[Help]: Advice needed for new job offer + accomodation

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CKJ
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[Help]: Advice needed for new job offer + accomodation

Post by CKJ » Sat, 14 Oct 2006 6:27 pm

Hi everyone,

This is my first time in the forum and I must commend what a great forum this is! :D I have just received an offer to work in Singapore as a consultant. Now, I'm not on a fat expat package but I'm happy and excited to go over to Singapore. Btw, I'm currently from Malaysia.

I need some advice on the following matters and any tips given is highly appreciated!

1) CPF: I have checked out the website and there isn't much info provided to EP holders. I know that non-Singaporeans/PR are exempted from contributing to the CPF. I'm a bit confused just by looking at the rates but what is the statutory rate for employee and employer contribution to CPF (assuming upon obtaining PR)?

2) Is there a 'downside' to contributing to CPF? I hear ppl say and make it sound like it's a 'bad' thing once you become a PR. I suppose the only downside which I can think of is you're unable to withdraw the sum in the account if you choose not to stay in Singapore anymore?

3) (Related to no. 1) In my offer letter, I've been offered a basic salary and an additional amount of S$585 which is separately shown on the letter. There is a clause that says that the additional amount of $585 does not constitute a CPF contribution and is in no way related to CPF. Does anyone (especially those on EP) have any idea why they separate this amount, more so if they say that it's not a CPF, shouldn't it be lumped together with the basic salary? The reason why I'm asking is because I was informed by a friend (currently working in SG) that the $585 is the employer CPF contribution and that is the max to be given by the employer to us, regardless of how much you are currently earning. There is also a clause to state that in the event I am required by law to contribute to CPF, the employer has the discretion to cease paying me this $585. The only thing that I can think of which would make me contribute to CPF is if I obtain my PR, right? Shouldn't I, then be made to contribute to CPF? I also read somewhere in this forum that she/he is wondering if he/she can request their employer to continue paying them the CPF sum to them on top of their salary, as opposed to their CPF account. Is that even possible? I'm confused :?

3) Accomodation: My office will be in Raffles Quay and I wish to stay nearby. However, after searching about on the internet, the rental rates are extremely expensive. I have no idea where some of these places are. But I'm planning to spend $1k on rental (which i hope would also include utilities) and transportation (MRT). I don't think the latter would take up much of this budget? Correct me if I'm wrong. At best, I would like a studio apartment of my own (with air-con) and walking distance to MRT. All suggestions are welcomed!

I apologise for the long post but I'm due to start work in December 2006, hence I'm sort of panicking! Hehe. Thanks in advance!
Last edited by CKJ on Thu, 19 Oct 2006 12:47 am, edited 1 time in total.

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CKJ
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Post by CKJ » Sat, 14 Oct 2006 6:36 pm

Oh btw, for accomodation, I wld like to try to hunt for aproperty w/o agent as I think the fees are kinda expensive

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Post by CKJ » Thu, 19 Oct 2006 12:46 am

Can anyone assist please??

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Re: [Help]: Advice needed for new job offer + accomodation

Post by jpatokal » Thu, 19 Oct 2006 9:08 pm

CKJ wrote:1) CPF: I have checked out the website and there isn't much info provided to EP holders.
That's because EP holders do not pay CPF. In the past it was voluntary, but now even that is not possible.
I'm a bit confused just by looking at the rates but what is the statutory rate for employee and employer contribution to CPF (assuming upon obtaining PR)?
Max 15% for you, max 12% for the employer. (I think; they change every now and then.) The contribution rate is staggered for the first few years.
2) Is there a 'downside' to contributing to CPF? I hear ppl say and make it sound like it's a 'bad' thing once you become a PR. I suppose the only downside which I can think of is you're unable to withdraw the sum in the account if you choose not to stay in Singapore anymore?
No, if you choose to leave Singapore permanently you can withdraw the entire sum.

