Find A Job
Singapore is home to one of the most secure economies in the world, and its workforce includes high numbers of expats, making it a popular choice for foreign citizens looking to work abroad. Singaporean employers are often keen to acquire skilled workers from other countries and salaries can therefore be extremely competitive. Unemployment is low at 2.2% and society is multicultural with many employees hailing from other parts of Asia, particularly China and India, as well as numerous individuals and families relocating to Singapore from all over the world.
Electronics and chemicals are two sectors that Singapore continually has vacancies within, with financial services and ship repair a close second in terms of needing new employees. Due to recent alterations instigated by the government, unskilled workers are less likely to find gainful employment in Singapore; however, the country remains an attractive prospect for graduates.
According to the Manpower Group’s Talent Shortage Survey, more than half of Singaporean employers struggle to fill open vacancies, largely due to applicants with a lack of relevant skills and experience. The hardest to fill jobs are listed as:
• Certified accountants
• Online security experts
• Engineers (chemical, civil and electrical)
In order to apply for jobs in Singapore, you should initially research the sectors you hope to work in. Gaining background knowledge on how your area of expertise perhaps differs in another country can help you to decide which jobs to apply for. You do not need to be resident in the country in order to apply for jobs; there are numerous websites that enable jobseekers to apply online. Some popular recruitment agencies include the following.
Applying For A Job
You will need to have a CV in order to apply for some jobs while others may require completion of an online application form. Your CV should be written professionally and set out in the standard format, detailing your qualifications, experience and relevant employment history. Keep it simple and highlight your strengths as often as possible to give yourself the best chance of getting an interview.
If you are applying for jobs in Singapore from abroad, and you make it to interview stage, you are likely to be offered a telephone or online interview. If your interview involves video calling, remember to dress as professionally as you would for a face-to-face meeting.
All expats wanting to work in Singapore must hold a valid visa or permit and you will need to secure a job before applying for a work visa. There are many different permits available, including:
• Employment pass – for professionals, managers and executives. To be eligible for this visa, you will need to earn at least £2,041 per month and hold certain qualifications.
• EntrePass – for entrepreneurs who would like to start a business in Singapore.
• Personalised Employment Pass – for those with an exceptionally high level of income.
• Work Permit for Foreign Worker – for semi-skilled workers, including those in the constructions or manufacturing trades.
• S Pass – for mid-level skilled workers.
• Miscellaneous Work Pass – for individuals undertaking a temporary work assignment for a maximum of 60 days.
Singapore is a popular tourist destination so there is always work available during the summer in hotels and hostels, bars and restaurants. If you are aged between 18 and 25, you may be eligible to apply for the Singapore Work Holiday Programme, which allows students from a permitted eight countries (including the UK) to work in the country for up to six months on a holiday visa.
Volunteering opportunities are abundant in Singapore and can be a great way of gaining experience if you can afford to support yourself whilst not earning. There are plenty of voluntary positions available in childcare, animal conservation, health and social care and education.
Qualified teachers who are also native English speakers are eligible to apply for teaching jobs in Singapore, as English is the country’s official language of education. There is also a demand for TEFL teachers due to the high numbers of expats from non-English speaking countries, though opportunities for these jobs are not as prevalent as in other Asian countries.
Singapore has four official languages: English, Malay, Mandarin and Tamil. Most natives speak more than one of these languages. Native or proficient English speakers will have no issues communicating or working in Singapore as English is the country’s official language of both business and education.
Qualifications And Training
Qualifications gained in the UK are largely recognised in Singapore as the country’s education system is based on the British system, so explaining your qualifications in an interview situation should not prove problematic.
Most employees based in Singapore work around 50 hours a week based on Monday – Friday 9am – 6pm and a half day on Saturdays, though working weekends is less prevalent than it once was. As an employee, you will be entitled to between 7 and 14 days of holiday each year, depending upon length of service and seniority. However, this is boosted by the following 11 days of public holidays:
• New Year’s Day
• Chinese New Year (two days)
• Good Friday
• Labour Day
• Vesak Day
• Hari Raya Puasa
• National Day
• Hari Raya Haji
• Christmas Day
Apply For A Visa/Permit
If you are a commonwealth citizen travelling to a third country, have a valid passport and hold onward tickets, you may enter Singapore without a visa.
If you are going to visit Singapore for up to 30 days, and will not be undertaking any work, you will not need a Visa unless you are a national from: Afghanistan; Algeria; Bangladesh; Egypt; India; Iran; Central Asian states and Russia; Iraq; Jordan; Lebanon; Libya; Morocco; Myanmar; People’s Republic of China; Pakistan; Saudi Arabia; Somali; Sudan; Syria; Tunisia; Yemen.
All visitors must have a passport which is valid for at least 6 months beyond the date of entry into Singapore. When you leave, departure tax has been included in your air fare so no further tax payment is needed.
If you come in via the bus routes from Johor Bharu or Malaysia’s west coast, the buses will wait while the passengers go through immigration and customs checks.
If you wish to extend your trip, you must apply for official permission or you will receive a fine for staying without permission. Applications take at least a day to process, and will cost $40. You can can apply online at www.ica.gov.sq, or in person at the Immigration & Checkpoints Authority, 10 Kallang Road, 63916100 (near the Lavender Metro).
If you wish to work in Singapore, you must first find employment from abroad and must not enter Singapore to seek work. Employers must pay a foreign worker levy each month they employ someone from abroad, and can only take on staff from abroad under the quota levels for that type of work visa. The Singapore Ministry Of Manpower (MOM) expects employers to prove that they first considered local employees fairly for jobs, based on merit, with firms facing additional scrutiny and having work pass privileges curtailed if discriminatory hiring practices are found. All job vacancies must be open to locals, and the vacancy must be advertised on the jobs board administered by the Singapore Workforce Development Agency (WDA) for at least 14 days. Only after that process is undertaken can the employer apply for an Employment Pass for foreign nationals, and part of the process for the first application includes scrutiny of the business activities of the company.
Should you find employment, there are many different categories of work visa, and an application must be made, usually by the employer, for the correct one.
1.Visa Passes for Professionals
For professional and managerial work there are three types of Visas available; the Employment Pass, which itself has the three levels of P1, P2 and Q level; the Personalised Employment Pass (PEP); and the Entre-Pass.
