Singapore, officially the Republic of Singapore, is one of four city-states in the world and is the smallest nation in Southeast Asia. Singapore is a major international port and business center with an international reputation in shipping, finance, commercial trade hub of Southeast Asia. The densely-populated city has a well-established expatriate (aka: expat) network and a cosmopolitan mix of nationalities. According to Singaporean Ministry of Manpower, there are 100,000+ expats and 7,000+ multinational companies operating in the city. Global citizens will feel right at home forging a career in Singapore.
Singapore’s official languages are Chinese, spoken by over one-third of Singaporeans; English, spoken by one-fourth of the population; and Malay and Tamil.
Financial and banking sectors attract the majority of expatriate workers as Singapore is Asia’s international banking hub. Other sectors with large employment include manufacturing mostly in the electronics industry, sales and marketing, IT, accounting and engineering.
Singapore has one of the lowest tax rates in the world. The amount of personal income tax payable depends on resident status, income, and the tax reliefs/rebates one is eligible for. A person is considered a resident if they are physically present or employed in Singapore for 183 days or more in a capacity other than that of a director of a company.
There are ways to strategically prepare for a job search in Singapore both before and after you arrive in the city. Following are five key tips for your Singaporean job search:
1. Go legal: Get your visa and work permit.
The Ministry of Manpower outlined current visa and work permit requirements and its Pass Navigator specifies work pass/work permit requirements for foreigners on various job assignments, including business start-ups.
Foreigners who are interested to apply for work passes (either Employment Passes or S Passes) should take the Self-Assessment Tool prior to the submission of their applications. The self-assessment tool will provide a preliminary indication of the likelihood of obtaining the respective work passes.
2. Identify the skills needed by employers in Singapore.
In addition to the Self-Assessment Tool mentioned above, The Strategic and Skills-in-Demand List is the result of a collaboration among respective industries and relevant government agencies and is a compilation of occupations that are key to supporting the growth of key economic sectors inSingapore. The document also lists the skill-sets that are expected to be in strong demand by industries in the coming years. You should refer to this list to help you with strategic career planning.
3. Identify local resources that support your job search.
Always try to search for jobs before arriving in Singapore, as securing work before you arrive could result in an expat salary package, which often offers a higher salary, travel expenses, sometimes a housing stipend, and other perks.
Search firms, some online sources, classified ads, and expat associations can all be helpful in finding work. The American Association’s Career Resource Center for Expatriates(CRCE) offers advice on resumes, workshops, and career counseling, as well as provides job listings.
4. Network strategically and continually—both pre- and post-arrival.
Expat social clubs and cultural/national associations are ideal for meeting other expats and can provide an instant network. They are usually linked to nationalities, but anybody can join. American Women’s Association(AWA), The British Association of Singapore(BA), the Australian and New Zealand Association(ANZA), and many other organize various sports and social gatherings as well as offer many additional links to useful sites.
Some professional associations include Prime Time-Business and Professional Women’s Association and Singapore Council of Women’s Organizations (SCWO) – a national coordinating body of women’s organizations and groups.
Your university alumni association may have a group in Singapore. Check your university’s alumni office to find out.
Last but not least, there are a number of local charities and nonprofit organizations to volunteer in, which can be an excellent way to expand your network.
5. Consider starting a business.
Starting a business as a foreigner is a real option in Singapore, since it boasts of being the world’s easiest place to do business. You’ll need to apply for an Entre Pass through the Ministry of Manpower (MOM)- a work pass for foreign entrepreneurs who would like to start a business in Singapore. You can register your business, including foreign branch offices, online at Bizfile by the Accounting & Corporate Regulatory Authority.
Compiled by Lucia Kolaja Bordean, Program Specialist
Source: Passport Career password-protected content collected by in-country experts. Copyright 2012 by Passport Career, LLC.
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