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How easily can husband work in Singapore?

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Izaboo
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How easily can husband work in Singapore?

Post by Izaboo » Wed, 31 Mar 2021 12:18 am

Hello everybody,

First, thanks for this forum where I found many answers to my numerous questions already!
Some quick background: I'm French and my company is exploring the possibility to ship me to Singapore to start our Asian branch. We are wondering as a family (married couple + 2 cats + 1 dog) if it's worth to pursue this opportunity or not.

From everything I read, I understand that my husband will be able to join me with a Dependant Pass, as I assume my salary should tick that box (hopefully, we have not discussed salary yet...). However, it's really unclear to me how easy it would be for him to obtain an Employment Pass.
Does he have to find a company willing to sponsor him for an EP first?
Are companies interested in sponsoring foreigners?

I assume it also depends on his education/experience: he's a Mechanical Engineer with +10 years experience in various industry (nuclear, oil & gaz, special machinery, ...). He's a Swiss Army knife, and I'm not just saying this because he's my hubbie, but he's certainly not a stay at home pet dad.
So for us, it would be a deal breaker if the chances for him to find employement are low.

What do you think?

Thanks in advance!
Izaboo

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PNGMK
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Re: How easily can husband work in Singapore?

Post by PNGMK » Wed, 31 Mar 2021 7:57 pm

It will be tough but not impossible. The rules are changing for spouses working on a DP and you're correct that he essentially needs to qualify for a pass on his own accord and value.

Lots of French here BTW.
I not lawyer/teacher/CPA.
You've been arrested? Law Society of Singapore can provide referrals.
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Your rugrat needs a School? Avoid for profit schools
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Re: How easily can husband work in Singapore?

Post by Izaboo » Wed, 31 Mar 2021 8:40 pm

Thanks for your swift reply.

Yes, I realize there is a strong French community, which will be a change compared to our previous experiences abroad!
Do companies really go through the hassle to obtain a pass for a foreigner? How difficult is the process for a company?

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Re: How easily can husband work in Singapore?

Post by PNGMK » Wed, 31 Mar 2021 8:48 pm

Yes and it's a cost benefit situation.
I not lawyer/teacher/CPA.
You've been arrested? Law Society of Singapore can provide referrals.
You want an International School job? School website or http://www.ISS.edu
Your rugrat needs a School? Avoid for profit schools
You need Tax advice? Ask a CPA
You ran away without doing NS? Shame on you!

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Re: How easily can husband work in Singapore?

Post by Myasis Dragon » Wed, 31 Mar 2021 11:06 pm

Izaboo wrote:
Wed, 31 Mar 2021 8:40 pm
Thanks for your swift reply.

Yes, I realize there is a strong French community, which will be a change compared to our previous experiences abroad!
Do companies really go through the hassle to obtain a pass for a foreigner? How difficult is the process for a company?
In my view, the answer is "no". In my experience, 95 percent of EP's granted are for multi-nationals bringing in employees from other countries. It is very rare. I know many more people who did not find work than did find work.

I have posted a number of times on this topic, as to why companies won't cold hire a foreigner. Do a search. Check also Strong Eagle's posts on the same subject.

As noted by PNGMK, DP's will have to have their own work permit, no more LOC, and no more cheap, easy hires by Singapore companies. Trailing spouses have always had a difficult time finding employment, and it's going to be more difficult in the future.

And, as noted by PMGNK, it's not entirely impossible. Your spouse is here, not a visitor. He's got desirable education and experience. But if his finding a job is a make/break deal, then it's high risk that he will be without employment for an extended time.

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Re: How easily can husband work in Singapore?

Post by PNGMK » Thu, 01 Apr 2021 10:36 am

OP, keep in mind your husband could work in other places and come visit you in Singapore. We are opening up nowadays we aren't like France with a messed up vaccination schedule.
I not lawyer/teacher/CPA.
You've been arrested? Law Society of Singapore can provide referrals.
You want an International School job? School website or http://www.ISS.edu
Your rugrat needs a School? Avoid for profit schools
You need Tax advice? Ask a CPA
You ran away without doing NS? Shame on you!

Izaboo
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Re: How easily can husband work in Singapore?