Employment Pass (EP): For Professional Staff
This type of Visa has 3 categories, and the circumstances of each applicant must meet the strict criteria
a.The P1 Visa
• Earns a minimum of S$8,000 per month
• Has academic and professional qualifications for the employment
• They may apply for Visas for their spouse and children, plus Visas for their parents if they earn more than S$10,000 per month, but no other relatives
b) The P2 Visa
• Earns a minimum of S$4,500 per month
• Has academic and professional qualifications for the employment
• They may apply for Visas for their spouse and children, but not their parents or other relatives
c) The Q1 Visa
• Earns a minimum of S$3,300 per month (S$3,600 from January 2017)
• Has academic and professional qualifications for the employment
• Must earn a fixed monthly salary of at least $5,000 before they can apply for Visas for their spouse and children
Personalised Employment Pass (PEP): For High Earning Executives
• Last drawn monthly salary must be a minimum of S$18,000, or must previously have held a P1 Employment Pass and earned at least S$12,000 per month
• Once granted, holder must earn a minimum of S$144,000 per annum
• Issued once, for a term of 3 years; cannot be renewed
• The holder can move to a different employer without having to apply for a new pass
• Can stay in Singapore without employment for up to six months
• Not allowed to participate in entrepreneurial activities
• Can apply for Visas for their spouse, children (under 21 years of age) and parents
Entre-Pass: For Entrepreneurs
• For eligible foreign entrepreneurs wanting to start and operate a new business in Singapore
• Minimum share capital requirements
• Annual conditions to be met
• Annual business spend
• Assessed employment of Singapore citizens/Permanent Residents (PR)
• Initially a 2 year Visa, may be renewed
• Applicants must show evidence one of these four conditions have been met:
1) Receives investment from a recognised Venture Capitalist who is accredited by a Singapore Government agency
2) Holds an IP that is registered with a recognised national IP institution
3) Has ongoing research collaboration with a research institution recognised by Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR) or Institutes of Higher Learning in Singapore
4) Is an incubate at a Singapore Government-supported incubator
• Can apply for Visas for spouse and children if total business spending is at least S$150,00 and at least 4 local jobs have been created
• Can apply for Visas for parents if total business spending is at least S$300,000 and at least 8 local jobs have been created
2. Visa Passes for Skilled and Semi Skilled Staff
There are strict regulations about who can apply for these Visas, and it can be expensive for employers paying the monthly levy.
S Pass: For Skilled Staff
• For mid-level skilled staff
• Open to all nationalities
• Candidates need to earn at least S$2,200 a month
• Requires a degree or diploma
• Assessed on Point System using experience and qualifications
• Older applicants are expected to command higher salaries to qualify
• The number of S Pass holders a company can employ is capped at a Sub-Dependency Ceiling of 15% of the companys total workforce in the Services sector and 20% in the remaining sectors
• Not permitted for workers in hawker centres, coffee shops or food courts, as MOM states such enterprises are small scale and should be run by the owners and their family members
• Must earn a fixed monthly salary of at least S$4,000 to sponsor the stay of their spouse and children in Singapore
Work Permit for foreign worker
• For semi-skilled foreign workers in the construction, manufacturing, marine, process or services sector.
• Qualifications and certificates needed
• Only applicants from countries listed by MOM can be considered
• Applicants must be over 18; upper age limit depends on country of origin
• There are strict quota limits of foreign workers employed in ratio to local workers
• There are significant monthly levies to be paid by employers who take on staff under this Visa, assessed by country of origin and skill level
• MOM maintains a list of foreign worker dormitories licensed under the Foreign Employee Dormitories Act (FEDA)
Work Permit for foreign domestic worker
• For foreign domestic workers to work in Singapore
• Must be female
• Must be between the ages of 23 and 50 at the time of application
• From a MOM approved country only
• Minimum of 8 years of formal education, with certificates
Work Permit for foreign confinement nanny
• For Confinement nannies to work in Singapore for up to 16 weeks starting from the birth of the employers child
• The baby must be less than four months old on application
• The nanny must be Malaysian
• The nanny must be between 23-70 years old at the time of application
• The nanny can only work at the employer’s home
• The employer pays an employment levy of S$60 a month for a local nanny but S$265 for a Malaysian nanny
• A medical checkup is advised and medical insurance of at least S$15,000 is recommended
Work permit for performing artiste
• For foreign performers working in entertainment outlets which hold a CAT1 Public Entertainment License such as bars, hotels and nightclubs
• Cannot apply for another work permit of any kind for one year after ceasing work as a performing artiste
• Quota for each employer
3. VISA Passes for Trainees and Students
There are three types of VISA available to trainees and students; the Training Employment Pass, the Work Holiday Programme Pass, and the Training Work Permit.
Training Employment Pass
• For foreign professionals
• Undergoing practical training
• Candidates must earn at least S$3,000 a month
Work Holiday Programme
• For students and graduates aged 18 to 25
• Who want to work and holiday in Singapore
• For up to 6 months
Training Work Permit
• For semi-skilled foreign trainees or students
• Undergoing practical training in Singapore
• For up to 6 months
4. Visa Passes for Family members
The ability of family members to apply for Visas to join their relatives in Singapore will depend upon the residency classification of the person already living in Singapore or given permission to do so, and their relationship to the applicant.
Dependant’s Pass: For spouses and children of eligible Employment Pass or S Pass holders.
Long Term Visitor Pass: For parents, common-law spouses, step-children or disabled children of eligible Employment Pass or S Pass holders.
Letter of Consent: For eligible LTVP/LTVP+ holders and Dependants Pass holders who want to work in Singapore
5. Other Miscellaneous Visa Passes
There are four further categories under which the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) will consider application: the Miscellaneous Work Pass, the Work Pass for Exempt Activities, the Work Pass Exemption for Foreign Students, and the Work Passes for holders of Long Term Visit Passes.
