How To Return To Singapore As An Expat – that will be the topic of today’s article.
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The best time to consider your financial situation is when you are moving to a new country.
It became increasingly obvious that there was a bit of divide in the treatment of the expats in Singapore. As a result of the global pandemic, the country has begun to have a downfall in its economy. This is solely because; Singapore’s economy has traditionally relied on many foreigners who lived and worked there.
Now, with economic pressures increased by the pandemic, a lot of foreigners have found it difficult to relocate or return back to the country. While some locals disclosed that they had been deprived of better job prospects by foreign professionals, many said there’s growing anger amongst some Singaporeans towards the high number of workers from overseas.
Either way, we must accept the fact that coronavirus affected the country’s economy in a number of ways. Moreover, Singapore is proud of its multiracial and multicultural population, with the majority being ethnic Chinese, Indians, Malays, and Native English speakers. But Covid affected some expats!
Are you thinking of moving or returning to Singapore as an expat? Of course, there are many things to consider. Travelers that get struck in the United Kingdom can still move to Singapore. In fact, since there are low Covid-19 and lockdown procedures, expats in the United Kingdom or other countries can now move.
In this article, our main motive is to walk you through the requirements to return to Singapore as an expat. Aside from this fact, you’ll know all it takes to relocate when you’re stuck in the United Kingdom, India, and other countries that you might reside in. would you love to know more? Read further to get the full details.
Who can Travel to Singapore
Due to the COVID-19 and lockdown that’s affecting the economy, entry into the country is primarily limited to Singapore citizens and permanent residents. However, this process is gradually changing in recent times.
The country has opened up four ‘green lanes’ for fully vaccinated expats from Hong Kong, Germany, Brunei, and Macao. Aside from this, expats from these places must apply for an Air travel Pass online before they can be allowed to fly to Singapore regardless of the country.
Furthermore, eligible foreigners will, therefore, need to show proof of a negative PCR test taken within 48 hours of the scheduled flight and will have to take another upon arrival at the Changi Airport. During the days of staying, you’ll need to test again at a designated clinic in Singapore to confirm the report.
What this measure simply implies is that there’s no quarantine or stay-at-home order, but it’s a significant step in the country’s long-term strategy to live with coronavirus and re-open its borders. In our previous post, we talked about the pros and cons of moving to Singapore; you can refer to the post to know more about Singapore and expat relocation.
Restrictions to Expat Returning to Singapore
Whether you’re relocating from the United Kingdom, India, or any other neighboring countries of Singapore, it’s crucial that you know the restrictions. Singapore nationals and permanent residents are allowed to enter, but you must have proof of a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours of your departure.
Moreover, you’ll need to spend up to 14 days in quarantine after being served a stay-home notice (SHN) on arrival. Again, the city-state has announced that it will accept the IATA digital travel pass, colloquially called a vaccine passport, and this has been put in place since May 2021.
This pass allows the immigration officers to store data confirming that a traveler has received the Covid-19 vaccination from an accredited laboratory. Meanwhile, as the pass is still in the planning stage, Singapore will keep expat up-to-date. On the other hand, expatriates from countries with Air Travel Pass agreement must apply for entry between seven to thirty days before departure to submit health details.
Covid-19 Situation in Singapore and Returning Guide
As at the time of writing this article, research made it known that Singapore is slowly coming out of a phase 3 coronavirus wave. During this period, groups can consist of up to five people, although the unvaccinated are advice to remain in groups of two only. While households can have up to five outside visitors per day, social gatherings are permitted, while funerals only involve a maximum of 30 attendees.
However, all expats must be registered either through the Singapore government’s Safe Entry and Trace together apps or by using a Trace Together token. Regardless of the country you’re returning from; this factor should be considered. Without further ado, let’s quickly walk you through the safety of returning.
- Ensure you book your rental through a reputable service and meet the requirements before payment
- Check whether there are unauthorized transactions on your statement of account as to notice any fraudulent activity
- Pay careful attention when with your credentials, and be careful when other people are handling your cards
- Expects enhanced security measures and border checks while you take full consideration of what’s happening around you, surroundings, and when in public places
- Ensure you follow the instructions of local authorities and monitor local media for information on ongoing demonstrations and happenings in the country
- Obligations to wear a face-covering or surgical mask in some circumstances are necessary. On the flip side, you’ll need to present proof of vaccination or COVID-19 test results to access public services and spaces
- Before you travel, make sure you understand the movement restrictions, curfews, or lockdowns and the authentication of your visitation.
Top 7 Reasons You’d Want to Return to Singapore
While we already know that Singapore is Asia’s business epicenter, there are many things to consider if you get stuck in another country. Depending on the country you’re returning from, Singapore has incredible plans to improve expat life. I’m sure you’d love to know what we’ve unleashed for you.
If that sounds like a yes, you’re on the right platform. In recent years, a number of high-profile investors like Facebook co-founder Eduardo Saverin have moved their base of residence to the thriving Southeast Asian city-state. Similarly, a number of international corporations have made Singapore its base today.
