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Moving to Singapore this Spring...

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matski
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Moving to Singapore this Spring...

Post by matski » Sat, 15 Jan 2011 8:23 pm

Hi Guys,
I have been looking at these forums for a few weeks now as I have found out my company (Double Negative, a Visual Effects company) want me to move to their Singapore branch to be a supervisor.
I will continue to be on my £22,000 a year salary and I am wondering whether people think this is a good enough wage for living independently in Singapore.
I will have to find my own accommodation and have no benefits from my company so I would also have to buy health insurance of some kind and all my bills.
I have been looking at websites like . to figure out rental prices, but I dont really know what im looking at terms of whether im sharing with people or just sharing a kitchen and living room.
Ideally I would like as much of my own space as possible without sharing, but I doubt I will be able to afford this. So at least having a secured large'ish room with ensuite is a bonus.
I do get 2 weeks in a hotel paid for so i can find somewhere to live, but I would like to get an idea of what I should be looking for. I would be working in Queenstown but I imagine public transport is pretty good so I dont mind commuting.

Any thoughts on this would be greatly appreciated, panicking slightly!

 



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Post by beppi » Sun, 16 Jan 2011 2:31 pm

Don't panic: Living on the salary you'll get (which translates to about S$3500/month) is o.k. for a single person. But you'll have to prioritise: A private living space (i.e. your own apartment or studio) will cost S$2000 and up, a sublet room starts at S$600 or S$800 with private bathroom.
Queenstown is an older (that means not too expensive) estate, but central and convenient enough. You should be able to find a sublet room there, or anywhere along the East-West MRT line.
Two weeks to find a room is enough if you don't waste your time.
Most companies here have (basic, but adequate) group health insurance for all employees. People who don't have this are generally not insured, and there's little available locally. If you want Western style coverage, get an international insurance - at a cost: When I looked a few years ago, it was minimum US$4000/year.

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Post by matski » Sun, 16 Jan 2011 8:03 pm

Hi beppi,
thanks for getting back so soon!. You have reassured me no end!, to be honest a room with a bathroom sounds perfect and would certainly make living a lot easier.
my intention is to eat more local food as opposed to wasting money on western food. I'm a vegeterain anyway so dont mind a life of rice and noodles :D
I guess i will find out about health insurance when i get my transfer pack, i imagine they will provide some sort of cover or help towards it.
thanks again!

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Post by matski » Mon, 17 Jan 2011 1:19 am

Also i will be being paid in British pounds sterling from my current employer, i imagine this will go into my English account too. What is the best way to do this while incurring the least in charges.
e.g. should i get my wages paid into a Singaporean account or should i transfer it from my English account into a Singaporean account.
Hope im making sense....

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Post by x9200 » Mon, 17 Jan 2011 10:18 am

$3500 is a pretty tight budget so I guess you must have some other reasons for accepting this kind of offer.
And you'd better ensure you get insured - medical services are not cheap here. If not google out some local companies (like A.I.A, Great Eastern etc) they offer some packages that should fit your budget.

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Re: Moving to Singapore this Spring...

Post by Barnsley » Mon, 17 Jan 2011 12:01 pm

matski wrote:Hi Guys,
I have been looking at these forums for a few weeks now as I have found out my company (Double Negative, a Visual Effects company) want me to move to their Singapore branch to be a supervisor.
I will continue to be on my £22,000 a year salary and I am wondering whether people think this is a good enough wage for living independently in Singapore.
I will have to find my own accommodation and have no benefits from my company so I would also have to buy health insurance of some kind and all my bills.
I have been looking at websites like . to figure out rental prices, but I dont really know what im looking at terms of whether im sharing with people or just sharing a kitchen and living room.
Ideally I would like as much of my own space as possible without sharing, but I doubt I will be able to afford this. So at least having a secured large'ish room with ensuite is a bonus.
I do get 2 weeks in a hotel paid for so i can find somewhere to live, but I would like to get an idea of what I should be looking for. I would be working in Queenstown but I imagine public transport is pretty good so I dont mind commuting.

Any thoughts on this would be greatly appreciated, panicking slightly!
You should be OK on that salary as long you keep an eye on your budget.

Getting paid in UK pounds though could be a bit tough as the currently policy in the UK appears to be to debase the currency and drive it down to who knows where.
Life is short, paddle harder!!

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Post by manutdfan » Mon, 17 Jan 2011 12:18 pm

matski wrote:Also i will be being paid in British pounds sterling from my current employer, i imagine this will go into my English account too. What is the best way to do this while incurring the least in charges.
e.g. should i get my wages paid into a Singaporean account or should i transfer it from my English account into a Singaporean account.
Hope im making sense....
A couple of issues you will run into:

1. UK policy is that you still have to pay NI for one year after leaving the country if you're paid in the UK (easy way to avoid this, get paid locally). You also have to register seperately for NI and tax exemptions. There's a form for the tax bit - I never bothered finding out about the NI because as a contractor I was also paying employers NI so it was much simpler to simply insist on being paid in Singapore.