Miscellaneous Work Pass
• For foreigners taking on a short-term work assignment of up to 60 days in Singapore
• Examples include speakers at a Seminar, religious workers or journalists
• Must be sponsored by a Singapore based organisation or society
Work Pass Exempt Activities
• For performing eligible short-term activities without a work pass
• Candidates must still notify MOM of their activities
• For 60 days or less, no more than 90 days in one calendar year
• Arbitration, Exhibitions, Journalism, Location Filming, Fashion Shows, Performances, Special Services for new Plant etc, Seminars, Conferences, Sport and Tour Facilitation; they each have individual requirements which determine the activities you are permitted to undertake with this Work Pass
Work Pass Exemption for Foreign Students
• For foreign students studying full-time at a MOM approved school or institution in Singapore
• Must be at least 14 years of age
• Not permitted for exchange students doing study modules in Singapore
Work passes for holders of Long Term Visit Passes issued by ICA
• For foreigners married to a Singaporean or permanent resident
• or parents accompanying a child who is studying in Singapore
Your prospective employer will make the online application for the correct type of work Visa depending of the nature of your employment. They pay a S$30 application fee by GIRO, Visa, Mastercard or NETS. If it is their first work visa application, they must complete the business activity declaration. They must confirm that they have secured medical insurance for you and paid the security bond, then about a day later they will receive an In-Principle Approval (IPA) letter upon approval of your card. Your employer will pay a further S$30 for the card to be issued. The IPA letter is valid for six months and is needed to collect your Singapore ID card from MOM at the Employment Pass Service Centre (EPSC) upon your arrival in Singapore, where your fingerprints and photo will be processed.
Your Singapore ID card will show an FIN number and a SingPass eight-digit CPF-PAL PIN password. This enables you to log on to online Government services, for everything from completing your tax returns to reserving a library book.
Your visa will be valid for up to 2 years, unless your passport is not valid for that period; in which case it will expire 1 month before the expiry of your passport. If your security bond is valid for less than 26 months the work visa will expire 2 months before the bond’s expiry date. The card must be returned to MOM when it expires and you leave the country, or with a renewal.
If your employer offers you employment beyond the first two years and you accept, they must apply to renew your work visa about 6-8 weeks before your current visa expires. Your passport must be valid for at least a further 25 months; a scanned copy will be uploaded. They apply for the visa renewal online for a S$30 fee, confirming that they have checked the quota and extended both your security bond and medical insurance. The decision is immediate, and the notification letter should be printed. An address for delivery is supplied by the employer, with the passport numbers, mobile numbers and email addresses of at least three recipients authorised to receive the card 4 working days later. An SMS or email with delivery details will be sent at least one day before delivery, and the details can also be checked online.
If there is a need for delay, such as waiting for the arrival of a renewed passport, an extension must be applied for. If an employee is not eligible for renewal, an appeal can be made to MOM. If your visa is not renewed and it expires, yet you remain in the country, a fine is imposed.
It is difficult to achieve citizenship of Singapore, and dual citizenship is not permitted. Many people apply for Permanent Residence (PR), which gives you the right to live there and to apply for public housing, but not to vote. The native population of Singapore has been unhappy with recent levels of immigration, which has sometimes undermined wages (because low paid immigrants often receive poor packages of pay and conditions) and increased the cost of housing; in response, the Government is making PR harder to achieve.
The ability to speak English is not required, but voluntary work, tax records and many other factors are examined. The only people eligible to apply are:
• The spouse and children (under the age of 21) of a Singapore Citizen or PR
• The aged parents of a Singapore Citizen
• P, Q or S work pass holders working in Singapore
• Investors and Entrepreneurs
• Foreigners who satisfy certain guidelines can apply for PR by submitting applications through SMC Management Consultants Pte Ltd who are based in Singapore
Permanent Residence (PR) allows an individual to reside in Singapore for a period of 5 years, which is then subject to renewal. Any person who is working in Singapore on a Work Pass is eligible to submit an application, but recent tightening of immigration into Singapore has made the PR application process more selective and lengthy. Another route of obtaining PR is through investment in Singapore through the Global Investor Programme, which has two Investment options:
• Option A: Invest at least S$2.5mil in a new business entity or to expand an existing business operation.
• Option B: Invest at least S$2.5mil in a GIP fund that invests in Singapore based companies.
The government maintains a list of pre-approved GIP funds. One of the key conditions is that the investor’s company must have an average turnover of at least $50 million over the last 3 years, which becomes S$200 million if operating in the real estate or construction industry.
Before applying for PR, be aware of all the conditions. For example, all male citizens start a two-year period of National Service at the age of 18, with only 14 days’ leave a year. They are then liable to enlistment in a national emergency until they reach 40 (or 50 as commissioned officers). The male children of those with PR, who are resident in Singapore and are therefore seen by the Government as having received benefit from living there, are also bound by these requirements.
Get Health Insurance
Many expats take out private medical insurance, even if this is not a requirement of residence, because healthcare is expensive in their destination country or because certain treatments and procedures are not available.
When taking out health insurance, be sure to check factors such as the annual and lifetime policy limits, whether there are any exclusions which are likely to affect you, whether you are limited to treatment from specific types of healthcare providers, and whether the policy covers emergency evacuation for medical treatment.
Too frequently, potential buyers of health insurance look only for the lowest cost of premiums before really considering the specific benefits and areas of cover they may actually need. Some plans are cheaper for a reason. Often they include large voluntary deductibles on any claim you might make in the future and may severely cap the benefits received under the plan. Clients should define their needs first, establish the particular area of cover they need, then determine their annual healthcare insurance budget. Only then should they look to premium comparisons, last of all.
Do not buy a plan without studying the policy wording carefully. If in doubt, ask, and only when completely satisfied complete all application forms fully, to the best of your ability.
Important questions to ask the insurance provider:
1. Does the plan allow for cooling off periods, cancellation and then repayment of premium in full?
2. Does the plan offer “Moratorium” or is it “Full underwriting” and do you need to have a medical examination before joining?
3. Does the insurer offer a 24 hour help line, 7 days a week, available from anywhere in the world (freephone)? Most insurers now offer this facility.
4. Are pre-existing conditions excluded when joining and if so, for how long are such conditions excluded?
5. Are all and any nationalities accepted or are there restrictions which apply to local nationals? Some insurers will only take expatriates abroad and not local nationals into an overseas plan.
6. Does the plan allow you to continue cover unbroken through your lifetime? In most cases insurers will continue to offer existing clients cover year on year, irrespective of age or claims history, although premium rates charged can increase dramatically with age.
7. Does the insurer allow for any doctor or consultant or hospital within the plan? Are there any restrictions in this respect? Most international plans do not place restrictions on either hospitals or doctors, but almost all demand that their help lines are called first, prior to approval of any inpatient care.
8. Does the insurer provide for the direct settlement of bills presented by hospitals worldwide, regardless of location (or do you have to pay first)?
