Moving to a new country can be exhausting and overwhelming, especially if you have not made detailed plans prior to your relocation. Sometimes, migrants are left in a frenzy trying to settle in, which might end up resulting in homesickness or depression. In this article, we will be detailing the important initial things that you would need to do after moving to Singapore, ensuring a smooth transition into the country for you and your family.
Singapore uses the Singapore Dollars as a currency. It is recommended that you change some of your money before entering the country. While you can change your money upon arriving at the airport, the rates that the banks will be offering will be significantly lower than other money changers, thus resulting in a loss for you. You will also need to use this currency upon your arrival in Singapore to pay for transportation or snacks at the airport.
One of the first things you will want to do is to get yourself connected with a telephone line so that you can call home or friends in Singapore. We would suggest getting a prepaid line initially, as it is more cost-effective and there are a variety of plans to choose from. Singapore has three telco companies – SingTel, Starhub and M1 – and each of these companies offer attractive plans, which may include free international calls and a 3g connection as well. You can immediately register a line for yourself upon landing at Changi International Airport, as there are shops there offering that service. The law of Singapore dictates that at the point of registration, you will have to produce your passport or identity card. You can consider registering for a postpaid line after you are fully settled in. However it is to be noted that as a foreigner, you will be require to pay a bond before being able to secure a postpaid line.
There are several banks to choose from in Singapore that can assist in handling your monetary matters. The popular banks in Singapore are POSB, DBS and UOB. Getting an account with these banks will be beneficial for you as these banks have plenty of ATM and branches around the island. You can also sign up for debit and credit cards with these banks. The banks also offer a variety of saving plans and loans that might be useful for you so do feel free to talk to one of the agents at the bank to find out more. Do however bear in mind that in order to open a bank account in Singapore, you will need to produce a valid form of Singapore identification, which in the case of expatriates is a working pass, i.e.: Employment pass, S-Pass, Work Permit or Dependent’s pass, amongst others.
Most expatriates will already have their housing in order prior to their arrival but there are some who will initially stay at a hotel before finding a place of their own. When it comes to looking for a house, we would recommend that you either go through the newspapers or online for advertisements on rental homes. It is recommended that you enlist a licensed housing agent if you do not have the time to trawl through the advertisements. Be sure to inspect the houses before signing any documentation.
If you are relocating to Singapore without an already secured job – for example, you are on a dependent’s pass – then searching for a job should be on the list of things you will need to do upon your arrival. There are numerous job websites, such as JobsDB and JobStreet, which can be of help to you in finding a temporary or permanent position. You can also look for a job through job advertisements in the local newspapers, such as The Straits Times Classified and The New Paper.
Signing up for an insurance plan in a foreign country is quite important, especially in a country like Singapore, where medical expenses can pretty much burn a hole in your wallet. For some expatriates, the company hiring them will cover the insurance cost, but for those who may not have an insurance plan as a benefit, there are always external insurance companies, such as AIA or AIG, that you can look at for insuring yourself and your family.
If you have children relocating with you, then registering them for school should be on your list of priorities upon your arrival in Singapore. You can choose to enroll your kids in public or private schools. Do take note when the deadlines for enrolment are, as some schools may not accept late applications. You can also make a shortlist of schools prior to your arrival to make it easier for you to inspect them prior to enrolment.