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Moving to Singapore from the US

A former British colony, Singapore is the world’s fourth largest financial centre and has the third highest income per capita in the world. It’s name means “Lion City” and this sovereign city-state in sunny Southeast Asia is small but powerful.

Singapore is a popular expat destination, in fact foreigners make up about 38 percent of the population, so you’ll make many new friends from all over the world. Other draws of the city include the low crime rate, good air quality, low taxes and excellent education system.

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Becoming a Singaporean Citizen

There are several benefits to becoming a Singaporean citizen - from ease of travel to benefits in employment and education. First, you’ll need to obtain permanent residence, which will take up to two years. To be able to live and work in Singapore you’ll need a work visa which can be applied for via the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority website.

You can become a Singapore citizen if you have been a permanent resident for at least two years, or if you have been married to a Singapore citizen for at least two years. If you’re an overseas born child of a Singapore citizen and your parents are married, then you also qualify.

You can find out the details of the process of becoming a Singaporean citizen on the official government immigration website.

Job Market

Singapore is rated one of the best economies for business in the world, which is why it is such a popular destination for expat workers. Most companies will require an interview before hiring you, and Singapore is a conservative society, so it is best to dress in a reserved way during the interview process.

The largest job sector is manufacturing - particularly electronics. There are a lot of great opportunities for foreign expats working in large multi-national corporations. Jobs can also be found in tourism, industrial development, science and technology, trade and engineering. The banking sector also employs a lot of expats from all over the world.

House Prices and Renting

Although the cost of dining in a restaurant and buying groceries is lower in Singapore, the cost of property is higher than in the USA. The average rent of a one bedroom apartment in the city centre in Singapore is $2,058, and the average cost for the equivalent apartment in the America would be $1,675. One of the only cities in the USA where costs may be more expensive than Singapore is New York.

House prices in Singapore have dropped in recent years due to the government’s intervention to cool down soaring house prices, and as a result, it is now among the top five countries for first time buyers since salaries grew by 3.7% within the last year alone.

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Education

Singapore’s education system is considered one of the best in the world, according to an OECD study from 2015. Singaporeans take education very seriously, and it is common for parents to enroll their children in enrichment activities starting when they are very young.

Teachers typically instruct students in English, although some schools may teach subjects in Mandarin Chinese.

Students enrol in Kindergarten between ages three and six, then in Primary Education for the next six years. Based on results of the Primary School Leaving Examination, students are placed in different tracks for secondary education. Advanced students have the opportunity to take part in the Gifted Education Programme which offers special enrichment programs.

Culture

Singapore blends together Asian and European cultures in a modern and exciting way - with influences from East Asia, South Asia and Malaysia. A diverse blend of religions, languages and cuisines exist here simultaneously. The government strongly encourages respect for different religions and personal beliefs. It’s fascinating to explore the distinct ethnic neighbourhoods, including Kampong Glam, Chinatown and Little India.

Singapore is a meritocracy, which means that people are encouraged to develop to their fullest potential regardless of background, race or religion. The stars on the Singapore national flag represent peace, progress, democracy, justice and equality which are very important values within Singaporean culture.

Food and Drink

Singapore serves up a delicious buffet of flavors from all over the world, and Singaporeans consider eating a very serious pastime. The cheapest and best places to eat in Singapore are the hawker centers - areas where pushcart vendors gather. The prices are low, the stalls must display their hygiene certificate and the food is high quality.

You’ll find many city workers seeking a freshly prepared lunch - Katong Laksa with chilli paste, a plate of chili crab, Mee Siam noodles in sweet and sour soup. The food here is a unique mix of Indian, Chinese, Malay and Western influences. If you see a queue at a particular stall, join it as this means the food is worth waiting for! Singapore also offers a wide range of full service restaurants catering to every budget and taste.

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Nightlife

The nightlife in Singapore is glamorous and chic, with plenty of stylish cocktail bars where you can unwind with friends after work. However, there’s also a laid-back side with friendly casual bars serving up cold beers. Sometimes bars in Singapore host “Free Flow” nights where guests pay a cover charge on the door and can get a drink from the bar as often as they like. Most clubs have 24 hour licences, and there are few places that close before 3am.

The LGBT nightlife in Singapore is vibrant and diverse and there are many gay friendly bars, cafes and pubs. Most of the best gay venues are located close to Neil Road in Chinatown. The Pink Dot is the annual Gay Pride event in Singapore, where attendees gather dressed in pink to form a large “pink dot” to show their support.