9. What are the insurers procedures for outpatient claims? Do these require any pre-authorization or if stated in the plan can you just pay and claim? How long before you get money back from the insurer? 14 days? 28 days?.
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Rent Or Buy Property
Because Singapore has a dense population and limited land available for development, rent is very expensive and is not subject to government control. A one-bedroom apartment outside of a central area can cost S$2,000 a month, while a three-bedroom in a central location with good facilities can cost S$6,000 a month. The rent will also be affected by access to car parking spaces, or aspirational facilities such as a gym and swimming pool. The rent will not include services for such utilities as electricity, water or internet access.
If an employer includes accommodation as part of the relocation package, it is a valuable benefit indeed. The good news for everyone is that Singapore is a small country, with excellent transport links. You can get very jostled on public transport during the rush hour, and heavy traffic can double journey times, but nowhere will be more than an hour away between work and home. This gives you more freedom to consider different areas, unless you have young children and must consider the location of their schools.
The majority of the population live in Housing Development Board (HDB) flats, which are heavily subsidised by the Government. The blocks can be identified by their less stylish architecture, but they are very popular and oversubscribed. The government dictates the ratio of racial population resident in each block, which helps maintain the ethnic diversity in each community. When considering new tenants, preference is given to married couples and to Singaporean Citizens, so single people and foreigners rent in the private market unless they have access to the considerable resources required to purchase an apartment.
Estate Agents are not allowed to work on behalf of the landlord and tenant, as this is a conflict of interest. However, the amounts charged are led by the market. As a rough guide, the tenant pays their agent half a month’s rental for a one year lease, and one month’s rental for a two year lease. If the tenant has not used an Estate Agent, they do not have to pay this fee, though they may prefer to use the services for convenience and advice.
Apartments are not usually advertised as unfurnished. Instead, the term ‘partially furnished’ is used to denote an apartment which has basic kitchen and bathroom facilities, lighting and air conditioning, and a washing machine. ‘Fully furnished’ suggests there will be beds, a sofa and television, and other furniture that the space allows, such as a dining table with chairs. Each property lease will detail the furniture and fixtures included, which must be left present and in good condition at the end of the lease.
Be aware that there have been instances of fake postings on websites, by criminals who aim to cheat potential renters of their cash deposits. It is easy to check online whether an estate agency and a salesperson are listed on the Public Register of The Council for Estate Agents, which is a mandatory requirement before working as an estate agent.
When you have found an apartment you want to rent, it is usually a good idea to meet the landlord in person, and you can look up the property details in advance on the Singapore Land Authority Register. You must give the landlord a ‘Letter of Intent’ which officially confirms you wish to rent the property; if the landlord accepts your offer, they will sign the letter. The lettings agency will normally take the process from there, preparing a Tenancy Agreement.
When signing a Tenancy Agreement, look at the contract carefully, as this will be the document relied upon in the event of any legal dispute with the landlord. New tenants will usually be asked for a deposit of at least one month’s rent for every year that the lease covers, which will be returned without interest at the end of the lease and after the landlord is satisfied the apartment has been left in a suitable condition. The rent will also be paid one month in advance, with the first payment made at the time of signing the contract. Never, ever make these payments in cash.
The lease will normally last for one year. Some rental agreements allow the tenancy to be extended at the end of the year, following agreement between the landlord and tenant. If one of the parties decides to end the agreement, this can be done at any point in the lease, as long as the party making the decision pays the penalty set out in the contract.
If the Tenant wishes to have the Tenancy Agreement reviewed or amended, they will pay the legal fees. If they accept the document as provided, then there will be no legal fees incurred.
There is a Stamp Duty to be paid on all leases; 0.4% for leases under one year, 0.8% for leases of 1-3 years, and 1.6% for leases over 3 years. The tenant pays this to the agent, who then makes payment to the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore.
If the landlord sells the apartment, the new owner will take on the existing terms of the lease. This means a change of ownership will not result in changes to the rent or legally agreed length of lease until the original period agreed has expired.
Tenants should ensure the rent is paid on time, as the landlord can initiate court action just 14 days after it is due. With court approval, the unpaid rent and the resulting legal costs can then be recovered by selling the contents of the apartment and from the ex-tenant. Landlords can alternatively work with resolution groups such as the Singapore Mediation Centre if they choose.
When a tenant moves into a property, they should take photos of all rooms and all fixtures and fittings. These same items should be photographed again at the end of the tenancy. Wear and tear is acceptable, but damage and loss by the tenant must be made good.
It is a tenant’s responsibility to arrange connection to all utilities, and it will be possible to do this on the phone in your choice of one of the four official languages. Many services can also be arranged online. A deposit for services is usually required.
The Singapore government has formally recognised the importance of environmental issues, but implementing change has yet to happen. So whilst littering is socially unacceptable and heavily fined, recycling facilities are difficult to find. This means tenants in a block of flats will put all the waste in one bin with no separation for glass, paper or metal.
Because Singapore has a dense population on a small island, the government has taken measures to reduce the number of foreigners able to buy ‘landed’ property there, and to curb property speculation. The Residential Property Act states that anyone who is not a Singapore citizen, company, limited liability partnership or Society must obtain government approval in order to buy residential property in Singapore, and approval will be restricted to those who make adequate economic or social contribution to Singapore.
This approval must be obtained for:
• Vacant residential land;
• Terraced houses;
• Semi-detached houses;
• Bungalow/detached houses;
• Strata landed houses which are not within an approved condominium development under the Planning Act (eg. townhouse or cluster house);
• Shophouses (for non-commercial use);
• Association premises;
• Places of worship; and
• Worker’s dormitories/service apartments/boarding houses (not registered under the provisions of the Hotels Act).
However, there are a number of purchases that foreigners may make without seeking approval:
• Condominium units;
• Flat units;
• Strata landed houses in approved condominium developments;
• Leasehold estates in landed residential properties for a term not exceeding 7 years, including any further term which may be granted by way of an option for renewal;
• Shophouses (for commercial use);
• Industrial and commercial properties;
• Hotels (registered under the provisions of the Hotels Act); and
• Executive condominium units, HDB flats and HDB shophouses.
Property in Singapore is expensive. Commercial properties start at S$300,000, and small apartments in suburban areas will cost roughly S$500,000. A studio flat will start at almost S$300,000.
