Working in Singapore
Typically, most companies work on a 5-day week, complying with the legal standard of 44 hours. Benefits from working full-time include having 7 – 14 days of paid annual leave, which might increase in tandem with years of stay and experience. 2 to 3 weeks of paid sick and hospitalization leave are common, together with an optional a year-end bonus; the equivalent of one-month’s salary.
Salaries are considered competitive, with an administrative manager earning a basic wage of around S$4,500, accountant; S$4,000 and electrical engineer; S$3,500. However, take note that these are just examples and that one’s salary would vary from another.
The Ministry of Manpower will be a good information source for foreigners who wish to work in Singapore.
Singapore has a regulatory system, which requires certain passes for different kinds of employments.
Work Permit: Lowly skilled labourers who earn not more than S$1,800 monthly
Employment Pass: Minimum monthly salary of S$2,500, with recognised academic qualifications
Personalised Employment Pass (PEP): New scheme with greater flexibility; allows employee to retain pass for up to 6 months even if he/she is not working in the company anymore, minimum monthly overseas salary of S$7,000
S-Pass: Minimum monthly salary of S$1,800, for middle-skilled foreigners with a degree, diploma or technical certificate.
Applying for Permanent Residence (PR) status
Rules in attaining for PR in Singapore have relaxed considerably, to attract the investment of foreign capital.
There are a few eligibility criteria to meet, including:
- Spouse of a Singapore citizen, with unmarried children below 21 years old
- Elderly parents of a Singapore citizen
- Holders of the P, S, or Q work pass
- Interested investors or entrepreneurs
- Interested foreigners who are overseas, wanting to apply for In-principle PR
Submit the application for PR via Immigrations & Checkpoint Authority (ICA).
Starting a Business
The Doing Business 2010 Report ranks Singapore at the world’s easiest place to do a business. Indeed, starting a business in Singapore is an option favoured by many, because of Singapore’s environment that is highly conducive, with stable markets and reliable governments.
Interested parties must apply for an EntrePass Employment Pass tailored for foreign entrepreneurs with companies registered with the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA).
Singapore does not tolerate illegal businesses and the type of business should be entrepreneurial; coffee shops, food courts, nightclubs, karaoke lounges, massage parlours etc are not considered.
Studying in Singapore
Singapore is home to many reputable and excellent universities, receiving recognition of a modern city possessing high and stringent standards in education. It is of no surprise that many parents send their children here for study, and the intake of foreign students has increased significantly.
Admissions Exercise for International Students (AEIS)
International students who wish to study in a conventional public school should have sufficient grasp of the English language, as it is the language of instruction in Singapore. A student has to undergo Admissions Exercise for International Students (AEIS) as part of the admission procedure.
A foreigner would need to apply for a student’s pass upon acceptance by an education institute for the pursuing of full-time studies in Singapore, unless he or she has a Dependant’s Pass or an Immigration Exemption Order.
Polytechnics in Singapore
There are five mainstream polytechnics in Singapore, namely Singapore Polytechnic; Singapore’s oldest polytechnic, Temasek Polytechnic; located in the East, Ngee Ann Polytechnic; with well-known communication diplomas, Nanyang Polytechnic; popular among students and Republic Polytechnic; the youngest polytechnic in Singapore.
Universities in Singapore
There has been an increasing rate of international students studying in universities at Singapore. It is no wonder, as the National University of Singapore (NUS) has been constantly at the top of world rankings, together with Nanyang Technological University, another excellent university.
Singapore Management University (SMU) is the newest kid on the block, while Singapore Institute of Management (SIM) is a highly preferred private school.
CaseTrust for Education scheme
The CaseTrust for education scheme is unique and tailor-made for international students, who may worry about the credibility of a private and non-government school. Private Education Organisations (PEO) are required to attain the CaseTrust for Education before being allowed to accept international students. A certified PEO offers protected tuition fees and clear fee policies. This enhances the confidence of applicants. Please take note that it is not compulsory for government-aided private institutions in Singapore to apply for CaseTrust for education.
Accommodation for Students
Accommodation for foreign students involves careful planning and consideration. To aid the transition, most education institutes have an International Student Office to cater to the needs of such students.
Types of Accommodation
Hostels are available on some campuses and offer great convenience, with the provision of basic amenities like television rooms, computer rooms and kitchenettes. It is a popular choice, costing S$155 - $800 a month, depending on the number of students sharing the room.
This option is for students aged between 13 to 19 years old. A boarding school would typically provide meals, laundry services and security. An interview with both the student and parents would be included as part of the selection process.
There are also private hostels run by independent agencies.
Some households offer accommodation to international students in their own home, which offers a homely environment, with guidance support. However, some might find a home stay expensive, as it ranges from S$1,000 to $1,600 a month.
Public and Private Apartments and Houses
Some students may wish to source directly for public and private apartments or houses as a long-term option. Expect to pay at least 1 month of security deposit and another month of advance rent. The International Student’s Office can help with searching for the right accommodation, or one can also look at the local papers’ advertisements on their own.
Hotels are a short-term option, suitable for students on short courses or exchange programs. Mid-range hotels are from S$60 - $200, while better ones are from S$200 - $400, per night.