Singapore is continuously named one of the best cities to live in all over the world. Business, travel, and family magazines levy awards on the city-state because it combines the intrigue and excitement of life in an Asian hub with the amenities and traditions that are also quite familiar to expats coming from Western countries.
Innovation and opportunity reign here, and as individuals relocate on their own – or at the direction of their bosses – they find a well-located, comfortable life awaits them.
The Opportunity of Asia
As globalization takes hold and market factors shift unpredictably every day, a strong trend has become clear over the last few years – Asia is on the rise as a hub of innovation, opportunity, and business development.
Since the times of British colonialism, the island has been established as a center for global commerce because of easy access to transportation routes.
Though travel by boat may not be as crucial for international business these days, the city still attracts organizations based around the globe that want access to the Asia-Pacific.
Because it is located right in the heart of Southeast Asia, with easy access to the Malay Peninsula, China, Japan, and Korea, as well as Australia and New Zealand – countless multinational corporations have set up operation hubs in Singapore so that their businesses can be managed from a clean, comfortable home base.
Generous Relocation Packages
Because of the rich opportunity to advance a career, many individuals choose to relocate to Singapore to seek their fortune. It is also very likely that many expats have moved at the request of their employers.
When an American or European business sets up an Asian headquarters, they will often install some of the existing leadership to help guide the development and direction of the company. Still, it is quite a large request to ask someone and their family to make a new home halfway across the world.
When this is the case, many companies will help their employees make up for losing the comforts of home by providing very generous relocation packages . These can sometimes include shipping your possessions, airfare, comfortable accommodations, vacation benefits, healthcare benefits, a car and sometimes a driver, and any school costs for children.
The standard of living often improves very significantly for expats, who are excited to enjoy the comforts of their new city.
For both groups, highly favorable tax rates encourage long-term residency. Singapore has a well-regulated tax system that results in some of the lowest tax rates of any developed nation throughout the world. All foreigners based in Singapore on an official work permit are required to pay taxes.
The amount is based on whether you have “resident” or “non-resident” status. The measurement is determined by the number of days spent in Singapore over the last calendar year, with key distinctions happening at 60 and 183 days.
Residents are taxed at 2-20 percent. The actual payable tax rate will often be even lower, as many expats take advantage of tax relief programs such as those for spouse, child, and parent support, life insurance, foreign maid levies, and investments in the supplementary retirement programs.
Additionally, Singapore has instituted tax relief agreements with thirty-four other nations in order to ensure that residents who are citizens of those countries do not face a double tax burden.
The reduced tax burden also supports increased business investment. The corporate tax rate is equally friendly to business owners and venture capitalists. Combined with the stable legal environment that ensures adherence to contracts, Singapore provides a nurturing environment for new businesses.
The Island Provides a Little Bit of Everything
Singapore is a beloved home base because the country supports all kinds of interests.
If you’re the kind that prefers to live the high city life with cultural activities, there is theater, dancing, and plenty of opportunities to shop. The streets of the world famous Orchard Road shopping street fill up every Sunday with Singaporeans and expats looking to put some mileage on their credit cards.
Those who prefer to escape the hustle and bustle can surround themselves with greenery and wildlife. A series of connector paths helps locals take advantage of the vast nature park system, and there are also several easily accessible small islands along the coast that are great for hiking and biking.
Sentosa, Singapore’s beloved ‘resort island’ is perfect for sun worshipping, as well as water sports like paddle boarding and dragon boating.
Art buffs can enjoy the newly re-opened award-winning National Gallery for a classical view of the Southeast Asian masters, or make the trip out to Gillman Barracks for a chance to view more contemporary pieces in this former English Army barracks-turned-gallery compound.
Foodies, of course, will think they’re in heaven. Singapore boasts a broad variety of world-famous cuisines and a traditional coffee, or ‘”kopi” culture that keeps the country powered through those long workdays.
Ease of Transit and Travel
It’s true that Singapore does also hold the reputation of being an incredibly expensive place to live. However, the central location makes it easy to get away for the weekend to a Southeast Asian destination where your dollar will go a bit father.
Singaporeans and expats alike take advantage of the ample public holidays and long weekends to put some stamps in their passports.
After only two to three hours travel from Singapore, you can surround yourself in the tropical ocean waters of Bali, the ancient and immense Angkor temples of Siem Reap, or the hustle and bustle (not to mention superb street cuisine) of Hanoi.
If two hours is too long of a trip – the Indonesian resort islands of Bintan or Malaysian are only about 45 minutes away, and have become a mainstay of weekend plans.