Post by Izaboo » Thu, 01 Apr 2021 6:28 pm

Thanks PNGMK, the plan is not really to live appart as it's a family project. Funny proposal, maybe we should get divorced, which would make the process easier?! :lol:

@Myasis Dragon OK, I don't know what to think anymore as I got completely different feedback regarding the employment of engineers in SG, and the lack of local resources. I guess we'll have to find other ways (lawyer, and headhunter) to find out the truth.

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Re: How easily can husband work in Singapore?

Post by sundaymorningstaple » Thu, 01 Apr 2021 6:37 pm

Lawyers are a waste of time and headhunters will tell you anything to suck you in.

NB: I used to be a headhunter for 10 years here. :oops:

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Re: How easily can husband work in Singapore?

Post by x9200 » Thu, 01 Apr 2021 9:46 pm

Izaboo wrote:
Thu, 01 Apr 2021 6:28 pm
@Myasis Dragon OK, I don't know what to think anymore as I got completely different feedback regarding the employment of engineers in SG, and the lack of local resources. I guess we'll have to find other ways (lawyer, and headhunter) to find out the truth.
Simply try to apply from abroad. This normally doesn't work for mid level positions, unless there is high demand (shortage).

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Re: How easily can husband work in Singapore?

Post by Myasis Dragon » Thu, 01 Apr 2021 10:47 pm

Izaboo wrote:
Thu, 01 Apr 2021 6:28 pm
@Myasis Dragon OK, I don't know what to think anymore as I got completely different feedback regarding the employment of engineers in SG, and the lack of local resources. I guess we'll have to find other ways (lawyer, and headhunter) to find out the truth.
I have no expertise in the marine and offshore oil industries with respect to the hiring of engineers. SMS and PNGMK are the experts there.

Having said that, there are different flavors of "engineers" in Singapore and Malaysia. In addition to engineers as might be graduated from a US university (I'm a BSEE), Singapore universities and polytechnics offer what I might call "engineering technologists" degrees, highly skilled votech degrees. The Singapore government is committed to both increasing its own level of technical competence and ensuring that locals get jobs. These folks fill a lot of the demand.

Otherwise my sense of the hiring situation (now somewhat dated) is eight years of living and working in Singapore and surrounding countries, being a board member of this board for more than 16 years, and being focused on the business aspects of Singapore. I've also kept a very close eye on the actions of the government with respect to hiring practices, especially those of foreigners.

I don't know who is telling you that gaining employment in Singapore is easy or even "not hard" because that's not my experience. Headhunters aren't worth a damn in Singapore (SMS excepted). I've no idea what a lawyer is going to get you.

I do know that virtually every expat I met during my 8 years came in with their company. With the exception of two people, I do know that every expat I hired previously worked for a company that had transferred them in.

I contracted into several large MNC's while in Singapore; all the employees I met were either locals, expats who were transferred in by their company, or expats hired from another company who had transferred them in. I never met any expat who was hired off the street into a position.

I was a board member of the American Association of Singapore, a member of the American Chamber of Commerce, active in the Navy League, and past president of the Project Management Institute of Singapore. I've met many trailing spouses bemoaning the lack of employment opportunities. That's only going to get worse as the government increases the restrictions on DP employment.

I'm not trying to be a hard case here; only saying that if you're husband's employment matters a lot, you'd be wise to verify the information you have been getting before committing. As a suggestion, you might make a list of companies with Singapore offices that might have the kinds of jobs that your husband is looking for. Go to their careers section. Find that Singapore job and apply for it and see what happens. I've recommended this previously for people searching for IT jobs. Unless there is something magical about your qualifications, you'll never hear back.

In closing, I say, "good luck," and I hope you prove me wrong.

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Re: How easily can husband work in Singapore?

Post by Chocoqueen » Fri, 02 Apr 2021 5:51 am

Wow really? This explains why my fiancé was having such difficulty getting a job in the IT industry because he just sent applications directly to the companies in SG. He did try looking for companies in the local area and applying to Singapore branches but even then those were few and far between and normally there isn’t a reply.

OP I sympathize. Although I am a SC, my fiancé is a foreigner and we’ve been doing this long distance for 5 years. Hope things work out for you and your husband.

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Re: How easily can husband work in Singapore?