The major disadvantage of CPF is that you're stuck with what the system can pay you interest. Some people could do better if they had the option of managing their own money. (Most people couldn't.)
3) There is also a clause to state that in the event I am required by law to contribute to CPF, the employer has the discretion to cease paying me this $585. The only thing that I can think of which would make me contribute to CPF is if I obtain my PR, right? Shouldn't I, then be made to contribute to CPF?
Both employer and employee pay. Obviously the $585 is the employer's share, and they're making sure they don't have to pay extra when you get PR.
I also read somewhere in this forum that she/he is wondering if he/she can request their employer to continue paying them the CPF sum to them on top of their salary, as opposed to their CPF account. Is that even possible? I'm confused :?
This has been debated before. Basically, if I have a contract for a salary for $X, and I suddenly get PR, the employer cannot start deducting the employer share of the CPF from the employee's salary. (Which is why I'm not sure the dodge above is entirely legal.) The other side of the coin, of course, is that employees have next to no rights in Singapore and if the employer threatens to fire you if you don't comply, you're screwed (unless they were stupid enough to put it in writing).
3) Accomodation: My office will be in Raffles Quay and I wish to stay nearby. However, after searching about on the internet, the rental rates are extremely expensive. I have no idea where some of these places are. But I'm planning to spend $1k on rental (which i hope would also include utilities) and transportation (MRT). I don't think the latter would take up much of this budget? Correct me if I'm wrong. At best, I would like a studio apartment of my own (with air-con) and walking distance to MRT.
Very tough. Transport is not expensive, but affordable, well-located studio apartments in Sing are as rare as hen's teeth. Your best option in that price range will be to share an apartment.
Vaguely heretical thoughts on travel technology at Gyrovague

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Re: [Help]: Advice needed for new job offer + accomodation

Post by sundaymorningstaple » Fri, 20 Oct 2006 11:53 am

jpatokal wrote:
I'm a bit confused just by looking at the rates but what is the statutory rate for employee and employer contribution to CPF (assuming upon obtaining PR)?
Max 15% for you, max 12% for the employer. (I think; they change every now and then.) The contribution rate is staggered for the first few years.
Here is the definitive answer for the rates which top out at 13% employer and 20% employee.

See Table C

If you want to contribute more
CKJ wrote:3) (Related to no. 1) In my offer letter, I've been offered a basic salary and an additional amount of S$585 which is separately shown on the letter. There is a clause that says that the additional amount of $585 does not constitute a CPF contribution and is in no way related to CPF. Does anyone (especially those on EP) have any idea why they separate this amount, more so if they say that it's not a CPF, shouldn't it be lumped together with the basic salary? The reason why I'm asking is because I was informed by a friend (currently working in SG) that the $585 is the employer CPF contribution and that is the max to be given by the employer to us, regardless of how much you are currently earning. There is also a clause to state that in the event I am required by law to contribute to CPF, the employer has the discretion to cease paying me this $585. The only thing that I can think of which would make me contribute to CPF is if I obtain my PR, right? Shouldn't I, then be made to contribute to CPF? I also read somewhere in this forum that she/he is wondering if he/she can request their employer to continue paying them the CPF sum to them on top of their salary, as opposed to their CPF account. Is that even possible? I'm confused :?
It is obvious that your employer is betting on you applying for PR (are you a Malaysian or were you just working in malaysia?) as so many do. As you would be required to start paying CPF upon obtaining PR, the employer as precluded that happening from costing him any additional monies. The $585 is the maximum employer contribution of 13% of $4,500/mo salary (the current salary ceiling). This is why it has not been stated as salary and he has left the payment open to be stopped (to be replaced by his CPF contribution once you gain PR. (He would actually save money the 1st two years due to the lower initial contribution rates unless he paid you "Partially" the difference. What he is doing is a bit dodgy to say the least......

And no, the employer does NOT have the obtion of paying you direct instead of to the CPF board. They have to pay it by law.

sms
SOME PEOPLE TRY TO TURN BACK THEIR ODOMETERS. NOT ME. I WANT PEOPLE TO KNOW WHY I LOOK THIS WAY. I'VE TRAVELED A LONG WAY, AND SOME OF THE ROADS WEREN'T PAVED. ~ Will Rogers

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Post by treasureplace » Wed, 01 Nov 2006 6:31 am

generally if your rental is less than a certain amount
you dont need to pay the realtor

you can write to the expat enquiry line..

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Thanks!

Post by CKJ » Thu, 09 Nov 2006 12:10 am

Hi Everyone

Thanks for the valuable feedback! And yes I'm a Malaysian. Just to update you, I've taken up the offer and as of today, I was informed that my employment pass (EP2) has been approved for 2 years.

I've been given a copy of the EP and was informed that the EP was approved in-principal. After scanning thru the contents of the EP2 it appears that MOM has approved my EP to allow me to work in SG. However (Correct me if I'm wrong), I think this is not the full EP as I believe I would need to register myself with MOM and have my passport stamped.