The Housing & Development Board (HDB) offer housing loans at a concessionary rate, and the downpayment can be as low as 10%, either as cash or as a bank loan. However, eligibility for the HDB loans are strict, with the first criteria being that at least one of the buyers is a Singaporean citizen. After that, income ceiling limits apply and the applicant’s history of property ownership is examined. Priority is given to first-time buyers.
Buying property with a bank loan rather than an HDB loan requires a downpayment of at least 20% of the purchase price; at least 5% must be cash. This amount will depend on how much the bank is willing to lend.
The amount you can borrow is assessed under the Total Debt Servicing Ratio. All debt obligations, including loans for mortgage, education, cars and credit cards, must not exceed 60% of your monthly income. This means the mortgage lender cannot by law lend you an amount which would take you over the limit; they will advise you of the limit after reviewing your financial circumstances in detail.
For those able to gain approval for purchasing a residential property, be approved for a mortgage, find the downpayment, cover the option fees, stamp duty, legal costs and housing agent fees, there are three main types of mortgage available.
Whether to take a fixed rate mortgage, SIBOR-linked floating rates mortgage (SIngapore Interbank Offered Rate) or fixed deposit-linked floating rates with DBS Bank or OCBC Bank will depend on the buyer’s circumstances, for which they should seek financial advice.
Singapore has defined ‘Estate Agents’ under the Estate Agents Act as estate agency businesses (sole proprietors, partnerships and companies) and ‘salesperson’ as the individuals who perform estate agency work. The Council for Estate Agents (CEA) grants licenses to estate agent firms, and registers the salespersons; they maintain a Public Register of those who have been accepted, which is mandatory for anyone running an Estate Agency or working as a salesperson in the industry. The Public Register identifies companies and individuals who have either been disciplined by the CEA or won awards from them. Anyone considering the purchase of a property should check the CEA Public Register before contacting Estate Agents, by checking online.
If you are buying a private residential property, you do not pay the Estate Agent. They will receive some of the commission paid by the seller to their own Estate Agent.
A valuation of the property will be required by the bank offering a mortgage, and it will cost the property purchaser about S$350-S$500 to have this valuation undertaken.
Many banks will refer the property purchaser to their panel of lawyers; the legal work will cost about S$3,000-S$4,000. There are a small number of legal firms who are on the panels of several banks, so if a property purchaser has to change banks during the process, they do not also have to change lawyers and begin the expensive legal process completely from the start again. Alternatively, seek independent firms of your own choice.
The Ministry of Law monitors access to training places for the legal profession. A number of UK law degrees have recently been dropped as acceptable qualifications for entry to the Singapore Bar, as a response to oversupply. The Ministry of Law has a Legal Services Regulatory Authority which all lawyers should be registered with.
You can search online here.
The lawyers will check the Property Title and Tenure, any encumbrances, name of the registered proprietor and the manner of ownership holding. The lawyers of both buyer and seller will negotiate the Option to Purchase Contract, and the Sale and Purchase Agreement. When the option is signed by the parties, the Option Fee, usually 1% of the agreed purchase price, will be paid. If the buyer decides to pull out after this stage, they will lose their money.
When the property is declared in good physical shape and the finances have been arranged, the buyer will pay the Option Exercise Fee of 5%-10% of the agreed purchase price, less the Option Fee already paid.
When the Sale and Purchase Agreement is signed, the lawyer will normally lodge a caveat on the property with the Singapore Land Authority. It alerts third parties to the sale, and prevents any further legal transactions happening on that property, so although a caveat is not compulsory it should be created. The rest of the downpayment is made and placed in a Conveyancing Account.
A Singapore Citizen who is buying their first residential property pays 1% Buyer’s Stamp Duty (BSD) on the first S$180,000, 2% on the next S$180,000, and 3% on the remainder. If they are buying a second property, then they pay the BSD plus the ABSD at 7%. If they buy a third or subsequent property, they pay BSD plus ABSD at 10%.
Singapore’s Permanent Residents (PR) pay 1% Buyer’s Stamp Duty (BSD) on the first S£180,000, 2% on the next S$180,000, and 3% on the remainder. They also pay ABSD at 5% for their first residential property and at 10% for their second or subsequent residential property.
Foreigners and ‘entities’ pay 1% Buyer’s Stamp Duty (BSD) on the first S£180,000, 2% on the next S$180,000, and 3% on the remainder. They also pay ABSD at 15% for any residential property, even if it is for their first and primary residence.
An entity means a person who is not acting in a legal capacity as an individual, and includes the following:
• An unincorporated association
• A trustee for a collective investment scheme when acting in that capacity
• A trustee-manager for a business trust when acting in that capacity
• The partners of the partnership whether or not any of them is an individual, where the property conveyed, transferred or assigned is to be held as partnership property
If the purchaser has applied for PR or citizenship, the lower rates of ABSD will only apply if their new residency status was approved in writing before the purchase was made. If a purchase is being made by more than one individual who have different residency status between them, the ABSD will be charged in total at the highest rate applicable to any of the individuals concerned.
If a residential property is being purchased on behalf of a beneficiary, then it is the residency status of that beneficiary, and not the person organising the purchase, which is used to determine the ABSD rate.
If you are buying a property with a mortgage, you will also pay a further Stamp Duty of 0.4%, capped at S$500.
The seller gives vacant possession of the property. The purchaser should thoroughly check the empty property and alert their lawyer immediately if they discover defects. If everything is in order, the buyer receives a certificate of title, a transfer form and keys to the property.
Move Your Belongings
Consider if you want (or are able) to transport your belongings yourself or whether you will need the services of a removals company that deals with international moves. Unless you are travelling very light, or making a fairly short move by road, you will probably need professional help to ship your possessions. Ask for quotes from several companies first, ensuring that they visit your home to carry out a survey of your requirements. It may be worth paying extra for the removals firm to pack your possessions for you, particularly if they are going to be transported to a distant country and need special protection for the long journey. Make sure you bring to their attention anything fragile or precious that needs particularly careful wrapping and packing.
Before agreeing to a quotation, ensure that you are fully aware of exactly what is covered in the price, and that the service to be provided meets all of your requirements. For example, does the service include both packing and unpacking of your household effects? What about disassembling and reassembling of furniture? If you are planning to put anything into storage in your destination country while you find accommodation, does the price include final delivery and unpacking at your home, or will you need to arrange collection of the items? Obtain a firm estimate of the likely arrival date of your items and obtain contact details for any agents that will be dealing with the removal in your destination country. Ensure that the removals company is aware in advance of any practical considerations such as the lack of an elevator to your apartment, or likely parking problems.
