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How to get a job as an expat in Singapore

Singapore is considered one of the best places to live and work as an expat, and for several good reasons. It’s a great place where you can either start your career or take it to the next level. The job opportunities there can give you the chance to earn a solid income that you can use to live more comfortably, boost your savings, or make wise investments.

To prepare for the adventure that is living and working abroad, diving into the following topics can be helpful:

What kinds of jobs are available in Singapore?

You can find work in a variety of industries throughout Singapore. A few popular options for expats include the fields of:

  • Finance
  • Communications
  • IT, engineering
  • Marketing
  • Advertising
  • Shipping

Whether you want to work for a large corporation (such as Microsoft), you’d prefer to work in the world of broadcasting (such as at ESPN), or you want to support a smaller business, you could land the job of your dreams with the right strategy.


How to find work as an expat in Singapore

Singapore provides a host of opportunities for job seekers from abroad. Knowing where to look for the top job openings can help you quickly find a position that you’ll love.

Here are a few of the sources that you can look into when searching for work in Singapore:

  • Headhunters and staffing agencies, including those that fill roles in temporary positions
  • Recruitment websites and job boards
  • Binational chambers of commerce
  • Websites of businesses that have offices in Singapore

What are the requirements to work in Singapore?

To work as an expat in Singapore, you’ll need to get the appropriate work visa, which is also referred to as a ‘pass’. Having this document prior to starting your job will be necessary.

There are several types of work passes and permits that you can apply for when you’re planning on living and working as an expat in Singapore. Here are a few of the main ones:

Employment Pass
  • To be eligible for an Employment Pass, you need to be a foreign professional who has a job offer in Singapore, and your work has to be within an executive, managerial, or specialized job.
  • You must earn a fixed monthly salary that’s at least 3,600SGD, though individuals with more experience might need to earn even more.
  • Other qualifications might include specialist skills, professional qualifications, and a degree from a university.
  • You can’t apply for an Employment Pass yourself; instead, an employer or employment agent will need to apply on your behalf.
  • First-time applicants will receive an Employment Pass that’s valid for up to two years, but renewals could be for up to three years.

Getting a job as an expat in Singapore

  • This pass is for qualified entrepreneurs, innovators, and investors who wish to run a business in Singapore.
  • There are specific requirements that need to be met in order to be classified as an entrepreneur, investor, or innovator. For example, if you’re applying as an investor, you might need to prove that you have a good track record.
  • As an entrepreneur, you might need to show your track record, business network, and whether or not you have adequate funding raised for your business. And, as an innovator, you might need to show your achievements or prove you hold intellectual property.
  • You can apply if you’ve started, or you’re intending on starting, a private limited company that’s registered with ACRA (Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority). If the company is already registered, it has to be less than six months old by the date that you apply for your pass. If it hasn’t been registered yet, you can do that once you know whether or not your application has been approved.
  • There are certain businesses that aren’t eligible for this pass. They include, but are not limited to, nightclubs, bars, karaoke lounges, acupuncture, coffee shops, food courts, hawker centres, and employment agencies.
  • You can apply for an EntrePass directly, and there aren’t any minimum salary requirements.
  • The duration of a new EntrePass, as well as the first renewal, is for one year. Subsequent renewals of the pass would be for two years.
S Pass
  • If you’re a mid-level skilled worker, you meet the assessment criteria, and you can prove that you’ll be able to make at least 2,300SGD per month, you can apply for an S Pass.
  • You’ll likely need to show a degree or diploma, as well as years of relevant work experience to qualify for this pass.
  • Your employer or employment agent will need to apply for an S Pass on your behalf.
  • The employer will also need to purchase medical insurance for the applicant of an S Pass.
  • The duration of an S Pass is two years, and it can be renewed.
Pro Tip: In addition to doing research into the visa requirements for expats who want to work in Singapore, you can also use a handy tool known as the Employment/S Pass Self-Assessment Tool (SAT) to determine if you qualify for an S Pass or Employment Pass. Doing so can help you figure out what documents and information you’ll need to provide with your application to ensure it’s accepted.


How to send earnings abroad when working in Singapore

Once you’re earning an income in Singapore, you might opt to send some of that money back home, to put it into a savings account or to help out family, for example. But using a bank could cost you.

By choosing to use an international money transfer service like OFX instead, you could save up to 70%* compared to the rates that banks charge. And, you can rest assured that your money will be transferred securely and swiftly.

Singapore remains one of the top destinations for expats!

In addition to its strong economy and education system, there’s always something fun to do in Singapore, so it’s no surprise that living and working there as an expat can be an unforgettable experience. With the right amount of preparation, you’ll be ready to move abroad and start a whole new life while doing work that you enjoy.


*Average savings based on published rates of ANZ, Westpac, NAB and CBA on a single transfer of AUD$10,000 to USD between 6.9.18 and 8.10.18 excluding weekends. Transaction costs excluded. Quoted savings are not indicative of future savings. #To view fee free thresholds and currencies, visit Your transfer may be subject to other fees imposed by third parties.

Sending money from the US to Singapore?

When you use OFX to make a global money transfer, you could save on our competitive Singapore dollar (SGD) exchange rates.
IMPORTANT: The contents of this blog do not constitute financial advice and are provided for general information purposes only without taking into account the investment objectives, financial situation and particular needs of any particular person. UKForex Limited (trading as “OFX”) and its affiliates make no recommendation as to the merits of any financial strategy or product referred to in the blog. OFX makes no warranty, express or implied, concerning the suitability, completeness, quality or exactness of the information and models provided in this blog.

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