I will be coming down to Singapore next week on 17/11/2006 to look for and finalise my accomodation. Upon finalising my accomodation, I believe I wld need to present a copy of my EP and passport as evidence that I will be working in Singapore. My questions is this, Does anyone have experience using this in-principal approval letter from MOM to rent a place? I'm only concerned that some owners may not accept it.

In any case, I'll also have to check with my employer on this. Just thought I'd get some 3rd party feedback. Thanks!

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Re: Thanks!

Post by unicode » Thu, 09 Nov 2006 9:00 am

[quote="CKJ"]Hi Everyone

However (Correct me if I'm wrong), I think this is not the full EP as I believe I would need to register myself with MOM and have my passport stamped.

You're right, you have to go to MOM. They will give you your EP card and will stamp your passport. My friend told me he got it(EP card & Passport stamped) done for just 30 minutes only.


I will be coming down to Singapore next week on 17/11/2006 to look for and finalise my accomodation. Upon finalising my accomodation, I believe I wld need to present a copy of my EP and passport as evidence that I will be working in Singapore. My questions is this, Does anyone have experience using this in-principal approval letter from MOM to rent a place? I'm only concerned that some owners may not accept it.

Usaully, they will be looking for a copy of your EP and/or Passport. But maybe "some" will accept your In Principle Approval letter first but later will require you to give them a copy of your EP and/or Passport. I suggest your better drop by to MOM first to get your EP done and finalize your accomodation afterwards. Besides it will not take too long to process your EP and passport stamped.

quote]

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Post by CKJ » Wed, 15 Nov 2006 12:20 am

Thanks for the reply! We've been cracking our heads and spending sleepless nights over the accomodation issue. Given that rental has been soaring past few months, we're extremely worried that we wont be able to get any unit during our housing-hunt this coming weekend. Budget = $800 and we're hoping for a HDB flat (whole unit) .. seems unlikely :(

Can I get some clarification on this matter as I've ben informed of the following by an agent (my queries in red):-

1) 1+1 HDB units are actually 2+1 unit whilst most owner would lock up one room and rent it out as 1+1. It is also common that such units are not approved. Is this the case? I never knew of this as I assumed that some HDB model were actually 1+1 and not a 'converted' unit so to speak. Also, wouldn't the owner of the unit run foul of the law by renting out the unit without approval of the HDB board??

2) Sundays and Mondays are 'quiet' days for agents, so there may not be any units to view. Heh, I was a bit skeptical when I read this. I thought the agent was pulling my leg but I thought I'd just clarify with the general public if this was the case. I always thought weekends would have better chances of us viewing the units as compared to weekdays. If I'm wrong, then I'm quite doomed considering we're gonna be there from Saturday - Tuesday to do apartment viewing!

Wld love to hear your views

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Post by CKJ » Fri, 17 Nov 2006 12:45 am

Can anyone assist to advise if for rental of HDB/condo/apartment - do owners usually ask for 1 month advance rental?? I know that most would require 1 month deposit and not forgetting agent commission (if applicable). Are there any other costs involved?

I need to plan this so that I know how much cash to bring.

Wld appreciate your urgent assistance in this. Thanks

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Post by SgExpat » Sun, 19 Nov 2006 11:26 am

CKJ wrote:Can anyone assist to advise if for rental of HDB/condo/apartment - do owners usually ask for 1 month advance rental?? I know that most would require 1 month deposit and not forgetting agent commission (if applicable). Are there any other costs involved?
1month deposit + 1month advance + agent comm. + stamping fees

Thats what I paid for my current unit.

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Post by spaul » Sun, 19 Nov 2006 11:34 am

If you do a 2 year lease, they usually ask for 2 months deposit plus the rest.

CKJ
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Yeap!

Post by CKJ » Wed, 22 Nov 2006 3:44 pm

Yahoo: Yes, we finally found a place despite all the rush and all. Not exactly the best place but nevertheless, it's only a stone throw to the MRT station, conveniently located since there is a new Shopping mall near completion opposite our unit.

The property market in Singapore right now is extremely HOT. I kid you not ... I witnessed it myself and it's almost insane and stressful! Units which are advertised today can get snapped up within the day or sometimes, an hour!!

My advice would be, if you see something good and reasoable, grab it. Don't be choosy because you can't afford to ;)

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