Complete Guide About Moving From Japan To Singapore

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Singapore might be one of the smallest countries in the world, but packed in its 733 square kilometres is one of the most exciting places to go to. Singapore is a financial and business centre, a go-to destination for many foreign workers and travellers, and a cultural melting pot.

If you are from Japan and are planning to relocate to Singapore, you’ll be glad to know that several things will be familiar. At the same time, Singapore is sure to be a delight as you discover the many facets of its own personality.

This guide will explore essential points you must prepare for when relocating to Singapore from Japan. The local job market, the differences in cost of living and climate, and a few tips on how to make new connections in a new country.

1. Singapore Is A Melting Pot Of Diversity And Opportunity

Much like Japan, Singapore is a financial centre and is considered a real destination for many foreigners. In 2019, surveys estimated that more than a third of the workforce in Singapore are foreign nationals.

This means that despite its small size, you will be brushing elbows with people worldwide. Some of the best parts about being in such a cultural mix is experiencing the best of these cultures. Holidays, festivals, particular customs, the chance to share these with people from all over the world is something to look forward to.

Speaking of culture, food is one of its most essential aspects. If you are a foodie, you’ll be glad to know that Singapore is known as a “food paradise”. So many flavours to explore, spices to discover, and new dishes to try.

people walking on street near building during daytime

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2. Apply For An Employment Pass That’s Right For You

You will need a new job to truly relocate to a new country. This is necessary to be awarded a working visa that will allow you to stay in Singapore for an extended period.

There are many different types of employment passes depending on the type of work you intend to do, e.g. professionals, skilled and semi-skilled workers, and students. You may view the full list of employment passes on the Ministry of Manpower website.

As a professional, you’ll probably look into the Employment Pass. This pass requires an income of at least 5,000 SGD and may allow you to stay anywhere between two to five years in the country. Your employer will need to apply on your behalf, so you must get the terms of your employment clearly.

There are a variety of considerations when it comes to qualifying for a working visa in Singapore, as well as the benefits you may receive. So, you will need to do thorough research to make the right call.

3. The Difference In The Cost Of Living Might Need You To Budget

Though Singapore and Japan share many similarities as financial centres with very strong economies, Singapore’s limited real estate has added to the cost of living. While Japan’s major cities like Tokyo or Shibuya can get very expensive, there’s still a lot of space to settle down in that won’t burn a hole in your wallet.

According to financial websites that track the comparative cost of living, Singapore is anywhere between 24% to 52% higher in cost of living compared to Japan.

A single person will need roughly 1,400 SGD (141,582.47 JPY) for their monthly costs in Singapore before rent. For a family of 4, monthly costs will be around 5,200 SGD (525,877.73 JPY), also excluding rent.

Rent for a one-bedroom will cost between 2,000 to 5,000 SGD (202,260.66 to 505,651.66 JPY), depending on how close you are to the city centre. For a three-bedroom fit for a small family, rent starts at 3,000 up to 11,000 SGD (303,391.00 to 1,112,433.66 JPY).

4. Prepare To Overhaul Your Wardrobe For Singapore’s Tropical Climate

Singapore sits less than a hundred miles north of the equator. This means that Singapore has a tropical climate and is characterised by lots of rainfall, high but consistent temperatures, and high humidity.

Throughout the year, average temperatures rarely go below 19°C or any higher than 36°C. Singapore also has two monsoon seasons, with the wet months between November to February. Singapore also sees a lot of precipitation, with an average of 170 days of rain in a year.

In contrast, Japan has four seasons, and the climate in the northern part of the country can vary greatly compared to the southern parts. There is also a more significant difference between the low temperatures of the winter months and the summer months’ heat.

So, depending on where you are coming from and what climate you are used to, be sure you’re packing the right clothes and not bringing any extra thick fur coats when moving to Singapore!

5. You’ll Probably Need To Put In A Little Time To Learn Singlish

Officially, the languages of Singapore are English, Malay, Mandarin, and Tamil. For the most part, you’ll be able to communicate with most people in English, as more than a third of Singaporeans speak English.

However, it would also be best to look into Singlish, an informal or English-based creole language spoken in Singapore. Thanks to the introduction of English in schools, people took on speaking English alongside Malay, Mandarin, and Tamil. The natural evolution of language paved the way for an unusual blending of many different elements from each of these languages to birth something new; thus, Singlish was born.

