Is Singapore worth the effort for expats

Published:  4 Jan at 6 PM
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Due to its recent rating as the 16th most expensive world destinations for expat professionals, Singapore’s reputation as a hub for the good life may be at risk.

When it comes down to choosing a country which delivers the perfect expat professional environment, earnings versus expenses are a prime consideration. Those on expatriate contracts are still being provided with car and housing allowances, enabling a comfortable lifestyle similar to that in their home countries. However, those on local terms may not be in this enviable situation.

Various surveys give varied results on the city-state’s desirability as regards the expat life, with one ranking it for the last three years as the most expensive in the world for expatriates. Another placed it 16th in its 2016 study, but failed to factor in costs such as transport, rentals and, importantly for many overseas workers with trailing families, international schooling costs. A third concentrated on the annual increase in tuition fees which caused Singapore’s ranking to jump from 18th the 16th place as regards living expenses.

All surveys use different methodologies and achieve varied results, but the general impression is that the good life in Singapore is not shared equally between foreign professionals. Broadly speaking, it seems expat life in the city is even more expensive than in Switzerland and Hong Kong, especially if school fees are taken into account and, on average, expat salaries are substantially lower than in both the other destinations. Adding in domestic help, recreation, utilities and suchlike, it seems that Singapore isn’t the expat professional dream its reputation suggests.

Although older applicants can expect to be paid extra commensurate with their experience levels, that’s no comfort for those being paid on local terms at a rate of no less than $3,300 monthly, the minimum wage required before an employment pass is granted. It would seem that dual standards compounded by ever-rising costs could mean the much-admired Singapore lifestyle isn’t a reality for a good number of its expat professionals.

Source – The Middle Ground
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