Post by Izaboo » Fri, 02 Apr 2021 3:16 pm

sundaymorningstaple wrote:
Thu, 01 Apr 2021 6:37 pm
Lawyers are a waste of time and headhunters will tell you anything to suck you in.

NB: I used to be a headhunter for 10 years here. :oops:
lol, ok no headhunter then! Network? As there is a strong French community, it could be a start maybe?

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Re: How easily can husband work in Singapore?

Post by Izaboo » Fri, 02 Apr 2021 3:19 pm

x9200 wrote:
Thu, 01 Apr 2021 9:46 pm
Izaboo wrote:
Thu, 01 Apr 2021 6:28 pm
@Myasis Dragon OK, I don't know what to think anymore as I got completely different feedback regarding the employment of engineers in SG, and the lack of local resources. I guess we'll have to find other ways (lawyer, and headhunter) to find out the truth.
Simply try to apply from abroad. This normally doesn't work for mid level positions, unless there is high demand (shortage).
Well, from our experience, it doesn't work in ANY country when you're not already there.
However, I posted the same kind of message on another forum and received 3 PM asking my husband's resume because they were hiring!

I'm not usually optimistic, but it sounded like a very positive start!

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Re: How easily can husband work in Singapore?

Post by Izaboo » Fri, 02 Apr 2021 3:34 pm

Myasis Dragon wrote:
Thu, 01 Apr 2021 10:47 pm


I don't know who is telling you that gaining employment in Singapore is easy or even "not hard" because that's not my experience. Headhunters aren't worth a damn in Singapore (SMS excepted). I've no idea what a lawyer is going to get you.
Again, I contacted another forum and posted the same kind of message and received 3 PM asking for his resume. Would it have ended up with a job proposal? I have no clue.

Myasis Dragon wrote:
Thu, 01 Apr 2021 10:47 pm
I've no idea what a lawyer is going to get you.
Well, I heard that it is only recently that the spouse of a permit holder was no longer automatically getting a work permit as well. A lawyer (should!) know the the subtleties of the law, and sometimes applying for a different visa (investor visa, permanent resident, etc) makes a whole difference for the spouse. You're American, in our experience, USA is the worst! If you obtain an H1B visa (business visa), your spouse can't work. But, if you get an investor visa or a transferee visa (L1A) your spouse can work. So I don't know the specificies of Singapore, but it could be similar?
Myasis Dragon wrote:
Thu, 01 Apr 2021 10:47 pm
I'm not trying to be a hard case here; only saying that if you're husband's employment matters a lot, you'd be wise to verify the information you have been getting before committing.
No, thanks, I appreciate you being forward! We don't need a pat on the back.
It's an extraordinary opportunity for me and a dream job, but my family will always come first. I know how the spouse feels when he/she cannot work (again, experience from the US) and I don't want this for my husband. If family and expatriation in SG are not compatible, well, we'll find other projects!

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Re: How easily can husband work in Singapore?

Post by Myasis Dragon » Sat, 03 Apr 2021 12:41 am

Izaboo wrote:
Fri, 02 Apr 2021 3:34 pm
Again, I contacted another forum and posted the same kind of message and received 3 PM asking for his resume. Would it have ended up with a job proposal? I have no clue.
When I said that the vast majority of headhunters aren't worth a damn, this is exactly what I meant. They will source resumes from anywhere and everywhere, not with the intention of providing a candidate for an open position but for the purposes of collecting resumes to show their bosses that they are actively searching for candidates. Were you to search these forums, you'd find many posts from people wondering why they submit a resume to a headhunter, then hear nothing back.

And second, even with that basket full of resumes, most headhunters can't seem to read a job description or read it so literally that they eliminate all the good possibilities. One reason foreigners don't get presented to companies by headhunters is that their client, the company, says, "I want someone local, I don't want to pay relocation." So, it doesn't matter if you're perfect for the job, the headhunting muppet focuses on exactly one criterion.
Well, I heard that it is only recently that the spouse of a permit holder was no longer automatically getting a work permit as well. A lawyer (should!) know the the subtleties of the law, and sometimes applying for a different visa (investor visa, permanent resident, etc) makes a whole difference for the spouse. You're American, in our experience, USA is the worst! If you obtain an H1B visa (business visa), your spouse can't work. But, if you get an investor visa or a transferee visa (L1A) your spouse can work. So I don't know the specificies of Singapore, but it could be similar?
A spouse of a work permit holder has never been "automatically getting a work permit as well." A spouse comes in on a dependents pass, which gives her/him the legal right to reside but not work in Singapore. In the past, a spouse on a DP could apply for a job and the company could apply for a letter of consent (LOC) to hire that spouse. Unlike work permits, there was no minimum salary, no minimum work requirements. It meant DP spouses could be hired for low pay, amongst other things, and the government has shut that door. Your husband still comes in on a DP, but now he must qualify for an EP in order to work.

