Moving To Singapore From UK: A Quick 13-point Guide

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Singapore is an internationally renowned hotspot for tourism and expat employment. Singapore often ranks in the top five most desirable relocations.

Making an international move from the UK to Singapore has its challenges. Knowing where to start is vital to align your expectations and preparations. Relocating is a huge decision; you must consider your health insurance, education, employment, security, and other things. Before relocating from the UK to Singapore, you should be well-informed and well-equipped.

1. Secure Your Employment Pass

Singapore has a healthy, vibrant, and highly competitive employment market. If you’re moving to Singapore from the United Kingdom, chances are you are going there for work. Singapore prioritises permanent residents, but expats with longer passes get the edge.

Singapore offers a structured framework for foreign nationals seeking employment opportunities. The two primary work visa options for temporary stays are:

  • Employment Pass (EP): This visa is for skilled professionals earning a good salary (at least S$5,000 per month currently). It allows you to work for the length of your job contract, usually up to 3 years, with the chance to renew.
  • S Pass: This visa is for mid-skilled workers with a specific salary requirement (which can change). Valid for as long as your job contract lasts, with a maximum of 2 years and the possibility of renewal.

Remember: You’ll need a job offer from a Singapore company before applying for either visa. They’ll usually help you with the application process.

Your experience with well-known companies like Barclays, British Telecom, or Rolls-Royce is an asset! Here’s why:

  • UK firms in Singapore: Many British companies, including these examples, have offices in Singapore.
  • Matching skills: Your existing experience could be a perfect fit for similar jobs with these companies in Singapore.
  • Easier transition: Since you’re already familiar with the company culture, it could be a smoother move for you.

So, if you’re interested in working in Singapore, consider applying directly to these companies’ Singapore offices! You can leverage your existing experience and potentially apply for jobs directly with them in Singapore.

Planning on staying longer than a year? The Employment Pass is better for extended stays because it’s valid for longer.

2. Make Sure You’re Not Travelling With Controlled Items

You might be setting your sights on travelling after you have secured your work pass and got all your documents ready. Note that Singapore has a specific list of controlled items you should avoid carrying while travelling. The following are:

  • Chewing gum
  • Gun-shaped cigarette lighters
  • Fireworks of any type
  • Endangered species of wildlife and associated by-products
  • Chewing tobacco, imitation tobacco products and other tobacco products
  • Controlled drugs

3. Use Your Employment Pass To Secure A Bank Account

In Singapore you can obtain a bank account in multiple ways. You can apply directly at one of the banks’ branches.

Online applications are available where you fill out forms and upload documents. Some banks require proof of employment or income, and any work pass will serve as proof of employment. Others accept self-employed applicants without any documentation.

If you’re in a bind and need physical cash, you can use your existing card to withdraw money from ATMs. However, most ATMs belong to the M1 network, which uses MasterCard International Inc.’s Maestro system. Most banks issue their own plastic cards, called “local bank cards,” which usually work at ATMs within the same network. These cards function exclusively with a designated account, ensuring maximum security.

Credit and debit cards are a widely accepted payment method, allowing you to shop with ease almost anywhere. Visa Inc. and American Express Co. are among the major issuers of credit cards. Debit cards act as a direct link to your bank account. Many businesses widely accept debit cards for contactless transactions.

4. No Drop In Quality Of Education

Education is one of the biggest worries for students and parents alike.

Singapore ranks 7th out of 50 countries in the Global Expat Survey 2018. In the education category, Singapore scored highly for having “an excellent education system”. This is because the country provides public and private schools for students aged 3 to 18.

The government spends around 4 billion SGD (2.4 billion GBP) annually on education. This spending covers the costs of schools (both primary and secondary) and universities. Your education is in good hands.

5. Singlish Will Shorten Your Conversation Time

As you enter Singapore, you’ll happily notice that most of them speak in English. You might hear what sounds like a strong accent at first. But soon, you’ll notice unique words and phrases like “nehmind” (meaning “nevermind”) or “dowan” (meaning “I don’t want it”). These are examples of Singlish, a fun way of speaking English that uses shortened words and phrases!

Singapore has four official languages: English, Singaporean Mandarin, Malay, and Tamil. You can converse with the populace easily, as around 48% speak English. In comparison, about 30% speak Mandarin, followed by Malay at around 9% and Tamil at around 3%. With this amount of English speakers, it’s easy to find one just around the corner.

green trees in glass building

Image Credit: Unsplash

6. Clean, Spotless, And Affordable Public Transport

Singapore’s primary means of public transport are the MRT (Mass Rapid Transit) and the bus. During your first weeks in Singapore, it’s best to familiarise yourself with the place. Taking the bus might be a familiar sight as double-deckers and bendy buses grace the highways.

Around 40% of Singaporeans take the MRT, and you might want to take it too, as it usually costs 2.48 SGD (1.49 GPB) per journey compared to the UK’s 10.66 SGD (6.40 GPB) tickets. Owning an EZ-Link card helps ease transportation payments. Some shops and restaurants also accept this card as a mode of payment.

Singapore’s government doesn’t allow eating and drinking on their train. Singapore keeps their subway cars clean, so no more finding food wrappers or smelly food stains on trains.

