Complete Guide About Moving From Hong Kong To Singapore: 9 Financial Talking Points

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When moving from Hong Kong to Singapore, it’s easy to think of all the opportunities and possibilities in your grasp. This is true, especially because Hong Kong and Singapore are very similar. Also, others have successfully moved to Singapore from Hong Kong and have prospered.

Both Singapore and Hong Kong are considered one of the Four Asian Tigers, which underwent massive and sustained growth over the past few decades. Singapore and Hong Kong have been competing for the title of the best place to do business in Asia, and Singapore has its advantages over Hong Kong. It’s natural to talk about the cost of moving from Hong Kong to Singapore or how much tax incentives are available for businesses.

1. Visas Cater To Different Professionals

Finding the appropriate visa before entering Singapore is simple, yet many options can overwhelm you. It’s best to lay out the most common categories you might qualify for and which ones work best for your situation.

S Pass

An S Pass is perfect if you have less work experience, such as if you’re a fresh graduate or if you just started as an employee. S Pass holders are eligible for a fixed monthly salary of at least SGD 2,300. This amount is usually for workers with less experience or those who recently graduated. If you don’t have any experience in Hong Kong, you can still move to Singapore with this pass as long as you have the proper certification.

Employment Pass

Another type is the employment pass which is perfect if your Hong Kong company transferred you to a different branch in Singapore. This pass is usually granted to workers who are taking up a managerial, executive or specialised position. The usual salary for owners of an employment pass starts at SGD 3,600 at the very least.

Applying for this pass usually starts with your employer sending consent to apply for this pass on your behalf. They then have to submit all the required documents and the processing fee. Once approved, your employer will receive an approval letter which they will send to you.

You could then enter Singapore with this pass, and while in Singapore, your employer will submit another application to get your pass issued. Once approved, you can start working under an Employment Pass. If your employer offers you a position in Singapore, try to ensure you are applying or have been granted this pass.

Entre Pass

This pass is the best if you plan on bringing your business from Hong Kong to Singapore or opening your own business in Singapore. What they usually look for is if your business can offer employment opportunities for Singaporeans. It’s easier to pass this criterion since whatever business practices you apply in Hong Kong are easily applicable in Singapore. Another is that your company should be registered with Account and Corporate Regulatory (ACRA).

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2. Similar Cultures With Subtle Differences

Feeling alienated is one of the most common things expats feel in a new country. Getting culture-shocked, having language barriers, and even something as simple as not knowing where the local grocery store is can make you anxious. However, here are the similarities between Singapore and Hong Kong to ease your transition.


Regarding great gastronomic experiences, you should note that Singapore comprises a combination of Malay, Chinese, Indian, and Western cuisines. Hong Kong is more on roast pork, beef noodles, and other Chinese food. This also means that Singapore has more varieties of food, and you can enjoy a range from western steaks to kimchi sets. You still feel at home while experiencing new cuisine.


Singapore’s origins are Austronesian people from Taiwan, and it has its own unique blend of multiple ethnic influences such as Chinese, Malay, Indian, and others. On the other hand, Hong Kong’s foundation began with Lingnan’s Cantonese culture. Currently, Hong Kong has a mix of Chinese, British and Western cultures. They have similar cultures with subtle differences.

It’s easier to adapt to a place with similar cultures. Also, setting up a business is easier as it’s easy to communicate with the locals and relate to them due to having similar cultures and a multitude of the populace speaking Chinese and Mandarin Chinese.

Safety And Cleanliness

Both Singapore and Hong Kong are considered safe and clean countries. Singapore’s crime rate averages around 596 cases for every 100 thousand people, while Hong Kong averages 936 cases for every 100 thousand people. Singapore and Hong Kong are close to each other in this regard, and if you feel safe in Hong Kong, you will feel safer in Singapore. This is a great deal as a safe country attracts potential business owners creating more opportunities for employers and other business owners alike.

Both Singapore and Hong Kong implement great regulations towards cleanliness, and you won’t experience culture shock as you’re used to these regulations. Also, both countries focus a great deal on the environment and mixing nature with architecture.

3. A Surge In Arrivals

According to figures released by Singapore’s tourism board, visitor arrivals from Hong Kong doubled in 2022. According to industry players, some of those arrivals intend to settle in Singapore and turn to co-living spaces, while others are looking for short-term stays.

Businesses that offer shared living space noticed a rise in bookings from Hong Kongers. Bookings from Hong Kong increased by 25% from 2020 to 2021. This means that you would see many expats with the same experience or background as you. It’s always easier to see many expats with whom you can relate, or you could even form new communities.

Also, if you’re planning on setting up a business in Singapore, this surge in arrivals is a perfect opportunity to attract and gain customers. Other hotels and co-living spaces are reaping the benefits of this surge. You can also help other people with this exodus by providing fair services.

4. Relaxed Quarantine Requirements

People arriving in Hong Kong must remain quarantined for at least seven days. They must also undergo multiple Covid tests. Visitors are required to self-quarantine even if they do not show symptoms.

In contrast, Singapore has gradually relaxed quarantine requirements when entering the city. Now, visitors coming into the island city-state don’t need to quarantine; instead, they need to show proof of vaccination. You get to save up on quarantine expenses, or you can start earning earlier than if you were quarantined. Entering the city is easier when you compare it to other countries.

