Singapore Expats

Moving to Singapore from U.S.

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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ltrock
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Moving to Singapore from U.S.

Post by ltrock » Fri, 04 Jan 2008 10:37 am

I will be moving to Singapore from the U.S. in the next few months and am looking for any advice or insight on the process of moving to Singapore. In particular, I am interested in:

1. I will be looking for a job in Singapore, so how does this work given I am initially on a visitor status and then getting a employee pass/work permit? Do I have to purchase a round trip airfare and work around it later? Does the employer assist me in getting the employee pass/work permit?

2. From an employers standpoint, is getting a employee pass/work permit an issue when considering a candidate?

3. How's the housing market in Singapore? What type of properties offer the best value? Are there any restrictions on a U.S. citizen on purchasing property?

4. If it takes awhile to find a job, what are my health care options during this time?

Thank you in advance for any advice or insight.

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sundaymorningstaple
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Re: Moving to Singapore from U.S.

Post by sundaymorningstaple » Fri, 04 Jan 2008 3:34 pm

ltrock wrote:I will be moving to Singapore from the U.S. in the next few months and am looking for any advice or insight on the process of moving to Singapore. In particular, I am interested in:

1. I will be looking for a job in Singapore, so how does this work given I am initially on a visitor status and then getting a employee pass/work permit? Do I have to purchase a round trip airfare and work around it later? Does the employer assist me in getting the employee pass/work permit? Yes; Technically Yes; Yes - The employer has to apply for it, not you. It's tied to your employer, when you leave that company's employ your EP is cancelled.

2. From an employers standpoint, is getting a employee pass/work permit an issue when considering a candidate? Yes - they have to justify why they need to hire a foreigner instead of a local citizen.

3. How's the housing market in Singapore? What type of properties offer the best value? Are there any restrictions on a U.S. citizen on purchasing property? Expensive; None are good value; Yes and no, but that is a much longer discussion

4. If it takes awhile to find a job, what are my health care options during this time? You better have your own international health insurance policy.

You can lose your perks in the negotiation phase of a job offer if you are already present here. You may well only be offered a "local" package or "local" with a bit more basic instead of all the perks of and Expat package. Not always the case but more and more often now days.

Thank you in advance for any advice or insight.
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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durain
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Post by durain » Fri, 04 Jan 2008 10:31 pm

you can apply for a EPEC which enable you to stay in singapore for up to 2 years. the purpose of EPEC is for you to look for a job while in singapore. once you found a job, the company will then apply for a EP for you.

more info at http://www.contactsingapore.org.sg/home/

here's an extract of what is EPEC...

Employment Pass Eligibility Certificate (EPEC)

If you are not a Singapore citizen and wish to work in Singapore, you have to first secure a job offer here. To spend some time in Singapore to look for a job, you can apply for the Employment Pass Eligibility Certificate (EPEC). EPEC grants the holder a Social Visit Pass valid for up to one year. The EPEC is issued on a one-time basis and is strictly non-renewable.

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Post by sundaymorningstaple » Fri, 04 Jan 2008 10:52 pm

Durian,

Hate to differ with you, but the EPEC is only valid for one year, not two. Did you have it confused with something else? I ask because it seems that you contradict yourself in the first and last paragraphs where you say two then one.

EPEC. Always best to go straight to the horse's mouth when giving out government garbage! :wink:

However, even though you are eligible and a certificate that says you are eligible to apply for an Employment Pass due to your education, it doesn't mean you will automatically get an Employment Pass. This will depend on the job you are applying for. If your employer cannot show good reason for hiring a foreigner as opposed to hiring a local or PR your Employment Pass will still be rejected. (Odds are against it but as an HR Manager I've seen it happen several times.). Forewarned is forearmed.

Having said that, with the current economy booming (relatively) and unemployment at a 10 year low, the odds of approval are reasonably high.

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 durain » Fri, 04 Jan 2008 11:17 pm

dude, to be honest, i dont know what's the duration of the EPEC as the website state 1 year but people i spoke to in contact singapore state it is for 2 years. double checked with ICA and they said 2 years. triple checked with singapore high commission and they said 2 years.