7. Private Transport

Maybe all this discussion about public transport makes you want your own car. Owning a vehicle is a necessity in most cases. Especially, if you prefer driving in the comfort of your car.

To do that, you need to bid on a Certificate of Entitlement. This certificate entitles you to operate a vehicle for ten years. Singapore imposed this to motivate people to own vehicles, thus lessening road congestion.

City planning is challenging as there is little landmass to work around. Thus, their government tries to work around traffic and eliminate the chances of road congestion.

8. Plan Your Way Around The City

After you have chosen a mode of transportation, make sure you plan your way around the city. Familiarise yourself with key locations. This includes pinpointing local eateries, shopping centres, and perhaps even bustling market stalls. You might want to try every local dish on your first week, but note that you will stay for quite a bit; you still have time to do everything you want.

If you are feeling a bit homesick, you can try British restaurants such as Windsor Arms, The British Club, and Smiths Fish and Chips. All these provide you with a hint of the UK while in Singapore.

Getting distracted is easy, there are countless exciting things waiting around the corner. Planning ahead or marking locations on your map can make your travel easier when you first arrive in Singapore. When you first arrive in Singapore, having a simple plan can make it easier to get around the city. Marking spots on your map before your trip can save you time and stress when exploring Singapore for the first time.

people walking on street near building during daytime

Image Credit: Unsplash

9. Predictable Year-Round Weather

Singapore’s location makes it a great starting point for exploring Southeast Asia. Nothing’s stopping you from taking a weekend off at neighbouring places such as Bali, Thailand, Malaysia, and Indonesia.

Singapore has a hot and humid tropical climate (84% average humidity) with two annual monsoons. The Northeast Monsoon Season occurs from December to March, while the Southwest Monsoon Season is from June to September.

The UK’s cooler temperatures likely had you reaching for jackets regularly. Singapore has a predictable weather that ranges around 25 to 31 °C, so, no need to pack your thickest winter jackets.

The Northeast Monsoon also has a wet phase from December to January and a dry phase from February to March. During the wet phase, you would witness continuous moderate to heavy rainfall, while the dry phase is pleasant with little or no rain. Planning your outings is easier as the weather is more predictable.

10. Full Control Of Health Care

The NHS (National Health Service) has issues regarding its long waiting lists for special treatments when you want to use your health insurance card. Singapore has MediShield, a type of health insurance for larger hospital bills. MediSave is a mandatory savings plan, and MediFund is for citizens who cannot cover their hospital bills. Processing is smoother because of the multiple programs available.

With Permanent Residency, you become eligible to enjoy Singapore’s comprehensive healthcare benefits. Short-term visitors can get coverage through employer-provided international health insurance or by purchasing their own plan.

Taxes fund Singapore’s healthcare. The Singapore government aims to give you more control over the care given to you. With full control over your healthcare, you choose the treatments and medications that are right for you.

11. Singapore Is Ideal For Expats

The expat population in Singapore is around 29% of the total population. With so many expats, it’s natural to find comfort by connecting with others from your home country. If you’re moving to Singapore alone, you might want to visit these communities.

Singapore is a melting pot of different cultures. Singapore’s status as one of the safest countries for expats further fuels the vibrant mix of cultures. You can join any expat community and be on your way to making friends and learning more about living in Singapore.

green-leafed trees under clear sky

Image Credit: Unsplash

12. Contact A Mover Beforehand

One of your nightmares might be packing all your household items like your kitchen appliances, maybe you have pots passed down from your grandparents. You might have kitchen knives that you want to bring everywhere or your comfortable pillows that will occupy all your precious luggage space.

One of the only solutions for this dilemma is to engage with a professional mover.

Sanelo is your trusted partner for all relocation needs, providing seamless support for moving locally or moving internationally. We offer door-to-door services, where you do not have to lift a finger!

Check out some of our services here:

You’ll just sit back, relax, and enjoy your flight to a new life that awaits you!

Conclusion On Moving From UK To Singapore

Singapore has a lot to offer, from its rich culture and unique status as an island city-state to its fantastic weather. A country full of opportunities and possibilities for people who are up for it.

Moving to a new country can be nerve-wracking, but Singapore’s friendly expat community makes settling in a breeze! All this information will equip you with your move, and good luck with your new adventure.

For more information about other Southeast Asian countries, check out our articles about Malaysia or the Philippines.

Frequently Asked Questions About Moving From UK To Singapore

Can A UK Citizen Move To Singapore?

Brits! Visiting Singapore is visa-free, but working there requires an employment pass. Make sure you secure this document before moving for work-related reasons.

Is Singapore Friendly To Foreigners?

Singapore’s a vibrant mix of cultures. English fluency reaches about half of Singapore’s population, with expats making up a significant portion of residents. Singapore is also one of the safest countries for expats.

Is Singapore a Good Place to Live?

Singapore welcomes expats with open arms, making it the smoothest transition in Asia

Can Sanelo Help Me Relocate From the UK To Singapore?

Of course we can! We relocate people all over the world, with a lot of those moves being to Singapore.

Ready to make the move? Click here to fill out your moving details. Your dedicated Relocation Expert will be in contact with you and talk you through the process.

If you have more questions click here and find your local office.


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