Singapore Expats

Advice Needed.

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.
Post Reply
Ksea
Newbie
Newbie
Posts: 7
Joined: Sat, 03 Sep 2011 1:58 pm

Advice Needed.

Post by Ksea » Sat, 03 Sep 2011 2:06 pm

Hi Everyone,

I often visit this forum and found it very helpful. I need your advice on my current situation. I'm a Thai having been living and working in the US for more than 15 years. I'm currently in Los Angeles. I might be getting a permanent job in Singapore (as opposed to being an expatriate moving to Singapore temporarily). Even though I'm originally from Thailand, I have never been to Singapore before. (How ridiculous!) So, I don't know what it would be like over there. I did some searching on the net and found that the cost of living is quite high. Honestly, I can say that it's higher than that in Los Angeles. Moving to Singapore would be one of my biggest decisions I may have to make. So, I wanted to make sure that I don't screw it up. I would like to ask you if what I will be making there is reasonable and what the moving package should be. Here is the information for your consideration:

- I have about 8 years of solid work experience, and my work experience is exactly what the company is looking for. I have an M.S. and a Ph.D. degrees from a reputable university in the US and have engineering licenses in multiple states.

- I would be offered a Senior Structural Engineer position there. The base salary would be about S$ 96k.

- I would get a relocation package that I still do not know what would be included.

- The other benefits are pretty much similar to typical benefits; e.g., 18 days for vacation, sick leave days, insurances, etc.

- The bonus would be between 2-5 months depending on my performance.

- They would be apply an EP for me with a renewal every two years.

- My wife and my daughter (1 year old) would be moving with me.

Are these compensations reasonable or a bit in a low side? How much should I be asking for the relocation package (moving from LA)? Is there anything else important I need to consider or should be included in the package? Thank you very much for any advice you could give. I really appreciate it.

Regards,

Ksea

x9200
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 10073
Joined: Mon, 07 Sep 2009 4:06 pm
Location: Singapore

Post by x9200 » Sat, 03 Sep 2011 3:30 pm

The most devastating to your pocket are the rental expenses. Check out this part of your package first. Assuming you will not receive any housing allowance the 96k is ok, but do not expect a luxury. Depending on your current life style you may just be fine or need to accept some minor to moderate down-adjustment.

User avatar
sundaymorningstaple
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 40452
Joined: Thu, 11 Nov 2004 1:26 pm
Answers: 21
Location: Retired on the Little Red Dot

Post by sundaymorningstaple » Sat, 03 Sep 2011 3:35 pm

Without looking at the perks side of it (I'm currently out of touch there) the salary i definitely on the low side. I wouldn't look at less than 120K/year and considering your experience and educational qualifications, I'd probably want to look at around 12K/year before bonuses. What you didn't indicate, though, is what type of industry are we talking about. If Oil & Gas/Petrochem/Pharm or Shipbuilding, stick with between 120-144K/pa. If, on the other hand, it civil / Bldg construction, then maybe around 108~120K/pa. On top of this, you should have a housing allowance sufficient to cover the cost of a suitable condo. If it's permanent (e.g., long term and not purely a contract position) you will have to also think about school fees in a couple of years. Should you take up PR this is more flexible cost wise, but do a search on here to get an idea of International School costs (ballpark figure of 30K/pa/child). You will need to factor in how you plan on staying here. EP is much more expensive than PR but PR getting hard and hard to come by.

Some of the other will add their imput about the rest to look out for.

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

Ksea
Newbie
Newbie
Posts: 7
Joined: Sat, 03 Sep 2011 1:58 pm

Post by Ksea » Sun, 04 Sep 2011 7:05 am

x9200 wrote:The most devastating to your pocket are the rental expenses. Check out this part of your package first. Assuming you will not receive any housing allowance the 96k is ok, but do not expect a luxury. Depending on your current life style you may just be fine or need to accept some minor to moderate down-adjustment.
Dear x9200:

Thank you very much for your advice. I appreciate it.

I agree with you that the rental expenses are the main expenses there. I would not receive any housing allowance as they consider me as a "local" employee. I would rent an HDB flat to keep the expenses down.

Thank you again for your advice.

