who are already living in the city. If you have children, you can also get acquainted with other parents whose children are classmates of yours. The web can be a helpful hand for expats. Look at sports/ interest groups (runners, art enthusiasts, sports fans, start uppers…) on websites such as Meetup or Reddit which both organise events & meetups.
Don't forget your embassy
Embassies also hold specific activities to gather their community of expatriates. Starting from your home country community can be a great idea to meet your first friends, get advices about the best places in Singapore and enjoy your integration in the city.