5. You Net A Higher Amount In Singapore

Singapore and Hong Kong have been in contention as the best place to do business. Singapore’s competitive economy is on par with Hong Kong’s economic landscape. Getting into the boring nitty gritty, Singapore’s individual income tax rate begins at 3.5% and goes up to 20% for income above SGD 320,000. In Hong Kong, on the other hand, taxation starts at 2% and goes up to 17% for income above SGD 21,126 (120,000 HKD).

These differences may seem minimal, but if you look at the income brackets, you will pay less individual income tax in Singapore than in Hong Kong. This means that if you have the same gross income in Singapore and Hong Kong, your net will be higher in Singapore.

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6. Your Salary Has More Weight

Singapore is as much of a financial hub as Hong Kong. Naturally, people would compare the cost of living in both countries as your increased expenses might be under the guise of great opportunities and economic freedom.

If you live alone, the average cost of living in Singapore is 13% cheaper than in Hong Kong, rent is 18% cheaper, and food expenses are 6% cheaper. Raising a family is 16%% cheaper in Singapore, and you save 25% on rent. Looking at the bigger picture, Singapore nets you more savings than Hong Kong. Pair this with the income tax brackets, and your salary has more weight in Singapore than in Hong Kong.

7. Singapore Is Geared For Sustainable Growth

Singapore and Hong Kong have respectable relations with different countries on the employment and business side of things. These relations are reflected through DTTs or Double Tax Treaties. These double tax treaties are agreements between two countries to reduce the tax a worker or company should pay.

Singapore has 90 comprehensive DTTs from countries like Australia, Canada, China, India, Japan, Korea, and more, while Hong Kong has 45 DTTs. Singapore is geared for growth as these countries would be the spark in encouraging investment towards creating new companies. This further creates a chain where a new company arises, and other countries trust Singapore more, creating more opportunities and stabilising job opportunities for more tenured companies.

For new opportunities in business, Singapore has tax incentives you can take advantage of. There is a 75% tax exemption on the first 100,000 SGD and an additional 50% exemption on the following SGD 100,000 taxable income. The Singapore government developed this tax exemption unavailable  in Hong Kong. This means that you are worry-free of tax on your first few thousand dollars.

All these are things that other investors also look creates a healthy competitive economy for both old and new companies. Singapore might be your start towards financial prosperity.

8. Singapore Is Warmer

Climate should be a talking point for infrastructure as it determines whether you would incur additional appliances such as water heating, air conditioning units, or extra costs in proper drainage.

The climate in Singapore and Hong Kong are relatively similar. Maximum temperatures for both countries are similar from June to October, while Singapore is warmer for the first few months at the start and end of the year. Similarly, water temperatures are higher in Singapore during the same months at the start and end of the year. This means that ventilation and air conditioning will help increase the value of your establishments. Having both of these will give you an edge over business competitors.

Throughout the year, Singapore has more rainy days than Hong Kong. Usually, in January, there are only four days of rain in Hong Kong, while Singapore has around 11 days of rain. Only from June to August does Hong Kong have more days of rain than Singapore. An average of 15 days of rain in Hong Kong compared to Singapore’s ten days of rain during these months.

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9. Hiring A Moving Company Will Reduce Expenses

Your decision to move to Singapore from Hong Kong will incur inevitable expenses like plane tickets or other transportation costs. Worrying about the logistics of your luggage is stressful enough, and you should mitigate stress and expenses from your move. Moving your items with a highly experienced company is more cost-efficient than selling and repurchasing new furniture and appliances.

Hiring a professional moving company like Sanelo will help save you money with their fair rates. Damages to your items are covered by their shipment protection services which you can have for local and international moves. You will have a worry-free trip because Sanelo will worry about your shipment for you.

Conclusions About Moving From Hong Kong To Singapore

Moving from Hong Kong to Singapore has its pros and cons, but you are in a better financial position in Singapore. Transitioning is smooth as the culture, and spoken language are identical.

Different types of visas help align your skillset and work experience with the appropriate salary and compensation. Setting up a business after saving up for a few years is something you can aim for, as Singapore is geared towards sustainable growth, creating more opportunities for you and your potential business.

Here are other articles on other countries in Asia like Kuala Lumpur or Beijing.

Frequently Asked Questions About Moving From Hong Kong To Singapore

Do Hong Kongers Need A Visa For Singapore?

For visits up to 30 days, a visa is not required for Special Administrative Region (SAR) passport holders. However, visas like S Pass or Employment Passes are required if you wish to work.

Can Singaporeans Speak Cantonese?

Most Singaporeans are bilingual in English and one of their three other official languages. An example would be a Singaporean speaking in English who can also speak Mandarin, Malay, or other Chinese varieties such as Hokkien, Teochew, and Cantonese.

Is Hong Kong The Same As Singapore?

Hong Kong and Singapore have similar cultures and languages and are located in Southeast Asia. They are separate entities and countries and are one of the Four Asian Tigers that had an economic boom in the past decades.

How To Get A Quote From Movers?

Most professional movers like Sanelo provide quotes through email or call on their contact us page. It is best to have a list of the items you have beforehand, so the quote is more accurate.


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