Regards,

Ksea

Ksea
Newbie
Newbie
Posts: 7
Joined: Sat, 03 Sep 2011 1:58 pm

Post by Ksea » Sun, 04 Sep 2011 7:25 am

sundaymorningstaple wrote:Without looking at the perks side of it (I'm currently out of touch there) the salary i definitely on the low side. I wouldn't look at less than 120K/year and considering your experience and educational qualifications, I'd probably want to look at around 12K/year before bonuses. What you didn't indicate, though, is what type of industry are we talking about. If Oil & Gas/Petrochem/Pharm or Shipbuilding, stick with between 120-144K/pa. If, on the other hand, it civil / Bldg construction, then maybe around 108~120K/pa. On top of this, you should have a housing allowance sufficient to cover the cost of a suitable condo. If it's permanent (e.g., long term and not purely a contract position) you will have to also think about school fees in a couple of years. Should you take up PR this is more flexible cost wise, but do a search on here to get an idea of International School costs (ballpark figure of 30K/pa/child). You will need to factor in how you plan on staying here. EP is much more expensive than PR but PR getting hard and hard to come by.

Some of the other will add their imput about the rest to look out for.

sms
Dear sundaymorningstaple:

Thank you very much for your advice. I appreciate it.

I agree with you that my base salary is kinda on the low side considering my qualification, US-based work experience, education. I did check the Hays Salary survey for Year 2011. I found that for a Senior Structural Engineer, the range of the base salary is between 6k/mo and 8k/mo. Based on that, mine would be right on the upper bound. However, I don't know if they should take into account my US-based experience and education, which I believe are well above the averages.

I'm also thinking about 120k/year for the base salary like you suggested. But, I'm not sure if I ask for that, it would scare them away. What do you think? I don't know if one should ask for more than what is indicated in the survey considering what they would offer is right on the upper bound already.

My industry is in infrastructure and environmental (water/wastewater treatment) projects. I believe it should be between Oil & Gas and Building construction industry. Probably, based on that, I may be look at the base salary about 110k/year.

They would hire me as a "local" employee. So, I would not get the housing allowance. It's a good point you gave on the school fees for my kid.

For the PR, how long do I have to live there before being qualified to apply for one? And, normally the company would sponsor that, right?

Thank you again for your advice.

Regards,

Ksea

x9200
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 10073
Joined: Mon, 07 Sep 2009 4:06 pm
Location: Singapore

Post by x9200 » Sun, 04 Sep 2011 10:13 am

Ksea, how is what they offer comparing to what you get now? Is your main reason for moving over here to be closer to your country of origin?

Eibow
Regular
Regular
Posts: 65
Joined: Fri, 05 Aug 2011 7:12 am
Location: San Francisco/Singapore

Post by Eibow » Sun, 04 Sep 2011 10:42 am

Given your circumstances, it's hard to say, especially when your time in Singapore is so undefined. If it makes it any better, I will be moving from LA this October and just graduated!

User avatar
sundaymorningstaple
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 40452
Joined: Thu, 11 Nov 2004 1:26 pm
Answers: 21
Location: Retired on the Little Red Dot

Post by sundaymorningstaple » Sun, 04 Sep 2011 11:17 am

IF you can get the EP (shouldn't be a problem there considering your field of expertise), you would need it for around 2 years (although they say 6 months - we are currently talking reality and not what's printed). Again, no guarantees on getting the PR, however, as you are an Asian, with a pretty good background and will be in a country that is constantly improving the "infrastructure" I'd say you would be an asset to the country and who knows, may well be a shoe-in. You could, as was seen by another posting today, get it approved within 4 months. So, if you are looking to become part of Asian again, instead of being an expat, the salary package circa 110/pa doesn't look too bad and if you plan on looking for HDB rental, then you can save considerable there as well. Obviously, Asian diets will agree with you! ;-) so a local package with the long term outlook as a PR and permanency here, doesn't look too bad. But as noted by another, how does it look in relation to what you have been pulling? Frankly, if your move is for ethnic reasons, it really doesn't matter though, if it's more of a lifestyle change for you and your family.

Remember one thing though, once you give them your terms, you cannot negotiate upwards, you can only come down to a meeting point. Therefore, it's better to come in a little high and if you have what it takes, then they will negotiate and meet you somewhere in the middle. The surveys already tell you what the upper and medians will be around. The rest is up to you.

Good luck.
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

Ksea
Newbie
Newbie
Posts: 7
Joined: Sat, 03 Sep 2011 1:58 pm

Post by Ksea » Sun, 04 Sep 2011 2:35 pm

x9200 wrote:Ksea, how is what they offer comparing to what you get now? Is your main reason for moving over here to be closer to your country of origin?
Hi x9200,

I'm making $95k in the US. And, yes, the main reason for moving there is to be (a lot) closer to Thailand.

