Expats moving to Singapore will find themselves in a city credited with offering foreigners one of the finest lifestyles in the world.
The nation has an exemplary public transport system, excellent communications, top class healthcare facilities and a multiethnic and cosmopolitan culture that promotes tolerance and a good standard of life for its citizens. Not to mention, Singapore is incredibly safe.
Prudent measures by the government have ensured a stable economy, and with big names in business and trade establishing regional headquarters in the city-state, qualified expats will find plenty of professional opportunities.
It follows that Singapore has become home to a large percentage of high-earning expats, many who substantiate that they have access to much more disposable income than they did in their home country. That said, inflation continues to creep up, resulting in a higher cost of living than in many surrounding countries, and expats will need to make sure that they negotiate a salary that can cover the hefty housing prices.
Raising children here is also ideal for parents, those relocating overseas with little ones can take comfort in the knowledge that the city is crime-free, clean and safe. Furthermore, a variety of international schools provide a high standard of education, with school fees usually financed by the employer.
Not to mention, even though nearly 50 percent of the city is occupied by dense high rises and soaring sky skyscrapers, expats will find that the government has balanced the concrete jungle with natural flora and fauna; beautiful botanical gardens, zoos, waterfalls and underwater parks are all present and accounted for.
Coupled with the expertise and training of our staff, potential costly delays can be avoided. For your peace of mind and protection OSS World Wide Movers is a FIDI FAIM accredited company as well as being a member of the International Association of Movers (IAM).
Our network of FAIM/IAM accredited partners cover the whole of the South East Asian Region. As an independent Company we can then choose the best and most suitable company to handle the clearance and delivery of your effects, for your situation. Our partners in Singapore are well versed in all aspects of the requirements for importation of personal and household goods and are at the ready to meet your needs. This guarantees you a seamless, tailor made move right through to your new home on the other side of the world for not only your personal effects and vehicles, but your much loved pets as well.
Can I pack my own goods when I move to Singapore?
If you are sending items which have been packed by yourself “owner packed” then they will attract more stringent inspection by Customs on arrival in Singapore.
Providing a detailed carton by carton inventory will assist Customs in inspecting your effects, and may avoid unnecessary delays.
It is advisable to have your goods packed by OSS if you are looking at sending larger consignments, to ensure the clearance process can be conducted with a minimum of fuss.
How do I move my car to Singapore?
Moving motor vehicles and motor bikes to Singapore is possible provided Customs criteria are met.
This service is usually depot to depot, meaning the motor vehicle will be collected by you from our partners depot in Singapore following customs clearance.
Customs may require evidence that the owner of the vehicle has lived abroad for 12 months or longer, so a copy of your passport with date stamp showing arrival in Singapore, or copy of lease or rental agreement on in Singapore would be sufficient.
Can I move my boat to Singapore?
Moving a boat to Singapore has similar requirements to moving a car to Singapore when it comes to registration requirements and process.
Customs and Quarantine in Singapore will have a special interest in the boat due to its exposure to marine life, however as Australia has a fairly clean marine environment, your boat should pass customs and quarantine without any problem.
How long will my move to Singapore take?
Clearance when moving to Singapore takes approximately 5 to 7 working days for an FCL (Full Container Load e.g. not a shared container), and 7 to 10 working days for a GRP (Groupage or shared container load) once the shipping container has been unloaded from the vessel.
What insurance should I have when moving to Singapore?
OSS offers a full range of moving insurance options depending on your needs.
Although your shipment to Singapore will be packed to export standards (designed to withstand the the longest journey), the small cost of insurance gives you complete peace of mind with regard to the exposure and rigours inherent in moving from one side of the world to the other.
Ask us about Movecover, our Marine Transit Insurance product.
Singapore is a city-state, located at the southern-most tip of Malaysia. When the British East India Company discovered Singapore, this small island with only 710 square kilometres, was home to a simple fishing village of just 1,000 inhabitants. Today, Singapore’s population has grown to over 6 million, making it the world’s secondmost-densely-populated country – and one of Asia’s most successful economies.
