Thursday, July 19, 2007

Working in Singapore

This article should be good for prospective candidates looking at moving to singapore for Job opportunity. This is purely based on my personal experience and someone needing more detailed or specific information can always look up the information on the internet.

1.How much does one have to pay for a rental house in Singapore ? And how much to buy a house...say a 2 BHK one?

Ans: A family of 3-4 people will preferably need to go for atleast a 2 bedroom HDB (Housing Development Board) if available or will have to go in for a 3 bedroom unit. In singapore a 2bedroom apartment is also referred to as 4 room apartment(2 bedroom+1 Kitchen+1 Hall) & similarly 5 room in case of 3 bedroom unit. Due to rising real estate markets in Singapore and globally, the rentals have gone up. The rates vary with the distance of the area from the central business district(CBD) area that is the main area where most offices are located in the city.
2 Bedroom - Rentals : SGD 900 - SGD 1500 (higher being places closer to MRT(Stations for trains/close to CBD.
3 Bedroom - Rentals : SGD 1000-SGD 1600
For someone who wants to stay in condominiums, the rates would be from SGD1500+ for 2 bedroom again based on locations and rates go higher depending on similar criteria as for HDB.

Buying House in Singapore: One can buy house in Singapore only if the person is a Singapore PR or a citizen. Usually a 2bedroom house price will start from SGD 200,000.

2.Which are the good/decent residential areas(not very highly priced, though)
Ans:Most of Indian expats have usually preferred to stay close to their office areas. Based on this criteria, the reasonably decent & not so highly priced residential areas will be as follows:
In the order of preference based on rates :

East Area: Aljunied, Paya Lebah, Eunos, Kembangan & Tampines, Simei & Pasir Ris, Bedok
West Area: Bukit Batok, Bukit Gombak, Chua Chu kang, Boon lay, Lake Side, Clementi, Queenstown, Jurong East
North Area: Ang Mo Kio, Yio chu Kang, Khatib, Toa Payoh, Bishan, Bradell, Yishun
South Area: Red Hill, Tiong Bahru, Outram Park
Central Area(closer to Little india where one gets all indian stuff): Seng kang, Punggol, Kovan, Farrer Park, Serangoon,

3.How much does spend on an average on commuting ? How much would one spend if one were to buy a car there?

Ans:Public transport is excellent in Singapore and most comfortable and cheap mode of transport.

Train: Frequency: peak hours: 2 minutes & off Peak Hours: 5 -12 minutes. Usually one will spend between 60 cents to S$2 for one way journey.

Buses: Frequency: peak hours: 5-7 minutes & off Peak Hours: 7 -12 minutes and usually bus routes will cover some distances faster than train journeys and be more convenient. Usually one will spend between 60 cents to S$2 for one way journey.

Taxis: For emergencies or when traveling members exceed 2 pax then this is the most convenient & fastest mode unless one gets caught in traffic which too is possible only during peak hours or Friday evenings or public holidays. The fare starts at S$ 2.50 for regular taxis and starts at S$2.70 or 2.80 for premium taxis. With some special premium taxis charging flat rates. like S$ 35 for airport.

Personally I would discourage anyone to buy a car, since one would buy the car for twice the price of the same car in India or any other major economies. This is due to COE which is the tax levied by govt. to curtail the increase in the number of cars in singapore and avoid too much traffic congestion and pollution. One would also have costs like ERP for entering into CBD which is again for same reason as earlier & one cannot forget the parking charges. The cheapest car would cost around S$ 35,000 which will be a car like Maruti Suzuki or a little better.

4.How much does one spend on entertainment there?

This is very subjective although I shall try to give the general cost related to entertainment.


Eating out for 2 persons in an Indian restaurant: S$25 atleast.

A can of coke: $1.00

Big Mac: $3.00

Cigarettes (20): $5.80

Bottle of wine: At least $60 for something decent, more if you order one at a restaurant

Loaf of bread: $1.50

Starbucks drink: $4.00

Pint of Haagen Daz ice cream: $10.30

Movie ticket: $7 onwards

One hour at an internet cafe: $2+


Mobile phone: $300-400 + about $30 a month for subscription

Home computer: $700+

Laptop: $1500

DVD player: $100

Music CD: $10

HiFi set: $350

Plasma TV : $800 onwards depending on make

5.Normally how much goes off in tax deduction, what is the computation?

Ans: Please check my blog under Country Guide - Individual Income Tax - Salaried Employee

6.If one goes on a spouse visa, can the spouse take up a job legally there?
Ans: Spouse is given a dependant Visa when he or she travels with the person on employment pass. This directly does not allow the spouse to work & is considered illegal. Spouse would need a letter of consent from the MOM(Ministry of Manpower) for working with an company in Singapore or the company in Singapore will need to apply for an employment pass for the spouse. Advantage in getting job is good for spouses from IT industry. Other professiona like Sales, Doctors, Teachers, etc are usually hard to find a job.

Plus points of working & staying in Singapore

Singapore is the most safe country in the world. It is the most well connected country within and to other parts of the world. One of the cleanest and least polluted countries. There are four official languages - English, Mandarin, Malay and Tamil - and one unofficial language, Singlish, Singapore's very own version of spoken English. All festivals related to the Chinese, Muslim and Hindu community are celebrated with great pomp and pleasure & this has lead to a very unique and binding culture in Singapore. Working environment is very professional and very competitive and demanding. Most of the major global companies are present in Singapore, making it a major business hub. Tax structure is simple and very less compared to major countries. Maximum tax payable is 15% on your income. Indians can find all types of food, clothing and necessary and luxury items in Singapore due to the growing population of Indians here. Singapore is very disciplined & law abiding country and mistakes could cost one dearly monetarily or even prison time. One is advised to read and be careful about these regulations and restrictions for ones own good.


Weather is very humid almost about 95-99% which makes one sweat a lot. Although most places are Air conditioned - Offices, Trains, Buses, Taxis & shopping complexes. One can have problems adjusting to the climate. Vegetarians specially who cannot consume even eggs might find it difficult to adjust although there are lot of vegetarian joints like Saravana Bhavan, Ananda Bhavan, Komala Vilas etc. Some culture shock is inevitable, so knowing what makes Singapore society tick can't hurt.

I would welcome any specific queries & would appreciate if you could leave your comments or suggestions. Please do share this with someone in need of this kind of information around you.

All the best.


Sattanathan said...

rental part..... 900 ? what lah.. not available.. no more o'readiah!!. Minimum... 1000+ lah

Movie ticket.. all good movies u get for 7SGD. but not shivaji...15SGD o'readiah!!.

Neelum said...

Wow your article is very useful to first timers to Singapore. I would like to know about the educational system and also some good schools there.

Yogendra Rampuria said...

A very nice Article in deed, very comprehensive.
But you missed out on medical and health care. This country has one of the most expensive health care. Its more expensive than some of the European countries.

One can not get medicine (except the normal panadols, etc) over the counter. The thumb rule is for any problem you have to go to doctor and get the medicine from there.

A small visit would cost you S$ 25+. Again depending on the clinic you visit. Other severe problems can be even more expensive.

Probably you may add more on that.

Amolsledge said...

Thanks for your encouragement & comments. I shall take your suggestion and try to give a clear picture on this very crucial aspect for anyone traveling overseas. Please click on the link Medical & health insurance under Label Country Guide.