More info: https://www.mom.gov.sg/-/media/mom/docu ... 05F69CC3D1

I agree, the USA has some onerous work permit regulations, but what I don't understand is why people think that Singapore is some kind of work permit paradise. 20 to 30 years ago, it was a relative paradise, as the government attracted high tech industries such as computer manufacturing and bio tech. But as salaries have increased those jobs have been lost to lower wage countries, and while the desire for strong technical professionals remain, Singapore has greatly increased its own technical expertise, and there is a strong populist sentiment that foreigners are taking jobs that the government has to deal with.

Singapore does have a couple of options, and at the risk of offending, I don't think you or your husband will qualify for either one. The first one is the investor program. It gets you and your spouse PR, which lets you do just about anything. I would note that the application fee for this program is $10,000, non refundable. Anecdotally, the size of this non-refundable fee suggests that the Economic Development Board has already been inundated with all kinds of scammers and fairy tale thinkers, hoping to find a way into Singapore.

More details: https://www.edb.gov.sg/en/how-we-help/g ... ramme.html

The other, recently enacted, work permit option is the "tech pass". Again, the eligibility criteria are challenging, to say the least. The Economic Development Board website is an interesting page to peruse as it gives you a sense of what Singapore is looking for.

Tech Pass: https://www.edb.gov.sg/en/how-we-help/i ... -pass.html

There is one other possibility for your husband, and that is a personalized employment pass (PEP). Unlike all other work permits, the PEP is issued to the individual, not the company. This means that the company can hire a PEP holder without regard to filing for an EP, and could improve his chances of finding a job. The PEP requires that a foreigner have a minimum of SGD 18,000 per month in salary in order to apply.

More info: https://www.mom.gov.sg/passes-and-permi ... yment-pass
Myasis Dragon wrote:
Thu, 01 Apr 2021 10:47 pm
I'm not trying to be a hard case here; only saying that if you're husband's employment matters a lot, you'd be wise to verify the information you have been getting before committing.
No, thanks, I appreciate you being forward! We don't need a pat on the back.
It's an extraordinary opportunity for me and a dream job, but my family will always come first. I know how the spouse feels when he/she cannot work (again, experience from the US) and I don't want this for my husband. If family and expatriation in SG are not compatible, well, we'll find other projects!
Some anecdotal feedback: I came over and started a business in 2004 (my dream job), also much easier to do at that time. My wife was the Information Technology Director for a large section of the University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston. She was getting kind of burned out in what was a high pressure job, and she was OK with coming to Singapore and not working, at least for a while.

My wife, alpha that she is, ended up on the boards of a couple of volunteer groups, Friends of the Museum and AIDHA (https://www.aidha.org/). Through these organizations, she ultimately ended up with a part time job (all she wanted), handling IT for a 30 person local headhunting firm (and yes, she's got lots of war stories about the shenanigans that the company used to pull off).

When we finally came back to the USA (the recession ultimately killed my business), she decided that she didn't want to get on the rat race track again, and chose to serve as IT manager for a small Catholic school. It suited her well, and time off in Singapore didn't hurt her chances for getting a job.

So... depending upon how long you are planning to stay in Singapore, there are other options available to your hubby while you slave away, including fabulous travel opportunities (my wife has been to Bhutan, Taiwan, the Silk Road, and quite a few more), golf, part time jobs, and drinking beer at Penny Blacks on Boat Quay! It just all depends.

To muddy the water: You should pursue your dream. Living in Singapore was/is a wonderful experience. Unless your hubby discovers that a break in employment would severely limit him in the future, he really ought to consider the adventure as a trailing spouse. He can always pick back up again if he doesn't get the jobs he wants. And I can tell you, had I not pursued my dream because others didn't want me to, I would regret it to this day.

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