If using a removals company, you may be required to take out their insurance cover for your possessions. Whether or not this is the case, ensure that you have adequate insurance for anything of actual or sentimental value that could get lost or damaged during the move. Take the time to accurately complete or check an inventory of your possessions to be moved, as this will form the basis for any insurance claim for losses or damages. Find out if insurance is included in the price quoted by the removals company, or whether you are required to pay extra for this.
The removals company should arrange any customs and importation documents on your behalf, but if you are arranging the move independently you will need to find out what documents are required and what import duties and taxes are payable (and whether you are eligible for exemption from these).
Make sure that you set aside the important documents you will need for the journey, such as passports and air tickets, and keep these easily accessible in your hand luggage.
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Register For Healthcare
QUICK LINK: Singapore health insurance
The Singaporean Ministry of Health and the Central Provident Fund Board (CPF) operate a compulsory programme, MediSave, in which employers must pay contributions from the salaries of citizens or permanent residents into a national health insurance savings scheme.
In addition, MediShield Life is a “catastrophic illness insurance scheme” designed to protect clients against large hospital bills. It operates via a deductible scheme, in which you must make a series of payments before being eligible to claim, but once this is in place the scheme will then make co-payments for medical treatment, reducing your out of pocket costs by 50-80%. However, there are other government-approved policies.
CareShield Life will be in place from 2020 and this is designed as a policy for long-term care, featuring payments that increase over time, with no cap on duration.
Medical insurance in Singapore operates on a reimbursement scheme and you will need to pay upfront and then put in a claim.
Only citizens of Singapore and permanent residents are eligible for MediSave and other state insurance policies. If you are not a permanent resident, you will need to take out private cover.
Your employer will register you with MediShield Life if you are eligible and you will be covered from the first payment. Permanent residents will therefore be automatically covered under this scheme.
If you are an expat on a work permit or an S-Pass, your employer is legally obliged to sign you up for insurance to a minimum of S$15K per annum and can face a fine or a jail sentence if they do not do so. You may have to make a co-payment of 10% of your monthly income to cover non-work related claims.
You will then be given a national security (NRIC) card which is used in the state medical system: you will need to take this with you when you are seeking treatment.
If you are self-employed, you will need to sign up yourself. This is very easy to do: simply visit a local doctor’s surgery and tell them you wish to register. They will give you a form to fill in, and you will need to include details about your residency status on this. Once the form has been processed, you will receive state healthcare if you are eligible.
Open A Bank Account
Singapore is a financial and technology hub in Asia, with streamlined and efficient administration and bureaucracy. Processes are clear and quick, with little evidence of any corruption. Except for online theft, some credit card fraud and small areas prone to pickpockets, Singapore has very low levels of crime. Tough sanctions attempt to avoid crime or corruption anywhere including in the banking system.
The Singapore dollar (S$) is made up of 100 cents. Notes come in the denominations of S$2, S$5, S$10, S$50, S$100, S$500 and S$1000; coins used are 5c, 10c, 20c, 50c, and S$1.
Cash is used in many locations, especially for smaller purchases. Banks and ATMs are widely available, and you will usually find Cirrus enabled ATMs at MRT stations and in malls. The ATM5 network consists of major banks including HSBC and Standard Chartered.
Credit cards are accepted in most places, including shops and restaurants, but a minimum spend of S$20 is usually required. Prices are usually fixed, especially in units occupying the huge air-conditioned malls, although there may be the possibility of haggling at a market stall if you are serious about a purchase and are buying several items.
The Network for Electronic Transfers (NETS) scheme lets you use ATM cards in retail shops without any fees, and is offered by many bank accounts. It has been in operation for over 30 years and you can use the cards with more than 91,000 businesses. It works in the same way as debit cards in the UK or USA.
If you are using a taxi and pay in cash, no tip is expected, not even rounding up the bill. However, if you offer a tip the driver will gratefully accept it. If you find a taxi driver willing to accept a credit card, there will usually be a 10% surcharge added. Ensure you use an officially registered taxi with a meter installed, to avoid being overcharged.
Money-changers are easily found in most malls and busy locations. There is no fee, and you can sometimes haggle a bit on the exchange rate if you are changing a larger quantity.
Mobile phone SIM cards usually cost S$18.
Banks are usually open 8.30am to 5pm Monday to Friday, though some branches close anywhere between 3pm and 6pm. Branches usually open on a Saturday morning at 8.30am, but again the closing time varies anywhere between 11.30am and 1pm. Branches can be very busy, despite the mainstream provision of online banking facilities such as Bank Statements and Online Transfers.
You can often open a bank account before moving to Singapore, but check with the individual bank about your eligibility to do this, because it varies for different countries. Singapore’s banking rules aim to prevent money laundering and tax evasion, so it can be quite hard to open an account as a non resident. You may also prefer to move to Singapore before opening a bank account, so that you can assess the access to bank branches and ATMs in your new work and residential area.
In order to set up a bank account, you will need a valid passport, a work or study visa, a reference from your current bank in the country you are leaving, and official proof of address such as utility bill or an official document from employer. It will normally take a bank five working days to open a bank account once they have received all the essential documents.
Most banks with overseas headquarters will have limited presence in Singapore, but many familiar names are available. Some of the more popular choices of bank account for expats include:
• POSB/DBS banks: popular for their excellent ATM coverage, and DBS also has an expatriate bank account which offers multiple currencies.
• United Overseas Bank (UOB): noted by expats for great customer service & its online banking app.
• HSBC offers a GlobalView screen which allows expats to see their accounts in different countries and currencies on one screen.
It is possible to open a savings account from the age of 15, but you must be 18 years and over to open a deposit account. If your spouse is accompanying you to Singapore, your bank account must be in joint names because your spouse will not be able to set up an independent account.
Before you choose a bank, find out what their fees and charges are for services in the branch or online. There is usually a fee structure for local and international transfers, cheque books, standing orders, transaction alerts through SMS etc. Telegraphic transfer (wire) fees are waived in most banks if you open a premier account with them.
You should also ascertain what the minimum balance is, as there will be a financial penalty for going below this and the account may be closed. Many banks offer an overdraft facility, arranged for a period of 12 months, which can be renewed. Overdrafts operate on a ‘revolving credit facility’ basis, which means when you repay into the overdraft account you can withdraw it again as long as the outstanding amount is within the overdraft limit granted by the bank. Some overdrafts are unsecured, while others are secured by having assets available to become property of the bank in the event there is a default on the overdraft.