The city’s rich mixture of Asian and Western cultures results in intriguing blends and contrasts found nowhere else on Earth, and offers visitors a truly unique experience. Boasting four official languages – English, Malay, Chinese and Tamil – Singapore’s multi-cultural community lives in harmony, celebrating all major cultural festivals, and ultimately combining to form a unity of excellence.
Singapore’s highly efficient public transport system is world-renowned, making island exploration easy and convenient. Everywhere you go, you’ll be delighted by the impeccable cleanliness and order that have also become hallmarks of the island. Visitors are struck by this the moment they arrive at Singapore’s modern Changi Airport, with its shiny arrival halls and short, well-organized taxi queues. In the city, there is no need for a car. Public transportation is excellent and walking is a good way to explore the city. All major attractions are also accessible by tour bus. Since the city is only 60 miles (100k) from the equator, the tropical temperatures do not vary much. Rainfall is fairly evenly distributed through the year. No matter when you choose to visit, warm weather will be abundantly available. The visitor is struck immediately by Singapore’s abundance of parks, nature reserves, and lush, tropical greenery.
The highways leading to the city are likewise neat and trim, lined with majestic palm trees and colourful bougainvilleas. Offshore, vessels from all across the globe queue up for their turns to load and unload in one of the world’s busiest container ports.
Singaporean food is legendary. The city’s distinctive hawker centres, coffee shops and food courts line the streets and malls, offering an abundance of sumptuous local fare – and unique tastes of colourful local culture, too. Eating happens to be one of Singapore’s favourite pastimes, a fact reflected in the city’s amazing assortment of celebrity-chef restaurants.
Another favourite pastime is exploring the city’s glitzy, vibrant and uber-fancy shopping malls. You’ll find entire roads dedicated to shopping, with such an astonishing variety of malls, department stores, designer boutiques and art galleries that you’ll find yourself looking for a spa at day’s end, just to soothe your happily tired feet.
Singapore’s skyline has grown enormously over the past few years. The Marina Bay Sands – a world-class luxury hotel and casino – is just one of the many highlights, joined by such iconic establishments as the Esplanade, the Fullerton Bay Hotel and the Singapore Flyer. Yet in contrast and complement to all the dazzlingly modern structures, lovely historic shop houses in areas such as China Town, Arab Street and Little India retain their timeless charm, and are well taken care of by the Singaporean government.
While much of the city has enjoyed a remarkable burst of new construction in recent years, half the country is still wrapped in lush greenery, offering abundant opportunities for lively jungle hikes and serene nature walks. Mischievous monkeys, colourful birds and impressive water monitor lizards are common sights in the island’s many well-kept nature reserves.
This island country is actually not limited to just a single island. In fact, it is officially composed of a total of 63 islands – though there is only one among them that is developed and a major attraction: The island-resort of Sentosa – whose name means “peace and tranquillity” in the native Malay language – is well worth a visit. It offers gorgeous beaches, five-star hotels, beautiful golf courses, and even a major theme park, Universal Studios Singapore.
Singapore’s strategic location at the southern tip of the Malaysian peninsula has ensured its importance, which is greater than its size might seem to justify. Singapore consists of the island of Singapore and some 63 islets within its territorial waters. The main island is about 26 mi/42 km from west to east and 14 mi/23 km from north to south. It’s a mostly undulating country with low hills (the highest, 540-ft/166-m Bukit Timah Hill, is to the northwest of the city).
Singapore’s Central Business District actually spreads across both the central and southern parts of the island (you’ll know when you’re there – it boasts striking high-rise structures). You can get a good visual orientation to the city as you cross the Benjamin Sheares Bridge on the East Coast Parkway, which links the airport to the city centre. The Singapore cityscape looks magnificent, particularly at night when buildings are brilliantly lit. Offshore, there appears to be another city all lit up because of the many ships anchored there – Singapore is one of the busiest seaports in the world.
Many of the city’s attractions are clustered closely together. Orchard Road, the shoppers’ haven, is located in the northern part of the city centre. Chinatown, where you’ll find Boat Quay, is just to the southeast of Orchard Road, while Little India is northeast. Sentosa Island, with its many amusements, is directly to the southwest of the city centre. These frequently visited neighbourhoods, as well as more suburban areas, remain a bustling hive of pedestrian activity well into the evening.