Ksea

Ksea
Newbie
Newbie
Posts: 7
Joined: Sat, 03 Sep 2011 1:58 pm

Post by Ksea » Sun, 04 Sep 2011 2:38 pm

Eibow wrote:Given your circumstances, it's hard to say, especially when your time in Singapore is so undefined. If it makes it any better, I will be moving from LA this October and just graduated!
Hi Eibow,

It would be so hard to make this decision.

So, what field are you in? Did you already get an offer? Good luck moving, anyway.

Ksea

Ksea
Newbie
Newbie
Posts: 7
Joined: Sat, 03 Sep 2011 1:58 pm

Post by Ksea » Sun, 04 Sep 2011 2:55 pm

sundaymorningstaple wrote:IF you can get the EP (shouldn't be a problem there considering your field of expertise), you would need it for around 2 years (although they say 6 months - we are currently talking reality and not what's printed). Again, no guarantees on getting the PR, however, as you are an Asian, with a pretty good background and will be in a country that is constantly improving the "infrastructure" I'd say you would be an asset to the country and who knows, may well be a shoe-in. You could, as was seen by another posting today, get it approved within 4 months. So, if you are looking to become part of Asian again, instead of being an expat, the salary package circa 110/pa doesn't look too bad and if you plan on looking for HDB rental, then you can save considerable there as well. Obviously, Asian diets will agree with you! ;-) so a local package with the long term outlook as a PR and permanency here, doesn't look too bad. But as noted by another, how does it look in relation to what you have been pulling? Frankly, if your move is for ethnic reasons, it really doesn't matter though, if it's more of a lifestyle change for you and your family.

Remember one thing though, once you give them your terms, you cannot negotiate upwards, you can only come down to a meeting point. Therefore, it's better to come in a little high and if you have what it takes, then they will negotiate and meet you somewhere in the middle. The surveys already tell you what the upper and medians will be around. The rest is up to you.

Good luck.
sms
Hi sms,

Thank you for the information on the PR. Given a PR status and a good fit to the company, the long term outlook may be great like you said. But, how could one know if that would really happen.

I'm making $95k in the US. However, considering all the taxes here compared with the tax there, the net gains might be very similar. The main reason I am interested in moving there is to be closer to Thailand.

What do you mean by giving them my terms? During the interview, they asked me how much I was making in the US. And, I told them what I was making as a base salary. Did that mean I gave them my terms?

Ksea

User avatar
sundaymorningstaple
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 40452
Joined: Thu, 11 Nov 2004 1:26 pm
Answers: 21
Location: Retired on the Little Red Dot

Post by sundaymorningstaple » Sun, 04 Sep 2011 3:12 pm

Yeah, but not really. That's your last/current, obviously if you are good and they want to pull you away from your current employer they would have to sweeten the pot a bit, so with the current exchange rate putting your 95K at around 105K SGD, you are already pretty close, and the tax difference will make up for it. But, as you have another reason for moving, even a lateral move can be justified as long as you don't "lose" in the bargain. It sounds reasonably decent in any case.

Is your wife currently working in the US? This is something else you need to factor into the mix as well. Unless she has qualifications of her own, she might have to be on a dependent's pass and work on a Letter of Consent. This doesn't have to have academic qualifications, but it's tied to your EP and expires and renews when your EP does. If she can find a job on her own merits with her own EP it's better all the way around. If she's not working now, no changes.
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

Ksea
Newbie
Newbie
Posts: 7
Joined: Sat, 03 Sep 2011 1:58 pm

Post by Ksea » Sun, 04 Sep 2011 3:34 pm

sundaymorningstaple wrote:Yeah, but not really. That's your last/current, obviously if you are good and they want to pull you away from your current employer they would have to sweeten the pot a bit, so with the current exchange rate putting your 95K at around 105K SGD, you are already pretty close, and the tax difference will make up for it. But, as you have another reason for moving, even a lateral move can be justified as long as you don't "lose" in the bargain. It sounds reasonably decent in any case.

Is your wife currently working in the US? This is something else you need to factor into the mix as well. Unless she has qualifications of her own, she might have to be on a dependent's pass and work on a Letter of Consent. This doesn't have to have academic qualifications, but it's tied to your EP and expires and renews when your EP does. If she can find a job on her own merits with her own EP it's better all the way around. If she's not working now, no changes.
Hi sms,

I got your point. I think S$105k to S$110k would be proper like you did the numbers there.

My wife is currently working in the US. But, it's a temporary job. I don't think she would/could find a job there. So, it's fair to assume that it would be only me working there.

Ksea

Post Reply
  • Similar Topics
    Replies
    Views
    Last post

Return to “Relocating, Moving to Singapore”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 4 guests