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Post by sundaymorningstaple » Sat, 05 Jan 2008 12:24 am

durain wrote:dude, to be honest, i dont know what's the duration of the EPEC as the website state 1 year but people i spoke to in contact singapore state it is for 2 years. double checked with ICA and they said 2 years. triple checked with singapore high commission and they said 2 years.
Problem is that is the problem with government agencies. The right hand generally doesn't have a clue what the left hand is doing. Neither the Singapore High Com nor ICA are the ones that issue EPEC's. Contact Singapore is just a commercial website with no guarantees either. MOM are the one that issue the EPEC so they are the point of contact (which, by the way, has to be applied for online now - they no longer accept manual submissions.

It's just like IRAS's tax clearance laws for EP/S/WP holders which says you must file tax clearance for a departing employee one (1) month before their last day of work. However, if you follow MOM's contract guidelines according to the employment act (CAP 50) and they have worked less than two years they only need to give 2 weeks notice unless the contract was written with 1 month notice required (but is has to go both ways or salary in lieu). If you don't keep one month's salary for the Tax clearance you can be fined $1000 per instance for failure to do so by IRAS. So How?

Same thing goes for LTSVP for EP holders. If the EP holder gains their PR, the family members (like parents) who are on a LTSVP will lose that Visa and according to PR guidelines, cannot qualify to have it reissued in certain cases. As I said, you must go directly to the horses mouth to get the answers. Just being on the farm (asking any old animal won't do it), neither asking any old horse in the stable either as a dray horse is different than a thoroughbred so different rules apply. Welcome to Singapore! :o
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 durain » Sat, 05 Jan 2008 3:01 am

as i understand it, EPEC is issue by contact singapore if outside singapore. i am sure i got an email from mom that the EPEC is value for 2 years. will dig it out for your perusal :P

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Post by ltrock » Sat, 05 Jan 2008 6:08 am

Thank you sundaymorningstaple and durain for the information. In order to make sure that I am understanding the steps, I believe the following steps are:

1. Enter Singapore with a round trip ticket and be on a visitor status
2. Find a job in Singapore or apply for a Employment Pass Eligibility Certificate (EPEC) if I need more time. I did the self-assessment on Ministry of Manpower (MOM) website and it indicated I would likely get approved.
3. Employer applies for Employee Pass (EP) for me.
- Is this generally correct?

Some more questions:
- Healthcare. Do you have any suggestions for good international health insurance policies? Are there any Singaporean health insurance policies that might be a solution?
- Expat Packages. Could you elaborate on expat packages? In terms of background, I have 10 years of U.S.-based experience in finance with investment banking and private equity. I am moving to Singapore for family reasons. Do you think it is a mistake to find a job when physically in Singapore as compared to finding it when outside of Singapore? Would I be considered for "local" packages if I get a job after arriving in Singapore? To what magnitude would the compensation packages differ?

Thank you again for your insight and advice.

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Post by aftershocks » Sat, 05 Jan 2008 10:06 am

1. Enter Singapore with a round trip ticket and be on a visitor status
2. Find a job in Singapore or apply for a Employment Pass Eligibility Certificate (EPEC) if I need more time. I did the self-assessment on Ministry of Manpower (MOM) website and it indicated I would likely get approved.
3. Employer applies for Employee Pass (EP) for me.
- Is this generally correct?

---------------------------------------------------------
I think the best approach is to first apply for EPEC... see if they will grant you the certificate... Because if you were to just pack your bags and head for Singapore, you're still not sure whether or not you will a)waste your time and money because you might not be able to find a job within a month . . . and b) ultimately it's still up to the government to decide if they allow you to stay and work there..

Also, if you are able to find an employer willing to hire you, I'm sure the process of apply for EP may be rather lengthy - which of course, you will only have up to a month on a visitors visa.

Seems logical I think... Anyone correct me if I'm wrong...

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Post by sundaymorningstaple » Sat, 05 Jan 2008 10:26 am

ltrock wrote:Thank you sundaymorningstaple and durain for the information. In order to make sure that I am understanding the steps, I believe the following steps are:

1. Enter Singapore with a round trip ticket and be on a visitor status
2. Find a job in Singapore or apply for a Employment Pass Eligibility Certificate (EPEC) if I need more time. I did the self-assessment on Ministry of Manpower (MOM) website and it indicated I would likely get approved.
3. Employer applies for Employee Pass (EP) for me.
- Is this generally correct?