2. As pointed out elsewhere, exchange rates vary. Also, you need to allow for the cost of conversion (which means if the headline rate is 1 pound = SGD2.05 you'll be lucky to get 2 dollars for your pound).

If you're a supervisor, that implies they will already have a pay roll system here, so I'd insist on that.

Also, have you sorted out your employment pass details?

matski
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Post by matski » Mon, 17 Jan 2011 9:52 pm

Thanks guys,
Slightly scared again.
I have been living in london on the same salary paying £500 a month on my rented accomodation, so I assumed I should be able to afford Singapore too.
I would be getting a pay rise in line with my promotion but that only occurs on my yearly review (set for Septmber/October time), I'm annoyed at this but as the VFX industry has little to no union help you have to bend over and take it! haha, needless to say generally my company is one of the best to work for.
It has been a dream to travel around parts of Asia, especially regions surrounding Singapore so its an offer I cant refuse! (unless it causes me to live in poverty!)
A lot of this is purely speculative because I am waiting for my offical offer and chat with HR which would cover topics like health insurance and pay.

Employment Pass etc will be sorted out by HR (apparently), I gather they could sent me tomorrow if they so wanted so they must have some kind of deal or way of processing the legal documents faster than if I was doing this myself.

If you all dont mind, as I learn more and more over the next few weeks I might have more questions and would really appreciate opinions etc

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Post by x9200 » Tue, 18 Jan 2011 6:07 am

No, no poverty, and if you are really fine with the shared accommodation you should have no problem, but generally you may want to check some other figures. Right in the sub-forum below there is another thread (S-league) for a similar salary.

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Post by matski » Wed, 19 Jan 2011 6:05 pm

Thanks everyone,

I asked my employer about Health Cover and the issue with being paid in british pounds.

Basically they dont provide health cover, and they cant change where I am paid from.

FAIL!.

Not sure where to go from here as the prospect of moving now sounds a little crap!.
On average how much is health insurance?, I am slightly worried that I will have to cover all these costs on a relatively low wage which is depreciated even more by the transfer fees and rubbish exchange rates!.

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Post by beppi » Wed, 19 Jan 2011 7:00 pm

Local insurance, which covers accidents and hospitalization up to certain limits, can be had for a few hundred S$ per year. For similar coverage as you're used to back home, you need an international insurance which costs several thousand US$ per year.
Being paid back home isn't a big deal if you can avoid being taxed there.

But if your company is really that inflexible, you should think whether it's the right one to make such a big move for!

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Post by matski » Wed, 19 Jan 2011 7:48 pm

Thanks for that.

So I should be able to get cover whilst im out that relatively cheaply?, thats a slight worry off my mind.

I should think I wont be taxed in the UK for my earnings, I can register as none domicile apparently.

I know I am taking a risk moving for this company in some ways, though I would be receiving a pay rise towards October time.

I think its worth it, the life experience I will get, and the work experience too. As I am only a junior in my industry these experiences will benefit me in the long run.

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x9200
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Post by x9200 » Wed, 19 Jan 2011 8:55 pm

We are insured in Chartis, formerly A.I.G, a Globalhealth plan.
http://www.chartisdirect.com.sg/globalhealth.aspx

In our case it covers 100% expenses (so no co-payment, no deductibles) and it is generally ok as per what you may expect from the insurance company. It has some limitations (i.e. long waiting period for the pregnancy, no check-up no vaccinations visit coverage) but generally is a good value for money. Download the brochures from the web page above to see their pricing. You pay in US$ and the $ gets weaker and weaker so actually I pay now less than it was few years ago. You have two options: worldwide and worldwide US exclusive.

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Post by nn27 » Thu, 27 Jan 2011 4:08 am

Is that a junior starting salary in London? Surely if you are going to supervise, you would get a raise?

Regarding being paid from the UK, I would look into how you can transfer with the least amount of fees. I know that HSBC was advertising free transfers if it was your own account (you'd have to open up one in each country). I think Citibank also offers this (but I don't have Citibank here, so that was a non issue for me). Make sure you set all of that up before you leave the country or the banks will end up taking a good chunk of your wages!

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Post by matski » Thu, 27 Jan 2011 9:50 pm

Hmmm, apparently I can set up a Singaporean bank account and get paid into that, I shouldnt incur charges but will have to accept whatever exchange rate the Singaporean bank is giving.

Its a weird situation regarding pay rises here, apparently they only give pay rises on Annual Reviews, and mine is in October, so I wouldnt get a rise until then :-(.

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