Full country name: Republic of Singapore
Area: 715.8 sq. km
Population: 5,312,400 (36% foreigners)
People: 74% Chinese 13% Malay 9% Indian 3% Others
Language: English, Malay, Mandarin and Tamil
Religion: 9% Taoist 42% Buddhist 15% Muslim 15% Christian 4% Hindu 15% Others
Government: Parliamentary democracy
President: Tony Tan
Prime Minister: Lee Hsien Long
Major industries: Shipping, banking, tourism, electrical & electronics, chemicals, oil refining
Major trading partners: US, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Japan
Health risks: None
Electricity: 220-240V, 50 Hz
County code: +65
Mobile Phone network: GSM 900, GSM 1800, 3G
Weights & measures: Metric with local variations
Like most of Southeast Asia, Singapore is generally hot and humid. It’s warm and humid year round, with the temperature almost never dropping below 20°C (68°F), even at night, and usually climbing to 30°C (86°F) during the day. Recent times, it even reached till 35°C. Humidity is high, mounting over a 75% mark.
November and December is the rainy season. June-August is considered to be the best time to visit, but even then it rains often. Don’t let the climate stop you from going, however. Most buildings are air-conditioned (to the point that you may want to take a sweater), and pains have been taken to make everything as comfortable as can be, all things considered. When it does rain, it’s generally only for a short period.
For those who enjoy the sun and the beach, Singapore is an ideal place for beach lovers, as you get the hot sun throughout the year. So when you’re in Singapore, just bring along your cooling apparels and hats
Singapore is a cosmopolitan society where people live harmoniously and interactions among different races are commonly seen. The pattern of Singapore stems from the inherent cultural diversity of the island. The immigrants of the past have given the place a mixture of Malay, Chinese, Indian, and European influences, all of which have intermingled.
Behind the facade of a modern city, these ethnic races are still evident. The areas for the different races, which were designated to them by Sir Stamford Raffles, still remain although the bulk of Singaporeans do think of themselves as Singaporeans, regardless of race or culture. Each still bears its own unique character. The old streets of Chinatown can still be seen; the Muslim characteristics are still conspicuous in Arab Street; and Little India along Serangoon Road still has its distinct ambience. Furthermore, there are marks of the British colonial influence in the Neo-Classical buildings all around the city.
Each racial group has its own distinctive religion and there are colourful festivals of special significance all year round. Although the festivals are special to certain races, it is nonetheless enjoyed by all.
In Singapore, food is also readily and widely available. There are lots of cuisines to offer. We have, Chinese, Indian, Malay, Indonesian and Western, Italian, Peranakan, Spanish, French, Thai and even Fusion. It is very common to savour other culture’s food and some of the food can be very intriguing. Indian food is relatively spicier, whereas Chinese food is less spicy and the Chinese enjoy seafood. Malay cooking uses coconut milk as their main ingredient that makes their food very tasty.
Religion in Singapore
Most Singaporeans celebrate the major festivals associated with their respective religions. The variety of religions is a direct reflection of the diversity of races living there. The Chinese are predominantly followers of Buddhism, Taoism, Shenism, Christians, Catholics and some considered as ‘free-thinkers’ (Those who do not belong to any religion). Malays have the Muslims and Indians are Hindus. There is a sizeable number of Muslims and Sikhs in the Indian population.
Religious tolerance is essential in Singapore. In fact, religions often cross racial boundaries and some even merge in unusual ways in this modern country. Younger Singaporeans tend to combine a little of the mysteries of the older generation with the realistic world that they know of today.
Religion is still an integral part of the cosmopolitan Singapore. Many of its most interesting buildings are religious, be it old temples, modern churches, or exotic mosques. An understanding of these buildings does play a part in contributing to the appreciation of their art.
Language in Singapore
The four official languages of Singapore are Mandarin, Malay, Tamil and English. English is the most common language used and is the language which unites the different ethnic groups. Children are taught in English at school but also learn their mother tongue to make sure they don’t lose contact with their traditions.
