Moving to Singapore
Are you moving to Singapore?
Are you and your family planning to move to the Lion City, Singapore? Moving to a new country can be an exciting yet daunting experience, especially when children are involved. Here are some tips to help you and your family settle in Singapore smoothly.
Cost of living
First and foremost, research the cost of living in Singapore. Singapore has a relatively high cost of living compared to other countries in Southeast Asia. Rent, transportation and food are the most significant expenses you must factor in. Something unique to Singapore is COE, a quota system controlling vehicle ownership by auctioning limited certificates, which is an extra cost to the purchase price of a car. It varies for vehicle categories and fluctuates during auctions (the average COE price for cars above 1600cc is close to SGD 50,000).
Finding a place to live is an important step. Singapore has many different housing options, so finding the location that fits your needs and lifestyle is essential. For example, if you work in the central business district, living in the downtown area could be convenient for you. On the other hand, if you have children, consider living in a residential area close to reputable international schools. Living in a location close to your children’s school can also reduce the daily commute time. Property Guru is one popular property website in Singapore, a great place to start your real estate search.
Finding the right school for your children is a top priority. Singapore has a reputation for having a solid education system, and there are many excellent international schools to choose from. Do some previous research and visit the schools to understand their programs and facilities, the school’s location and transportation options, as well as the cost of tuition.
Getting your family’s healthcare needs sorted is crucial. Singapore has an excellent healthcare system, with many private hospitals and clinics, such as Singapore General Hospital, Mount Elizabeth Hospital – Orchard, Gleneagles Hospital, Tan Tock Seng Hospital, and Mount Elizabeth Novena Hospital. Remember to ensure your family has the appropriate health insurance coverage to protect you in any unforeseen medical emergencies.
Applying for a visa is also crucial for your spouse expats who want to work or study in Singapore. Various visa types are available, so choose the right one for your needs. The Singapore visas are divided into visas for professionals, skilled and semi-skilled workers, trainees and students, and short-term work passes. Be sure to apply for your visa in advance to ensure timely and smooth sailing. You can find updated information on the Ministry of Manpower website.
Finally, another hassle might be setting up bank accounts, utilities, and a mobile provider. Some of the most popular banks in the city are DBS, OCBC, UOB, and Standard Chartered, among others. Usually, they ask for your passport and proof of residence. Having a local bank account will make managing your finances and paying bills easier. Regarding internet and mobile services, those with a Dependant Pass can’t apply for a contract, only prepaid cards. Singapore has four Mobile Network Operators (MNOs): M1, Singtel, StarHub and SIMBA. Lastly, we recommend setting up utilities like electricity before moving in. SP Services is the primary provider.
Familiarizing with the local culture helps to make the transition smoother. Singapore is a melting pot of different cultures, and you’ll find that many people speak English fluently. Getting involved in the local community is also a great way to help your family settle in. Joining groups and clubs can help you meet new people, learn about the local culture, and participate in community events. There are many different organizations for families with children, such as playgroups, sports teams, and arts and crafts clubs.
Meeting other expats is a great way to make new friends. You can join many groups and clubs, such as expat networking or hobby-based groups. Here are some examples of nationality-focused clubs or associations: The British Club, The American Club, The Hollandse Club, The American Association of Singapore (AAS), The British Association (BA), The Australian and New Zealand Association (ANZA), Asociacion Española de Singapur (AES), American Women Association (AWA), Spanish Speaking Women Association (SWAA), Scandinavian Women’s Association, The Italian Women’s Group or The Indian Women’s Association.
If you are into sports or leisure, there is also sportive and social club offering: Singapore Polo Club, Singapore Cricket Club, Laguna National Golf and Country Club, ONE°15 Marina Club, The Tanglin Club, Raffles Town Club, Singapore Island Country Club, 1880 or Mandala Clan among others.
Another great way to connect is through the chambers of commerce present in Singapore: the American Chamber of Commerce, British Chamber of Commerce, Australian Chamber of Commerce, and European Chamber of Commerce, to mention a few.
Singapore is a safe and family-friendly city with many parks, museums, and other attractions suitable for children of all ages. Explore the city and its offers, such as the Singapore Zoo, the Science Centre, and the Gardens by the Bay. These experiences can help your children feel more at home in their new surroundings.