In other news, highly qualified workers, managers, accountants, content curators, and executives continue to relocate to the country to take advantage of the myriad of opportunities the country offers. Nonetheless, Singapore company incorporation has disclosed seven reasons you’d want to return. Check it out!
1. Enjoy the Highest Quality of Life
You might have been living in the United Kingdom and India but not satisfied with the life you enjoy. You might be worried about the taxation in the U.K, while the Indian system might not be your preferred one. Well, Singapore should be the next option as it offers one of the highest quality of life in Asia.
Additionally, Singapore has consistently topped Mercer’s Quality of Living survey, a reputable survey that ranks the best global cities with the highest standards of living based on personal safety, sustainable economic growth, security, and political stability. However, for years, Singapore has maintained its top ranking in this Mercer’s list.
2. Highly Remarkable Literate
Singapore has a reputable, competitive, and highly skilled workforce, with a remarkable literacy rate of over 90 percent and an increasing proportion of highly educated professionals. Not only that but foreign investors and employers recognize Singapore as an Asian capital of global talent. Also, the requirements for a Singapore work visa are more stringent and are set to tighten further. Therefore, the demands for highly qualified professionals are become more, and it remains robust in the country.
3. Great Place to Live, Play and Work
Singapore is not only a great place to live, works, and does some business, but it’s also a great place to play and have an endless moment with families and friends. In addition to career and business opportunities in this country, the government offers the entire public and expats multiple options for recreation and leisure. Aside from this fact, Singapore is a multicultural Mecca bustling with art festivals.
4. Tax Structure
It’s no doubt that the tax structure in Singapore is quite attractive. While the country is known for its attractive tax structure worldwide, investors and entrepreneurs are consistently drawn to its attractive rates, tax relief measures, and no capital gains tax policy with a network of avoidance of double tax agreements, among other ideal tax incentives. This way, an attractive tax structure is among the reasons to return to the country.
5. Excellent Physical Infrastructures in Singapore
Although the physical infrastructures in the United Kingdom and India are also of great quality but it’s always good to return to your initial country of residence. Again, in today’s 21st century, the Singapore government has continued to provide some of the world’s most cutting-edge infrastructures, from bustling international trade ports, modern residential buildings, transportation systems to innovative high-rise structures.
6. Home to Cultural and Historical Heritage
Despite being a modern and progressive nation, Singapore has never for once forgotten its cultural and historical heritage. Moreover, its location has allowed the country to have been influenced by cultures from all over the world. So, if you want to explore the richness of Singaporean culture, it’s high time you return to the country.
7. Working in Singapore as an Expat
If you’re yet to understand the reasons why Singapore remains the favorite destination for expat, it’s because of the work nature. And Singapore has a reputation for being one of the suitable countries that expats could work without disturbance from any party. Again, the government is trying its best to make the whole nation favorable for expats to visit regardless of the global pandemic.
Top 10 Places to Visit in Singapore
In today’s 21st century, Singapore has been described as a playground for the rich, and this small city-state does indeed have a certain sheen of wealth. However, Singapore offers more than just high-end shopping malls, fine dining, and luxury hotels. Without further ado, below are the places to visit in Singapore.
1. Marina Bay Sands
The opulent Marina Bay Sands resort complex includes a high-end luxury hotel, a mall with a canal running through it, the Marina Bay Sands Skypark Observation Deck, and the ArtScience Museum. From the Skypark, you can see the innovative double helix bridge, gardens by the bay, and the impressive skyline. Aside from this fact, the elegant opulence of the Marina Bay Sands exemplifies Singapore’s style and status as a major international city in Southeast Asia.
2. Botanic Garden of Singapore
Not to be confused with the Gardens on the Bay, this Botanic garden is also worth visiting in today’s world. Not only for this fact, but Singapore received its first UNESCO World Heritage nomination for this botanical garden, and with good reasons. Other popular things to do in this garden include visiting the impressive Orchid Garden, eco-lake, sculptures, and many others, to mention a few.
3. Raffles Hotel in Singapore
The raffles hotel in Singapore is another place to consider. It’s a colonial building that has been known to be one of the world’s last grand 19th-century hotels, once visited by literary luminaries such as Joseph Conrad, Rudyard Kipling, and many more. Built in 1887, this property has served as a city landmark for well over a century and continues to live up to its tony reputation with excellent food and service.
4. Chinatown in Singapore
If you’ve ever visited China, Singapore’s Chinatown neighborhood will bring you right back to this wonderful place. From the small mom-and-pop stores and authentic Chinese food to the bright red lanterns, there’s excitement and hustle in this district. However, you can visit the Chinese Heritage Center and see the impressive and beautiful Sri Mariamman Hindu temple and a lot more.
5. Singapore Universal Studios
The Universal Studios in Singapore occupies 49 acres of Resorts World Sentosa. Also, this park is arranged thematically, with each area paying tribute to a location, television show, and movie location. Aside from this fact, you can also enjoy a night safari in Singapore as it puts a new twist on the traditional zoo experience.
