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Working in Singapore - What You Need to Know

Singapore is ranked as the easiest place in the world to set up a business, and as the best in intellectual property protection legislat...

Singapore is ranked as the easiest place in the world to set up a business, and as the best in intellectual property protection legislation. The country is also highly rated for an overall high quality of life, a first-class education system, and a superbly efficient health system, making it among the healthiest nations across the globe. For these and other reasons, the Lion City is an impeccable place to launch your career or establish your business.

The following is some crucial information that may be useful to you when it comes to working or doing business in Singapore:

How do you go about getting a job?

If you joined your spouse in Singapore after they got a job there, you may consider getting a job in the city-state as well. You can attempt to take your career a notch higher or start a new line altogether. For example, you can become an English teacher, as they are usually in high demand. However, due to recent changes in employment laws pushing for the hiring of locals, your skills in other areas may not be as highly sought after as they are in your home country. You will most likely land a job through networking, but there are also recruitment agencies, online sources, classifieds, and expatriate associations that can be of great assistance in connecting you to jobs.

How easy is it to start your business in Singapore?

A good number of expatriates go to Singapore with many business ideas, or they identify possible opportunities while on the island state. Either way, the big question is: How can you transform your ideas into profitable businesses? The first step when starting a business is to work on how to get an entrepreneur visa in Singapore, which you can do through the Ministry of Manpower (MOM). This involves coming up with a detailed business plan and financial projections, and at the same time your business must meet certain basic requirements. If you are successful, you are issued an Approval-in-Principle letter within at least six weeks upon application and payment of the necessary application fees. You must also register your business as a private limited company with the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA). Also, you need to have a certain amount of money as minimum paid-up capital. Registration can be conveniently done online using a SingPass (an online account management that enables access to Singapore government e-services). Approval for the online registration is normally completed in 15 minutes at the most.

What are some key tips for landing a job in Singapore?

The following are some important tips that can help you get a job in Singapore:

  • Update your resume and ensure your references are relevant for the job to which you are applying. This will convince the hiring managers that you have the needed skills.
  • Ensure you have all your documents ready, including your birth certificate, university transcripts, and personal identification documents. Singapore-based employers will often require you to avail the documents, and they may need to see the original copies.
  • Prepare a portfolio—hard copy, digital, or on a website—showcasing your skills and experience that are relevant to the position.
  • Search for recruiters that specialize in your area of interest and reach out to them directly to maximize your chances of getting a job, since they will identify you as a suitable applicant.
  • Make a point of networking, as most expats land jobs through networking, rather than looking blindly for jobs.
  • When you bargain for a salary, be realistic and remember that Singapore’s low tax rate is often balanced with a lower base pay.
  • Be determined while searching for a job, and do it on a full-time basis until you secure one.
  • You may be asked personal questions at the interview—about your religion, if you have children, etc.—so do not be surprised.
  • Go through the interview process, even when you are not absolutely certain that you want the position; most companies can create positions for suitable employees, but they have to meet them first.
  • Being asked to submit your photograph with your resume is common.