Expatriates and foreigners may encounter language problems in the beginning of their stay in Singapore as many Singaporeans use Singlish to communicate. Singlish is a mix of English with other languages mixed into the English, sometimes phrases can end with funny terms like ‘lah’, ‘leh’, mah’. Chinese commonly use their own dialects to communicate, and sometimes, inter-dialect groups don’t understand one another’s language, as the language is vastly different. Except for Hokkien and Teochew, which have a closer link. The Malays use the language among their fellow races and the Indians speak Tamil. But whatever the race or religion, the country’s community unite as one nation, where most religious or racial gaps are being bridged.
Singapore English has its origins in the schools of colonial Singapore. In the nineteenth century very few children went to school at all, and even fewer were educated in English. The people who spoke English and sent their children to English medium schools were mainly the Europeans, the Eurasians (people of mixed racial ancestry), some of the small minorities, such as the Jews, some of the Indians and Ceylonese, and also a group of Chinese people usually called the Straits Chinese, who had ancestors of long residence in the region, and who spoke a variety of Malay usually called Baba Malay which was influenced by Hokkien Chinese and by Bazaar Malay.
The fact that all these children would have known Malay probably explains why most of the loan words in Singapore Colloquial English are from Malay. The largest group of teachers were Eurasians, and there were also many teachers from Ceylon and India. European teachers were never more than a quarter of the total teaching staff in a school, and they usually taught the senior classes. These Europeans may have been from Britain (which at that time included Ireland) but were also from the USA, Belgium and France. The children in these schools would have been exposed to many varieties of English.
In the first twenty years of the twentieth century, English medium education became popular for all groups. Girls started going to school in larger numbers too. By the 1950s nearly all children went to school, and the majority were educated in English. By the 1980s all education was in the medium of English (with children learning another language alongside English).
Singapore English grew out of the English of the playground of these children of various linguistic backgrounds who were learning English at school. As more and more of its people experienced learning English at school, English became widely spoken, alongside Singapore’s many other languages. Since Singapore became an independent Republic in 1965, the use of English has increased still further. For many Singaporeans, English is the main language. Many families speak English at home and it is one of the the first languages learnt by about half of the current pre-school children.
Nearly everyone in Singapore speaks more than one language, with many people speaking three or four. Most children grow up bilingual from infancy and learn more languages as they grow up. Naturally the presence of other languages (especially various varieties of Malay and of Chinese) has influenced the English of Singapore. The influence is especially apparent in the kind of English that is used informally, which is popularly called Singlish. Singlish is a badge of identity for many Singaporeans.
Events and Public Holidays
Singapore’s polyglot population celebrates a number of festivals and events. Chinese, Hindu and Muslim celebrations follow a lunar calendar so dates of festivities vary from year to year.
Chinese New Year, in January or February, is welcomed in with dragon dances, parades and much good cheer. Chinatown is lit up and there are fireworks and night markets.
During Ramadan, food stalls are set up in the evening in the Arab Street district, near the Sultan Mosque. Hari Raya Puasa, the end of Ramadan in January or February, is marked by three days of joyful celebrations.
Vesak Day in April or May celebrates Buddha’s birth, enlightenment and death. It is marked by various events, including the release of caged birds to symbolise the setting free of captive souls.
The Dragon Boat Festival, held in May or June, commemorates the death of a Chinese saint who drowned himself as a protest against government corruption. It is celebrated with boat races across Marina Bay.
The Festival of the Hungry Ghosts is usually celebrated in September. This is when the souls of the dead are released for feasting and entertainment on earth. Chinese operas are performed for them and food is offered; the ghosts eat the spirit of the food but thoughtfully leave the substance for the mortal celebrants.
The festival of Thaipusam is one of the most dramatic Hindu festivals and is now banned in India. Devotees honour Lord Subramaniam with acts of amazing body-piercing masochism – definitely not for the squeamish. In Singapore, devotees march in procession from the Sri Srinivasa Perumal Temple on Serangoon Road to the Chettiar Hindu Temple on Tank Road. The festival is based on the lunar calendar but will be held in October for the next couple of years.