Though it may sound “broken” to an outsider, throughout the years, Singlish has formed its own distinct cadence, grammar, syntax, and an assortment of particles that add meaning and nuance to every sentence. If you plan on staying in Singapore for a long time, it is best to pick up a few Singlish lessons here and there to better communicate with your new neighbours.

cars on road near buildings during daytime

Image Credit: Unsplash

6. Learn To Navigate Public Transport, As Private Vehicles Are Somewhat Limited

One thing that you will need to embrace in Singapore is the usage of public transportation. That’s not much of a problem, though, as the public transportation or Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) subway system is excellent.

Coming from Japan, you will most likely be accustomed to very efficient public transport, and sure enough, the MRT system of Singapore will not disappoint. It’s clean, fast, very accessible, and quite affordable. Fares can be anywhere from 1 to 2.50 SGD based on distance.

However, if you were a fan of driving, that might need some reconsideration. In Singapore, you will need a Certificate of Entitlement which allows you to own a vehicle for the next ten years. This is due to the Vehicle Quota System. This scheme allows the government to limit the number of cars to regulate the number of vehicles that are running on the streets.

As we’ve mentioned before, Singapore doesn’t have a lot of real estate, so making sure to efficiently use what they have is very important. And not letting everyone have a car and adding to traffic is very effective!

7. Healthcare In Singapore Is World-class

In Singapore, healthcare is available for citizens and permanent residents. The service, known as MediShield Life, is government subsidised and recognised throughout the world as one of the best healthcare services.

Unfortunately, this service is unavailable for all expats in Singapore on a work visa. Depending on your type of pass, your insurance may be provided for by your employer, or you would need to pay out of pocket.

An S-pass allows a foreign national to work in Singapore. Though the requirements are not as high as the E-pass regarding skill and minimum earnings, it has the added benefit of a government mandate. This means that employers will need to provide S-pass workers with healthcare.

On the other hand, if you are an E-pass holder, it is at your employer’s discretion to provide you with insurance. But thanks to the higher pay for most E-pass holders, they may opt to pay for insurance out of pocket.

8. Meeting People And Making Friends In Singapore As An Expat Is Easier Than You Think

Singapore may be small in size, but there are a lot of people that call this city-state home. In fact, almost 29% of the population of Singapore are expats. That’s millions of people going on an adventure, braving the world, chasing their dreams, and along the way making new communities.

If you are moving to Singapore alone, these expat communities might be a great way to not feel so lonely.

There are people from all over the world speaking many different kinds of languages. Diversity and the abundance of opportunity is a tremendous driving force that makes Singapore an excellent destination for expats. If you look up message boards, forums, or online groups, you can find many activities hosted by people who might be in the same boat as you.

9. Reduce Your Stress By Engaging With Professional Movers

Relocating from Japan to Singapore will take a lot of planning. You will need to sort out your belongings and which ones to bring, sell, or donate. You will need to double-check that all documents, necessary passes, and tickets have been safely filed, especially regarding covid restrictions.

The move can be a lot. That’s why partnering with a trusted professional mover like Sanelo is the best way for you to have a successful and stress-free relocation.

Sanelo has years of experience in both local and international moves. You won’t need to worry about your belongings, as they will all be taken care of by Sanelo and our shipment protection services. You’ll just sit back, relax, and enjoy your flight.

Conclusion On Moving To Singapore From Japan

Singapore is an amazing country with so many things to offer. From excellent public services like transportation and healthcare to the abundance of opportunities in the job market to the very high quality of living.

Singapore also has a very diverse population that makes it easier for you to adjust and find new communities of people. Singapore has beautiful sights, is known as a food lover’s paradise, and has all the modern amenities that anyone would expect from a highly urbanised country. And so much more!

Still unsure? Check out some of our other guides on other destinations, such as Thailand or Hong Kong!

Frequently Asked Questions About Moving To Singapore From Japan

Is Moving To Singapore Worth It?

Yes. Singapore is great, full of opportunities, cultural diversity, modern amenities, agreeable weather, and much more.

Is Singapore Expensive To Live In?

Due to its limited land space, rent and housing in Singapore can get expensive. But the high quality of living and excellent public services do make up for the costs.

Can You Move To Singapore Without A Job?

If you have a Japanese passport, you may enter Singapore without a visa and stay for 90 days. If you wish to stay longer and move to Singapore, you will need to acquire a work visa.

How Soon Should I Engage With Sanelo?

It is best to engage with Sanelo three months before the intended moving date. You may call or email us through our website, and one of our representatives will gladly assist you through the process.


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