EU Family coming on their own to Singapore (not expats)

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pochari
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EU Family coming on their own to Singapore (not expats)

Post by pochari » Tue, 26 Apr 2011 9:26 pm

My wife and I, in our mid 30s are moving here with a 2 year old daughter. We weren't relocated by a company, we simply decided to move here because we wanted to move to Asia and Singapore seems to be the best country in which to raise a child (there's other reasons as well... we just like to move around).

First off, I was wondering if there were any other families like us.

We are both looking for a job and place to live. To those who have been or are in our situation, what's an acceptable salary / rent? I imagine they will be lower than an expat's (where their company pays them very well).
Salary: I'm asking for SGD100,000/year but they come back with SGD50,000/year.

Rent: I'm looking at SGD3,000/month. Is that too low, will the area still be nice?

The other major cost we foresee is an International School for our daughter (English speaking I imagine).

Any other luxury is secondary.

Thanks for any insight!

Singapore Property Search

 

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ksl
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Post by ksl » Tue, 26 Apr 2011 10:54 pm

We came to Singapore on the same footing back in 2004, we only had 1 child though we started our own business and had to make some sacrifices, living on as little as possible. We managed pretty well on less than 5K back then.

You will have frustrating moments, as you don't get priority for schools for the children. Singaporeans come first. You will neither have any of the subsidies that PR's enjoy.

Our daughter had to travel for 1hr for school, it was the only one that had room, but i was pleased with the school and met other European parents in the same boat. You can rent for 3k easy in the HDB area, my neighbour from Indonesia rents 5 room maisonette for $2500. Though you will have to shop around, don't trust housing agents and read contract small print, many people get ripped off here.

http://www.kiasuparents.com/kiasu/schoo ... rls-school

5k is seems pretty okay, for a local wage, but will depend on industry experience and such, though that's not you biggest worry. qualifying for a position is. MOM are the ones that dish out EP's so unless you have something that Singaporeans don't have in the skills sector, it will be a tough call. MOM decide not the employer but good luck anyway!

Your employer will have to sell the specialty skills you have, that Singaporeans don't have, to get an EP, remember that.

Tax is low, but to survive you will have to live a local lifestyle not an expat one. If you get PR it will be cheaper to buy property in the long run.

1. You biggest expense will be housing
2. Schooling if she intends going to kindergarten NTUC are the cheapest and again our daughter attended there. Primary school is year 6 so you have a while to wait.

What part of Europe are you from? I would think Scandinavia by the income of $100K you were expecting on employment. :) :wink:
Last edited by ksl on Tue, 26 Apr 2011 11:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by sundaymorningstaple » Tue, 26 Apr 2011 11:00 pm

First of all, you would be well advised to find a job before committing anything. An exploratory trip here would be strongly advised as there is a good chance that you would be left high and dry. We don't have any clue as to your occupation, experience, what you can bring to the table, your lifestyle or anything else for that matter.

It would be good if you checked out the MOM site (can be found in my links page below) regarding the various types of passes and requirements for same. Additionally, any job you may find, both you and the employer have to pass scrutiny. Your qualifications, experience and salary level and the company's need to hire a foreigner if there are sufficient similarly qualified locals/PRs who can do the job.

You obviously haven't bother to do any research on this forum, as otherwise, you would more or less know the answers to your query.
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 aster » Tue, 26 Apr 2011 11:30 pm

I'll second that.

It's best to secure a job beforehand, that way you are more likely to get a housing allowance, probably a better salary, and your employer will handle all EP/DP issues for you.

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Post by x9200 » Wed, 27 Apr 2011 8:05 am

ksl wrote:We came to Singapore on the same footing back in 2004, we only had 1 child though we started our own business and had to make some sacrifices, living on as little as possible. We managed pretty well on less than 5K back then.
Yes, but then you probably would never ask this kind of question in this kind of places, would you? :) If somebody wants to plunge into a bit deeper water leaving all the social security of EU he/she should have at least some basic survival skills.

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Post by Petales Soufflez! » Thu, 28 Apr 2011 12:06 am

Since your child is still so young, why don't you try to put her in a local pre-school and later in a local school? You may not have priority today in a school of your choice but then she won't enter P1 till 5 years later...by then you may have left or you may have stayed long enough to earn some priority along the way.

Depending on where you come from in the EU, you may have a school from your country in Singapore. Maybe also a business association from which you may obtain a directory of companies from your country.

Your biggest challenge probably would be obtaining the right to work in the country. 5K is a normal salary for most people with a degree and a few years' working experience though of course it'll depend on your sector/expertise etc too. And it is not difficult to live decently with that, you have to go for a HDB flat (I personally prefer as it's usually more convenient
anyway) and more local food and it may still be possible to travel around with so many budget airlines operating in the region.

Good luck on your new adventure!
Je pense donc je suis. Le reste du temps, je ne suis qu'une fleur.

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Post by sundaymorningstaple » Thu, 28 Apr 2011 12:11 am

Wah Lao! Petales! Long time since you've been on here! Couple of years! And no longer in Italy? Behind the great firewall and cannot post izzit? Good to see your nick again! Welcome back!