Many banks offer an app to allow you easier access to some aspects of online banking, which you may find useful.
If you are opening a business account, an appointment should be made with the bank for all the authorised signatories and directors to attend in person. They are required to be present at the same time to sign documents, and present important documents such as the memorandum of articles, resolution of board of directors etc. The exact paperwork required should be confirmed with the individual bank at the time the appointment is arranged.
If you have a complaint about something that has gone wrong with your account, or any transactions you have made, you should first report the problem to the bank concerned. If the situation is not resolved to your satisfaction, then you can apply to the Financial Industry Disputes Resolution Centre Ltd (FIDReC) for the matter to be investigated further. For further details of how to initiate a process and see how their procedures work, their website is available here.
There are many ways of sending money from one country to another. As always, expats can save themselves a lot of trouble and expense if they do a little research and shop around for the best deal.
International Bank Transfers
For most expats, currency transfer involves transferring small to medium sized amounts regularly from an existing bank account back home into a new overseas bank account in the local currency. These may be pension payments, benefits, or any other form of income.
Your home bank will usually be glad to oblige. You can set up facilities with them “on demand” whereby you fax or call them on the phone, provide a secret code or two, tell them the amount in question, and they will transfer it to your new bank, automatically converting it into the relevant local currency. Some banks also allow you to make international payments online. Whatever method you choose, transfers normally take between 3-7 days although 1-2 day transfers are often available but be prepared to pay more for these.
You can also set up regular transactions that are processed automatically on a fixed day of each month. Many state pensions and benefits can be paid directly into your new bank abroad without going through your home bank at all. Some private pension organisations may also offer the same facility.
When you first set up a transfer of funds abroad, the sending bank or institution will ask you for various codes that identify the destination bank. Often they will ask for IBAN (International Bank Account Number), BIC (Bank Identifier Code) or SWIFT codes but don?t panic – your new bank will give these to you and they may even already be listed in your new chequebook or bank statements.
As far as charges are concerned, you will probably be required to pay a flat fee per transaction. Additionally a percentage fee is often charged for the currency conversion itself. You may also find that your receiving bank charges you for receiving the transfer. Charges vary by bank but can quickly add up – ask your bank(s) for an indication of the fees involved.
As a general rule, transferring larger sums less frequently usually works out cheaper than transferring smaller amounts more often. However, if you need to transfer regular amounts of at least a few hundred pounds/dollars or need to make a larger one-off payment (e.g. for a house purchase) you should consider the services of a currency broker.
Cash Machine/ATM Withdrawals
Thanks to modern technology, most people abroad can go to a cash machine/ATM and withdraw local currency funds directly from their home bank account. This is a useful option to have for expats but exercise caution – many banks make hefty charges for using this type of facility. You may also find that withdrawal limits are in place (as a security measure) even if you significant funds in your account back home.
You can also use VISA or Mastercard credit cards to obtain cash in this fashion and if you pay the amount off quickly and avoid interest charges then fine – but once again credit card charges for cash withdrawals can be high. Check the rates carefully.
Currency brokers (also called foreign exchange brokers) offer significant advantages over traditional banks. Firstly, brokers will often be able to offer you a better rate than your bank. Secondly, the entire process is more transparent – many banks require you to accept the exchange rate available on the day they process your transaction, whatever and whenever that may be, but a specialist broker will offer greater flexibility, even allowing you to specify the rate you want in advance.
Currency brokers are smaller companies than major banks so always check their background carefully. Ask existing expats for their own experiences and recommendations before choosing a firm to handle your own foreign exchange requirements.
A good broker will discuss all the options with you and enable you to make the best decision for your circumstances. Using a broker will typically off the following advantages:
1) Currency brokers generally provide superior exchange rates to the high street banks. The currency brokers have access to the interbank rate and do not have the high costs that the banks have. This means that they can usually offer better exchange rates.
2) Use of a free Market Watch/Order Service: This allows you to tell your currency broker your target or budget exchange rate and they will ring you if that exchange rate level is reached. As the rate moves every few seconds, currency brokers can act as your eyes and ears on the market.
3) Ability to fix the exchange rate in advance using a Forward Contract. If you know you need to convert/move funds in the future but don?t yet have the money you can reserve a rate in advance using a Forward Contract. During this period, you are exposed to exchange rate movements and therefore, a forward contract is ideal if, for example, you have agreed to buy a house and want to fix the rate now but will not be making payment for a couple of months.
Savings from currency brokers can vary from between 1 and 4 per cent on the exchange rate alone, and specialists do not typically charge any fees for transmitting the funds abroad, unlike banks which often levy expensive fees or charges. If you are emigrating and transferring a large sum of money – such as the proceeds of a property – a foreign exchange company could potentially save you thousands.
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Learn The Language
If you are planning to move to Singapore, you might be asking yourself which languages are spoken in this fascinating city-state, and whether you will be able to communicate easily once you are there. We will consider some of your options below.
The good news for you as an English-speaking expat is that English is one of the official languages of Singapore. However, the region has four languages officially, including Malay, Tamil and Mandarin Chinese. As befits its history as a trading post, however, the city-state is home to over 20 languages, for example Kristang and Buginese.
Its lingua franca was once Bazaar Malay (Melayu Pasar), essentially a trading language and a form of Chinese/Malay Creole. It is still spoken today and Malay itself is the national language (it is used in ceremonies and for the national anthem, for example) but has been replaced as the lingua franca by English: a legacy of its role as a former British colony. English was set in place as the dominant tongue upon independence, cementing Singapore’s status as a dynamic, outward-looking international community.
English is the main medium of instruction in schools but most Singaporeans are bilingual. The majority of children learn one of the three official languages (or sometimes another approved language) as a second language, depending on their official registered ethnic group. Some may also learn Bahasa Indonesian, Arabic, Japanese, French, German or Spanish as a third language.
English is the language of government and media. Road signs are also in English, making navigation of the city a simple task if you are a native speaker.
Thus you will find little difficulty in communicating during your time in Singapore, whether in the workplace or on the street. You will also encounter ‘Singlish’: a form of English Creole which uses a lot of local slang.