6. Singapore Flyer
The Singapore Flyer is a giant Ferris wheel, only with benefits that start with the stunning view. Not only that, but this cards hold up to 28 people as they circle above the city. As history disclosed, when it opened in 2008, it was the highest Ferris wheel in the world, reaching 165 meters up to the Singaporean sky. However, the Flyer can also accommodate disabled guests in wheelchairs.
7. Buddha Tooth Relic Temple
The Buddha tooth relic temple is another place to visit in Singapore. The Chinese build temples to a lot of gods and other things, but the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple is one of the more unusual. Also, in the late 1980s, when a Buddhist temple was first proposed for Singapore’s Chinatown, it was surprised to become a more traditional temple.
8. Clarke Quay
The Clarke Quay is another thing to put into consideration while visiting the country. One of the key tourist attractions in the Singapore River was the city’s hub of commerce in the late 19th century. This place is still hustling and bustles today but has a different kind of commerce, unique boutiques, trendy restaurants, pushcart vendors, and more, all of which blend Asian and European influences.
9. Resort World Sentosa
The resort world Sentosa is another place you’d love to visit. Located on an island off Singapore’s south coast, the property features hotels, restaurants, and theme parks. In fact, it’s a place that has something for everyone, no matter how old they are. Other attractions surrounding this are include; nightly entertainment, Universal Studios Singapore, and many others, to mention a few.
10. Orchard Road in Singapore
The Orchard Road in Singapore has made it to the last on our list. This is the main shopping street of Singapore, regularly frequented by the locals and foreign tourists. Named after the fruit orchards that the road led to, Orchard Road is flanked by malls, numerous upmarket restaurants, nightclubs, chains, and hotels. More so, the Christmas decorations along the orchard are famous and entirely over the top.
Travel Tips to Return to Singapore
As one of Southeast Asia’s most fascinating destinations, Singapore is a diverse island country with something of interest for every expat. Whether you’ve been stuck in another country or you’re just planning to relocate to Singapore, pack your bags and check out these important return tips.
Get Advice from Other Foreigners
Getting advice from other foreigners is one of the first things to consider if you’re returning to Singapore. Many things are happening around that you may not be aware of. In this case, seeking advice from an expat in the country can better influence your decisions to relocate back to the country.
Expat Arrival in Singapore
There are a few things to know at your arrival in the country. At first, you should know that alcohol is hugely expensive. So, if you have a few drinks as part of your vacation experience, buying duty-free alcohol at the airport on your way is usually the most economical way to access liquor. Secondly, Singapore is clean and safe mainly because of its laws. Therefore, avoid jaywalking, and ensure to leave your chewing gum at home.
Shopping After Global Pandemic
Shopping is so popular with both the locals and expats that Singapore has dedicated a whole month of sales. This is known as the Great Singapore Sale, and it happens around May to July. During this time, there are up to 70 percent discounts. Some of the tips for shopping include; Chinatown shopping- known for all traditional Chinese arts and crafts, jewelry and souvenirs, Little India- Indian clothes, handicrafts, jewelry, and many more.
Getting Around in Singapore
Before returning to Singapore, understanding the new means of getting around the city is crucial. The locals are spoilt for choices when it comes to getting around. As an expat, you should be aware of this fact, and if possible, head to the nearest decent hotels where there always seem to be plenty of taxis for you to get around comfortably in the country.
Frequently Asked Questions about Returning
Is Singapore a suitable place for expatriates?
Of course, yes! As mentioned in our previous blog post pros and cons of living in Singapore, Singapore is one of the best places for you to reside. Although COVID-19 coincided with Singapore’s first population but according to the report, Singapore saw a surge of businesses and expats relocating from Hong Kong in 2020.
Is living in Singapore expensive in 2021?
Well, as of the time of writing this blog post, we can tell you that living in Singapore is quite expensive. Moreover, the Economist’s Worldwide Cost of Living Report 2020 ranked this city as the world’s fourth most expensive city. On the other hand, make sure your outgoings match up with your salary because your relocation is often a key step to achieve your goals.
How much do I need to live in Singapore?
It’s no doubt that expat life in Singapore comes at a cost. Therefore, making calculations can be an essential step when you’re traveling with your family. Besides, the amount of money you need depends on where you choose to live, the cost of your commute, school fee, and the healthcare/lifestyle.
How has Singapore dealt with COVID-19 today?
This city-state is relying on high-speed testing and vaccinations as it prepares to live with the coronavirus. Since 2019, the country has pursued a Covid-zero strategy that quashed the spread of the virus by strict border controls, enforced social distancing, and aggressive contact tracing in the country.
Is healthcare cheap in Singapore?
As of 2021, it’s still in practice that Singaporeans enjoy a universal healthcare system. And this is because; the government funds the public health system, and it is mandatory for expats and locals that meet the requirements to enjoy. Also, patients can access care in public facilities with ease.
All returning expats, regardless of vaccination status, can return to Singapore today if they meet the requirements. Just as we’ve mentioned above, there are many things to consider before you return from your initial place of residence. But travelers entering or transiting through Singapore will go through a quarantine process. Nonetheless, you should seek entry by applying for health insurance.