Some more questions:
- Healthcare. Do you have any suggestions for good international health insurance policies? Are there any Singaporean health insurance policies that might be a solution?
- Expat Packages. Could you elaborate on expat packages? In terms of background, I have 10 years of U.S.-based experience in finance with investment banking and private equity. I am moving to Singapore for family reasons. Do you think it is a mistake to find a job when physically in Singapore as compared to finding it when outside of Singapore? Would I be considered for "local" packages if I get a job after arriving in Singapore? To what magnitude would the compensation packages differ?

Thank you again for your insight and advice.
The EPEC should be applied for before coming to Singapore. It will take approximately 7 days to process and you will be notified by email of approval and/or the necessity of submitting documents (Not required in the initial application) prior to arrival here. Having said this, I couldn't find anywhere where it said you could not file while in Singapore - so it may be possible but I cannot say for certain. The only thing I could find was in the T&C below.

The EPEC MUST be applied for through the MOM website. Contact Singapore doesn't issue EPEC's. Like my own site, they link to MOM's sites. The only link to Contact Singapore is in the MOM FAQ's to see a list of Headhunter/Recruitment Agencies. They also show a link to the Singapore Yellowpages as well for the same reason.

If one reads my earlier link to MOM's site all will be explained clearly: EPEC

This also taken from the MOM site regarding the Terms & Conditions for EPEC issuance:
Terms and Conditions

In order to apply for an Employment Pass Eligibility Certificate ("EPEC") online, you must agree to these terms & conditions. Application for an EPEC does not constitute an application or renewal of an Employment Pass. The EPEC is not a pre-requisite to an application for or a renewal of an Employment Pass.

1. Application for the EPEC is free of charge, and is not a pre-requisite to making an application or renewal of an Employment Pass.

2. MOM may ask EPEC applicants for additional supporting documents through the email address provided by the applicants. Please ensure that the email address provided is correct and applicants should check the email account frequently. MOM will not be responsible for any delay in processing caused by slow responses from applicants.

3. If your application is successful, please make any plans to leave for Singapore only AFTER you have received the physical copy of your EPEC. MOM will not entertain requests for reprinting of EPEC after the certificates have been mailed to the mailing address stated by the applicant at the point of application.
So. The order of requirement should be as follows.......

1. Apply for a Employment Pass Eligibility Certificate (EPEC).
2. Enter Singapore with a round trip ticket and be alloted a 1 year stay to find a job.
3. Find job in Singapore . Employer applies for Employment Pass (EP) for you. Hope your profession is a needed one as the Employer needs to show cause why they cannot get a local to fill the position.

OR

1. Enter Singapore with a round trip ticket and be give a 30 day VISA.
2. Find a job in Singapore . Employer applies for Employment Pass (EP) for you. Hope your profession is a needed one as the Employer needs to show cause why they cannot get a local to fill the position.
3. If no luck in 30 days do a Visa run to a neighbouring country and get 2 additional weeks. If still not successful, be careful because the next time Immigration will probably indicate that they will not renew the next time. Or possibly apply for a LTSVP for 90 days (but you will need a local sponsor for that one). As you indicate possible family relations here this might be an option if they will sponsor.
4. If still no luck, return to home country with tail between legs to recoup loses spent because of not getting the EPEC (which is still not guarantee).

OR

Try to find a job offer while still in your home country and only come over here for the interview. Cheapest option all round.

I know, I'm as much fun as a stick in the mud! :wink:

Regarding your health insurance I cannot help much there but I have a list of Insurance Companies in my signature link. You can check out their websites for more information.

Packages. If you come here (and it sounds like you have an Asian wife) and your wife is Singaporean, it may hamper your ability to secure the best expat benefits (It shouldn't in a perfect world, BUT....) Most HR departments, even in MNC's are run locally by local managers. This has been discussed here before with makan-24/7 so you might want to do a search of his nick and look at some of the threads. The following one is slightly different as he is actually a Malaysian Chinese with long experience in the west, but will give you some insites to the local thought processes of HR departments

http://www.singaporeexpats.com/forum/ft ... ae4647c2a1

EP applications generally only take a week or two unless there are some doubts of educational qualifications. It used to take me only 3 to 5 days to get a new employee's EP. However, there were a spat of bogus Degree Certs in the last couple of years so they are doing a bit deeper verification of said qualifications now if they have the slightest doubt. If you have a processing EP, generally you can get an extension on a visa from ICA without too much problem.

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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