Are you thinking about moving to Singapore to work? You have made a good choice and one that many other expats, just like yourself, are now considering. But it is worth noting that the number of non-Singaporean nationals being employed by local and multinational companies in South East Asia’s premier financial and business hub has reached such proportions that the Singapore government has begun implementing a number of immigration measures designed to curtail foreign arrivals and employment.
Since the mid-nineties, foreign nationals have been lured to Singapore with extremely lucrative salary packages, luxury accommodation and return flights to their home-countries by local emerging industries. It is now estimated that there are approximately 600,000 expats working in Singapore’s vibrant CBD, most of them earning salaries well above the $200,000 dollar mark.
Finding Work in Singapore
Chris Mead, Regional Director of global recruitment firm Hays explains that “the numbers of long-term unemployed and vacancies are both increasing in Singapore, something which suggests that the available labour does not always have the skills employers want.” That’s why, as companies continue to fill the knowledge gap in specific areas, demand for contract and temporary candidates is still growing in Singapore.
Hay’s latest list of skills in demand in Singapore presents a clear spike in the need for legal counsels in the engineering and construction industry as well as a demand for after sales support professionals.
If you are experienced in one of the traditionally sought after roles like financial analysts and planners, accountants, insurance brokers and all-rounded finance managers, it will help you get a foot in the door. If not the process might be more complex but exploring the following platforms is a good place to start:
It would be fair to say that given the small size of the Lion city, the majority of job opportunities arise via contacts. So make sure your LinkedIn profile is up-to-date, before you start approaching potential head-hunters or companies of interest.
An alliance of the Singapore Economic Development Board and the Ministry of Manpower, Contacts in Singapore search global talent to work, invest and live in Singapore.
By creating an account and uploading a stellar CV on Monster, you’ll be introducing yourself to hundreds of potential key player in the Singapore recruitment and headhunting industry.
Jobstreet is one of the leading online recruitment providers in the Asia-Pacific. If you are looking for an entry level position, this is the place to go, but if you are planning your next upward career move, JobStreet might not be your first choice.
JobsDB is a leading job portal with substantial positions across China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore and Thailand, with a strong local presence in each country. Keep an eye out for potential great job offers posted on the site. You can then follow potential employers via LinkedIn and approach the HR manager directly. This way, you are sure to be noticed and will have the opportunity to guide them directly towards your profile.
The International Education and Career Fair is also held every year around March. Showcasing over 250 exhibiting institutions, it provides an excellent chance to network with potential employers in the fields of Manufacturing and Engineering, Healthcare, Tourism & Hospitality, Environmental Engineering, Aerospace, Maritime, Finance, Public and Social Service, Information and Communication Technology and many more.
Hands shaken, contracts signed. Now what?
You’ve jumped the first hurdle successfully and have been offered a position in a Singapore-based firm – congratulations are in order!
But before you can delight in the pleasures of the Merlion city, you need to apply for the appropriate type of work visa. What options are there available to you?
- Employment Pass Scheme (EP), meant for company owners or skilled employees with a fixed monthly salary over S$3,300 (as of 1 January 2014) and holders of degree from a reputable university. Your EP will be initially issued for 1-2 years (at the discretion of authorities) and will be renewable as long as you continue to be employed by the company.
- Entrepreneur Pass (EntrePass) Scheme, for owners of newly incorporated (or to be incorporated) Singapore companies who wish to relocate to Singapore to run their new business. It is initially issued for 1 year and it is continually renewed for as long as the business remains viable.
- Personalised Employment Pass (PEP) Scheme, a work permit scheme that does not tie you to any employer and as such you are free to change jobs without re-applying for a new PEP provided that you are not unemployed for more than six months.As you can imagine, the eligibility requirements for PEP are quite strict, being limited to well-paid professionals who want to try their luck in the Singapore executive job market. It is only issued for a non-renewable period of three years.
- S Pass Scheme, designed for mid-skilled employees with a fixed monthly salary of at least $2,200 (as of 1 July 2013). In this case, a degree is not necessary and a technical diploma is acceptable. Applicants will be assessed based on the employer’s quota eligibility and applicant’s qualifications. The S Pass Scheme will initially be issued for 1-2 years and can be renewed only if the S Pass holder continues to work for the same employer.
For more information on these or other types of visa, please visit the Ministry of Manpower website.
Landing in Changi
So, everything has gone according to plan and you and your family are now planning your new life. There are lots of things for you to consider from the type of schooling your children will be undertaking in Singapore, your accommodation, transport on the island and the cultural adjustment to the many rich and diverse cultural traditions.