Jan 1 New Year’s Day
Feb 10 – 11 Chinese New Year
Mar 29 Good Friday
May 1 Labour Day
May 24 Vesak Day
Aug 8 Hari Raya Puasa
Aug 9 National Day
Oct 15 Hari Raya Haji
Nov 3 Deepavali
Dec 25 Christmas Day
General Information about Singapore
The local currency is Singapore dollars and cents. Notes come in denominations of SGD 2, SGD 5, SGD 10, SGD 20, SGD 50, SGD 100, SGD 500, SGD 1,000, and SGD 10,000. Coins come in denomination of 1, 5, 10, 20 and 50 cents and SGD 1. Banking hours are Monday to Friday: 10 am to 3 pm, and Saturday: 9.30 am to 1 PM (some banks are open until 3 PM). Sunday, 9.30 am to 3 PM (some banks in Orchard Road). Most banks handle travellers’ cheques and change foreign currencies. However, some banks do not have foreign exchange dealings on Saturday. Passports are required when cashing travellers’ cheques. A nominal commission may be charged. Credit / Charge Cards Major cards are widely accepted by establishments in Singapore. Should any shop insist on adding a surcharge, contact the respective card company to report the errant shop-owner.
It is perfectly safe to drink water straight from the tap in Singapore. However, for those who prefer bottled mineral water, local supermarkets and grocers always have ample stocks.
Visas: Most Western nationals either do not require a visa at all or do not require a visa for a social stay of up to 90 days. A 30-day permit is issued on arrival, and extensions are difficult to obtain.
Singapore’s government is strict on drug laws, with the death penalty applied for drug trafficking. It is also against the entry of firearms, controlled drugs, and endangered species of wildlife, chewing gum and cigarette lighters in the shape of a firearm. Smoking in public buses, the MRT, taxis, lifts and air-conditioned places is also deemed against the law; with fines up to S$1,000. The government is also adamant that littering is an offence and carries penalties of a fine of S$1,000 or more; and also a stint of corrective work order.
Tipping is seldom necessary, as a 7% goods and services tax (GST) and a service charge of 10% is usually added automatically (though always double-check the bill). However it is customary to spare a few dollars for efficient waiters, bellboys and taxi drivers.
The colours of the Singapore flag represent red for brotherhood and equality; white for purity and virtue. The crescent moon represents a young nation on the rise. The five stars stand for Singapore’s ideals of democracy, peace, progress, justice and equality.
The crescent moon originally served as a symbol of assurance to the Malays in 1959 —the year the flag was designed— that Singapore was not a Chinese state. Today it is generally said that the moon signified a young nation rising. The flag was designed initially to have three stars, until leaders such as then Deputy Prime Minister Toh Chin Chye expressed concern that Singapore might be perceived to have associations with the Malayan Communist Party, the flag of which also had three stars. The flag was originally meant to be red as red is a very traditional Chinese color. But because of the fear of Communism in those days, a completely red flag was abandoned
When travelling or moving to Singapore, make sure your passport and visa’s are correct and valid. Check these links to find out some of the latest requirements.
Consulate / Embasy in Australia
Contact the Singaporean Embassy by visiting 17 Forster Crescent Yarramumla, Canberra, ACT 2600, Australia. Phone +612 6271 2000 Fax +612 6273 9823 Email firstname.lastname@example.org or follow this link to the Embassy website: http://www.mfa.gov.sg/content/mfa/overseasmission/canberra.html
General visa information can be found here: http://www.mfa.gov.sg/content/mfa/overseasmission/canberra/visa_information/overview.html
Passport information can be found here: http://www.mfa.gov.sg/content/mfa/overseasmission/canberra/consular_services/application_for_singapore_international_passport.html
Immigration information can be found here: http://www.ica.gov.sg
Citizenship information can be found here: http://www.mfa.gov.sg/content/mfa/overseasmission/canberra/consular_services/application_for_singapore_citizenship.html
Please click this link: http://www.mfa.gov.sg/content/mfa/overseasmission/canberra/about_singapore/overview.html
Social Media Links
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Singapore-High-Commission/149551965096937 Twitter Page: https://twitter.com/SingaporeHCCbr