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 Petales Soufflez! » Thu, 28 Apr 2011 7:42 am

sundaymorningstaple wrote:Wah Lao! Petales! Long time since you've been on here! Couple of years! And no longer in Italy? Behind the great firewall and cannot post izzit? Good to see your nick again! Welcome back!

sms
Hi SMS!

Thanks and believe it or not, I came back looking for the PM that you sent me donkey years ago with the link to the diet programme. Have gained even more weight after nearly 4 years in Italy.

And yes, I am in China for about 3 months now with royal treatment to the great firewall, but life is good here, am hoping to be a real tai tai now :-).
Je pense donc je suis. Le reste du temps, je ne suis qu'une fleur.

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Post by pochari » Mon, 09 May 2011 5:28 pm

Thank you ksl and petales, you gave me much to think about. I'm back from an "exploratory" 2 week visit to Singapore including some interviews and a condo search. Here's what I learned:

- Yes, from what I've seen these past 2 weeks is that it is possible to live with a salary of 5000/month (just forfeit all luxuries... no problem there, a lifetime of travelling gets you tempered to such eventualities). But I'm still trying to go a bit higher than that.

- There were even some great 2 bedroom condos for 2500 that I saw (with the usual gym, squash, tennis, pool, etc...). The 'problem' is that they're in Bukit Timah/Batok, so the commute will be terrible as my possible jobs will be in the south (Keppel).

- Schooling: Was advised by quite a few people to send kids to public schools as they are excellent, have a good Western/Asian mix and the kid will learn an Asian language. Was also told to avoid at all costs the Western only schools as the kids are too insulated and learn nothing of the World (one lady's opinion, but I believe it). This also means that we can save on the int'l school fees! Anyway, our daughter is too young, so it's not a priority now.

- Visas: at the interviews I went to, the employers seemed to think the visa was the least of the problems as they are quite used to getting them for foreign employees. They were very casual about it, hope they're right.

- The main piece of advice was "get whatever job and living arrangement you can. Once settled, look for better." People tend to change jobs and apartments all the time in SG.

- Get business cards and a local SIM (I got Singtel prepaid but I see it doesn't work outside SG).

So there you have it. Thanks again for your insights. Lets hope the offers roll in!

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Post by ksl » Tue, 10 May 2011 10:51 am

Yes 5K a month is no problem, you can live pretty well on it! It's more than double the low income families, though low income qualify for subsidies.

But 5k is okay u can survive pretty well. You can also find older condo's and cheaper prices around Eunos, Paya Lebar, Hougang and Serangoon, with quite a few Europeans in the areas. Seranggod have a very nice big shopping mall 24 hrs NTUC supermarket just opened 3 months ago. It's getting to be a popular area with great infrastucture. Though prices have gone up, you can still get condo's for between $2 -2500! 2500 -3k around Katong Mall for older Condo's.

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Post by Petales Soufflez! » Tue, 10 May 2011 2:03 pm

I agree with KSL, I am from Upper Serangoon and I just love it there!

Not that far from town anyway and very convenient. Live near Lorong Ah Soo and you could try to put your girl at PLMGPS later on which is a very good school.
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Post by JR8 » Tue, 10 May 2011 6:55 pm

pochari wrote: - Get business cards and a local SIM (I got Singtel prepaid but I see it doesn't work outside SG).
'Your hi!Card supports AutoRoam and thus can be used when you are overseas.'
http://info.singtel.com/personal/commun ... up/hi-card


I certainly frequently roamed with my HiCard SIM and it worked fine.

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Post by pochari » Thu, 10 Nov 2011 7:20 pm

Update:
After 3 trips to SG, tons of $$$ spent on accommodations and plane tickets, several interviews (and over 700 resumes sent) I found a job. It's in Jurong and the EP just came through (I was sweating over that one!). The salary isn't what I was looking for but it's a start. Hopefully it'll eventually go up.

Thanks again for your advice.

p.s. JR8 you're right, the SIM was fine, the problem was with the phone.

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Post by ksl » Fri, 11 Nov 2011 1:46 pm

Petales Soufflez! wrote:I agree with KSL, I am from Upper Serangoon and I just love it there!

Not that far from town anyway and very convenient. Live near Lorong Ah Soo and you could try to put your girl at PLMGPS later on which is a very good school.
Wah! I live right next door to PLMGPS :-|

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Post by ksl » Fri, 11 Nov 2011 1:52 pm

pochari wrote:Update:
After 3 trips to SG, tons of $$$ spent on accommodations and plane tickets, several interviews (and over 700 resumes sent) I found a job. It's in Jurong and the EP just came through (I was sweating over that one!). The salary isn't what I was looking for but it's a start. Hopefully it'll eventually go up.

Thanks again for your advice.

p.s. JR8 you're right, the SIM was fine, the problem was with the phone.
So you should find a place out that way, within your budget quite easy, or go for a rented HDB maisonette for about 2000 -2500, 5 room. 148 sq meters if there is any out that way!

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