A number of expats choose to live in Singapore, especially compared to other areas of South East Asia, because of the easy transition to the new way of life, the good safety levels and high standard of education and employment. Expats claim that Singapore is something of a home from home for them. It offers a multi-cultural feel but is a good option for family life, with safety and cleanliness both top priorities.
An important factor for parents is education and Singapore offers exceptional learning opportunities for children. Due to its excellent reputation, competition for places is becoming more intense. The local schools have well-behaved pupils with excellent results. Pupils learn English and Mandarin during their education and are often high-achievers.Many parents feel safe leaving their children at nursery due to the safety procedures in place in Singapore. It is reported that parents feel more at ease letting their children play outside with other children and use transportation in the evening compared to in Australia/the UK/the US due to low crime levels.
Singapore offers plenty of work opportunities and is business-friendly. It offers low taxes and the opportunity to save a lot of money in a short space of time. Singapore has a stable economy, despite the recent global recession and large businesses and trade headquarters settle in the city, offering numerous senior positions for locals and expats. It offers exceptional career progression and good salary and remuneration packages. Bosses are able to negotiate contracts with expats which cover housing and education, and due to the high cost of living in Singapore, families should take advantage of such packages.
Singaporeans are very family-orientated and as such, there is not a huge social life for colleagues outside of work. Most Singaporeans work hard and return home for the limited ‘rest’ time they have. Work life in Singapore is highly pressured. Stress is high and there is a strong work ethic, which often means driving people to work longer hours and earn more money to provide for their families. Often one member of a family will work long hours but earn enough to support the whole family; or where families have two working parents, they sometimes choose to hire a cleaner/maid/nanny, who are widely available and cheap.
Singapore offers a welcome to expats, with a strong network of social clubs which help families, in particular, settle and meet new people. They organise a number of social events and leisure activities to take part in. Singaporeans also welcome diversity and are generally helpful to those who are new to the area.
Families can enjoy a good and varied social life, including lots of choice for places to eat to suit all budgets and tastes, excellent transportation and everything within easy access. It is easy enough to navigate and become familiar with all areas of Singapore, due to its relatively small size.
Despite a large percentage of the city being occupied by sky scrapers, expats can also enjoy many zoos, parks and gardens.
Singapore has strict laws and generally people abide by rules. The city has exceptionally strict drug laws and therefore, crime is lower. As a result, families feel safer.
The majority of people in Singapore are English speaking but Singapore offers a good cultural experience.
Singapore is within easy access to places such as Indonesia, which makes it ideal for travel and family holidays, as well as great options for expats who have relatives visiting who might like to explore that part of the world.
Medical insurance is offered in expat packages and usually covers 100% of medical costs. Singapore has a global reputation for excellent healthcare and in the year 2000 was rated 6th best in the world (according to the World Health Organization). The cost of healthcare for an expat does not differ greatly between the public and private sector in Singapore and although both are of a high standard, private care offers shorter waiting times and more individualized care plans.
Although the city is the world’s eighth most expensive to live in and high humidity causes some grumbles amongst the expat community, it is a favorite for expats for the reasons mentioned above and provides families with a varied and interesting lifestyle.