Around 51% of the population also speak Mandarin Chinese, although other forms of Chinese are also spoken. If you are doing business with the Chinese community, you may wish to learn a few phrases for the sake of courtesy. Similarly you may also wish to learn some words of Malay, which is written in a Roman script known as Rumi. Chinese is written in the simplified form. Similarly, if you have Tamil colleagues, you might want to learn some greeting phrases in order to be polite. Singapore is a multicultural society and it is nice to engage with this. Moreover you may be travelling more widely, in the Malay peninsula or in China, and will need a language beyond Singapore itself.
If you are interested in a particular language and want to learn it in greater depth, you will find plenty of provision in Singapore. You can register with one of the universities or find a private language school, or hire a private tutor for one-to-one lessons. Nanyang Technological University in western Singapore offers one-to-one classes. The Singapore Chinese Chamber Institute of Business Courses has recently started language training in the form of a Certificate in Elementary Chinese: a refresher course for anyone who has some foundation in conversational Chinese and would like to brush up their Chinese for higher learning.
Linda Mandarin offer private and small group classes, several options for business professionals and an HSK (Hanyu Shuiping Kaoshi (HSK) Test for proficiency in Chinese) prep course, some of which are eligible for SkillsFuture Credit for Singaporean students: a monetary incentive from the Singaporean government to encourage citizens to hone skills that can benefit the economy and their personal development.
Hua Jie Language offers Learn Mandarin Fast (LMF) designed to teach practical Mandarin to total beginners in around 30 hours.
The SkillsFuture Credit program also applies to Malay, and like Mandarin, you will discover many opportunities to learn Malay in Singapore if you wish. Some expats note that your language training will be quite formal, and you will not learn the sort of more colloquial Malay that is spoken on the street, but conversation with Malay-speaking friends will supplement this.
For instance, the Inlingua School of Languages in Singapore offers part-time Malay language courses for local and foreign students, in a group or individually. These courses will cover general communication skills, Malay for business purposes or preparation for an international language proficiency test. The centre also provides customised language training for multinational corporations and local companies.
The advantage of learning one of the official languages of Singapore is that you will be training in an immersive environment, as you will hear these languages spoken around you every day. Similarly, language learners from other Asian nations come to Singapore in order to learn English in a country which has the language as an official tongue. You will not find yourself teaching locals, but you will teach students from elsewhere in Asia and beyond.
Because Singapore is English-speaking, obtaining a job teaching English is competitive. It is always easier to get work in international education if you have at least a certificate in either TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) or TESOL (Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages).
It is also preferable if you have experience in teaching schemes such as the Cambridge English exams or IELTS (International English Language Testing System): the English test for study, migration or work. Some teaching experience in the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) will also be helpful. This assesses analytical, writing, quantitative, verbal, and reading skills in written English for use in admission to graduate management programs, such as the MBA. You may also find work more easily if you are experienced in teaching English for particular sectors, such as tourism and hospitality, or business and finance.
It will also be helpful to have at least a Bachelor’s degree as most language schools require this: basically, the rule of thumb is that the more qualifications you have, both in TEFL and in academic subjects, the easier you will find it to get work. You will find that teaching in Singapore is well paid: around US$2750 – 3350 per month. Hiring takes place year round. Some schools offer accommodation and may also offer a stipend.
Choose A School
English is the main medium of instruction in schools but most Singaporeans are bilingual. The majority of children learn one of the four official languages (English, Malay, Tamil and Mandarin Chinese) or sometimes another approved language as a second language, depending on their official registered ethnic group.
Education in Singapore is free of charge, and of an exceptionally high standard: the state came first in the most recent OECD PISA ranking. It is modelled on the British system and there is a focus on testing.
The compulsory education system consists of:
• 6 years of primary school
• 4 years of secondary school
• 1-3 years of post-secondary school
Primary education, which usually starts at the age of seven, consists of a four-year foundation stage (Primary 1 to 4) and a two-year orientation stage (Primary 5 to 6).
At the end of primary year four, pupils will be tested and will take the Primary School Leaving Examination, which determines the stream a pupil will follow in secondary education.
There are four secondary streams:
• Special (about 10% of pupils, and is an accelerated pathway to university)
• Express (50% of students, leading directly to university or to junior college)
• Normal Academic (20% of students, leading to polytechnic institutes)
• Normal Technical (qualification at the Institute of Technical Education)
Express students will be put in for Singapore-Cambridge GCE O Levels. Normal Academic students will take a “Normal-Level” exam and may take O Levels. Normal Technical students are likely to take vocational topics.
The school year starts in January and runs until November. The school day may vary: it usually starts around 8 am and runs until 1.30 pm for younger pupils, but may end later in the day for older students.
Although public sector education in the country is of a very high calibre, the system faces some challenges such as large class sizes. It is also highly competitive and there is an emphasis on rote learning and test results: stress experienced by students is often cited as a problem, and parents and teachers have expressed concerns about the high suicide rate among young Singaporeans.
Many expats opt for private education for their children and you will find plenty of choice in Singapore. These schools are of a high standard with good educational outcomes, scoring well when it comes to small class sizes and dedicated personal tuition. You may wish to check whether your chosen school is a member of an accredited body such as COBIS (Council of British International Schools) or US equivalents.
For example, the Stamford American International School offers the International Baccalaureate (IB) curriculum, built into the framework of the American Education Reaches Out (AERO) standard. Fees range from US$17K – 30K per annum. The school has two campuses, including an Early Learning Village.
The One World International School charges around US$13K – 15K per year for children from 3-16. It offers a British curriculum but also the International Baccalaureate.
Insworld Institute offers IGCSE, AS and A Levels for the British curriculum, to students at secondary level from the ages of 12 – 18. You will need to contact them to find out about their fees.
The Canadian International School offers an education based on the International Baccalaureate on its two Singaporean campuses from US$17K – 29K.
One of Singapore’s first international schools, Singapore American School (SAS) is a non-profit, independent, co-educational day school offering an American-based curriculum for students in preschool through high school. It offers over 20 AP courses, including the AP Capstone program. You will need to contact them regarding fees.
You will need to contact your selected school directly for a full range of fees. Check not only for tuition costs, but also for one-off maintenance/capitalisation payments, registration and admission fees. Check whether you are entitled to a sibling discount. Enrolment policies will vary between establishments but you may need to provide previous school reports as well as supporting documentation relating to your residency. Your child may also be assessed, for instance in English language proficiency.
Homeschooling is permitted in Singapore but you may need to contact the educational authorities if you intend to go down this route.