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Need Advice about relocating to Singapore

Moving to Singapore? Ask our regular expats in Singapore questions on relocation and their experience here. Ask about banking, employment pass, insurance, visa, work permit, citizenship or immigration issues.

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Need Advice about relocating to Singapore

Post by sandyriver23 » Fri, 07 Sep 2007 1:13 pm

Hello, :)
My boyfriend's company is relocating us to singapore in about 6 months. We currently live in Orange County (CA). They have asked him to make all the arrangements and they will pay for all expenses. He is extremely overwhelmed and has no idea where to begin. Can anyone give us advice on hiring a consultant that will help with finding a place to live, applying for an employment pass, leasing a car, importing our furniture and we also have a dog that we are bringing with us. Is there anyone that we can hire to act as a liaison between us and my boyfriend's company? Any advise would be much appreciated. Thank you.
Best Regards,
Sandy R.

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Post by ukdesigner » Fri, 07 Sep 2007 3:42 pm

One thing I noticed in your post was about an employment pass. Was that for you or for him? If it was for your him and his company are moving him then they should organise that for him. I would also check out the ministry of manpower site for your self regarding your own status. I'm not sure because I'm single and Singapore is a bit funny about 'partners' rather than 'spouses'. Have a look at as that will have all the relevant information required.

And I know that this may sound like a stupid question but why do you need someone to liaise with his company? Surely he should be speaking to them direct! I would make sure that anything they offer you get in writing first before you outlay any monies. I would even go so far as to get the bills sent to them rather than pay yourself and then have to claim it back.

Regarding a car, Singapore isn't that big and unlike the USA a car is not a necessity, depending on where you live. The MRT is very efficient and cheap, as are taxis (except trying to get one at 7am in the morning (shift change)). I would seriously reconsider a car once you are here. remember they drive on the right side of the road (like us brits) - you americans are on the wrong side. Even I think it looks a bit daunting at times and I've driven in Europe - try the Greek and Spanish island roads for driving.... scary!!

As has been suggested throughout this site on numerous occasions I would suggest that you get his company to put you up in a Serviced Apartment for a month or two so that you can go and find the property yourself. Whilst you can employ an agent whilst at home it will be very difficult to really get the feeling of the place. Different places have different advantages. East coast has alot of expats but can be quite expensive. The CBD (central business district) is also expensive due to its locality to businesses (sorry to be so obvious). Then there's Orchard Road, Holland Village etc etc. The list can get quite long and can be quite overwhelming. There's nothing like seeing a place yourself otherwise if you sign a contract for say 1 year (sometimes even 2) and the locality sucks, or you don't like the condo / house etc etc, you are then stuck there for quite a while. Also find out from the company if they are paying the housing bill. Rents vary according to area, size as like everywhere else in the world, and they are going up. If you use an agent they charge YOU commission - this can be 1 month or sometimes even 2 months rent depending on the contract. Is the company going to pay that aswell?

I'm not sure about furniture shipping but I think that that has been covered somewhere else on this forum. Do a search on the site for shipping and I think it'll show up for you. Again the same applies for quarantine of animals, do a search and you should find what you need.

Good luck and I guess we'll see you around the forum more and more as time gets closer.
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Post by jpatokal » Sat, 08 Sep 2007 1:33 pm

For house-hunting, look no further than , the benevolent masters of this very website.

I'm somewhat surprised by the implications of your post though. If the company is already established in Singapore, surely there should be somebody at the Singapore office that can (and, in fact, legally has to) assist with paperwork like applying for employment passes etc? On the other hand, if your boyfriend is being sent to Singapore to open the new office, things are considerably more complex.
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Post by ching » Tue, 11 Sep 2007 3:36 pm

I agree with ukdesigner - it will be much easier to start househunting when you're already in Singapore... so better to ask your boyfriend's company to pay for a few weeks in a Serviced Apartment, and start talking to agents after you get here.

Anyway -- since it sounds like a lot of details have not yet been settled... it's best to get a clear contract (in black and white) listing what kinds of relocation expenses the company will pay for, and how much. Relocation support can vary quite widely and you don't want to be caught in a situation where there are very different expectations between your boyfriend and his employer about how much they'll pay or reimburse!

Some things to ask about:
- temporary housing allowance (while you find a place)
- shipment allowance (will they pay for a half container, full container, etc)
- air shipment allowance (while waiting for your sea shipment)
- housing allowance
- car allowance (may not be needed, but find out anyway)
- local / international health insurance
- misc relocation expenses
- will they require any tax equalization?
- home leave and paid trips home
- fees for relocation consultant and/or tax consultant

When we last moved, my husband's employer used Fragomen ( to manage our move. Normally though the company hires the relocation consultants, not the employee... so it is a bit strange that they are asking your boyfriend to make all the arrangements.

As jpatokal says, the company's representative in Singapore needs to initiate some paperwork over here... your boyfriend probably can't do that on his own.
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