Singapore Expats Forum

Average Ex-Pat Packages Now..

Discuss about getting a well paid job or career advancement. Ask about salaries, expat packages, CPF & taxes for expatriate.

Steve1960
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Postby Steve1960 » Tue, 02 Oct 2012 10:33 am

Not sure what your pension position is but my UK employer contributed to my personal pension scheme in the UK something that is lost as a benefit in Singapore until I can get PR status so I negotiated a regular monthly payment on top of my salary to compensate. It stops if and when I get PR status.

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Postby zzm9980 » Tue, 02 Oct 2012 11:50 am

Steve1960 wrote:Not sure what your pension position is but my UK employer contributed to my personal pension scheme in the UK something that is lost as a benefit in Singapore until I can get PR status so I negotiated a regular monthly payment on top of my salary to compensate. It stops if and when I get PR status.


There are threads on this; many financial companies will do something like this for pass holders. My previous employer added the entire employee CPF contribution onto my monthly pay. S$917 or so, forgot the amount. (It's fixed, as the pay was well above the CPF cap).

OP, Not sure how big your company is, but my current company's standard relo package covers all of the things you mentioned plus closing costs on selling your home. No idea how Aussie real-estate sales work, but in the US closing costs can be a sizable amount.

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Postby Hidy Ho » Wed, 03 Oct 2012 1:54 pm

Sounds like permanent relocation. I looked at my situation in two ways:

1. Temporary one time expenses - already mentioned here but it's to offset cost related to winding down your current situation and getting you to new place (Singapore). Make sure you thought of it all and get this covered through one time bonus or relocation fee. This payment, I believe, will be taxable here in Singapore.

I negotiated for two months Service Apartment. I don't think one month is truly enough to find a right place to live and put one under "rush" situation for haste judgment call.

My company paid for the move to Singapore so not much to think about here .. except that I paid for the moving boxes from my service apt to my more permanent location. In my case, it was just 10 or so boxes moving couple of blocks down, so wasn't that big of deal but if you have a lot of stuff, you might want to get this expense covered.

One time bonus and/or relocation fee. This can cover deposit for a new place + agent fee and incidentals.


2. Ongoing difference - salary, health care, retirement, child related expenses, taxation difference. This is more complicated to analyze but also more important. You got to figure out what your cost is here in Singapore and see if net amount after those costs (saving or disposable income) is acceptable for you or not.

I'm from USA and health care coverage provided for me (capped) here is vastly different from my coverage in USA and this will in return forced me to give up one very expensive medicine that I used to get in USA. This difference may force me to return to US, if I can't find affordable, alternate treatment.

I used to get 401K and US which is not available here but my company does provide CPF contribution directly to me. I just needed to calculate whether there is significant difference. I personally preferred the US way (I am more cash rich now - which is not a good thing for me).

I'm single without dependents so can't really comment on child-related expenses.

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Postby skipper » Wed, 03 Oct 2012 5:27 pm

col311 wrote:Thanks for your comments. I think you misunderstand me. $5k is not what they are going to pay me.. I get paid a salary plus comms now plus they pay $5k/month for travel. They are not going to take my salary & comms away, that would be ridiculous! Just as a reference, my package right now is WELL into the P1 salary range.. But I'm trying to negotiate a better package as rightly so, I'm well set up here with a family & a great place that we live & my wife has a senior job also, so we'd be sacrificing a bit to move over.

My company will increase my base to move but all friends over there are saying to try to negotiate the best expat package I can get.. The company is basing its offer on current research into what other companies are currently offering so am trying to find whether there are companies that are still offering expat packages & under what circumstances.

The company stands to benefit greatly from my relocation - not just in travel savings & tax breaks but also as I will be great deal more effective in my role being in region rather than managing it remotely from Oz & only being in region a quarter of the time.


When I was hired a few years ago, I replaced an expat single guy who was being transferred to another country in Asia (also on full expat package and with driver). At that time they decided to no longer offer an expat package so I took a local package that is also WELL into the P1 salary range to be able to rent a condo and send my kids to an International School (which I did not do). Got the usual relocation package and a month's stay in a hotel.

My wife also held a senior job back home and this was factored "in a way" into my local package -- although the company knew that she should be able to get a job here within her field. In hindsight, I should have asked them to give more consideration to this but fortunately, she did got a job after three months and also above P1 on local package. This is something that you need to consider in your negotiation, especially with today's "constraints" in the job market in Singapore. We've been a dual-income family back home and thankfully, we were able to maintain this here.

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Postby col311 » Thu, 04 Oct 2012 5:13 pm

Thanks for the last few comments & advice.. all very good.

I had not even considered superannuation (or 401k in the US).. I'll have to look into this & work something out with the company. Thanks for the advice on that.

I also looked into healthcare.. in Australia it's very good but we also have to pay very high taxes including a fee each year to the government health system (Medicare) + private health insurance. If you get sick a lot, then you benefit a lot, but if not, you pay a lot to the government for nothing.

The way I see it, with the huge tax difference in Singapore, I still come out on top in terms of net if I do have to pay for healthcare here unless of course something drastic happens, then maybe we'll lose out.

If there are any Aussies on this forum, are you still able to maintain your private health insurance in Australia & then travel back home if you need anything that is too expensive in Singapore?

On another note, I looked into Singapore tax laws & it seems that I should be able to apply for NOR status at the end of the tax year as I will be out of Singapore on business at least 90 days a year, which means more savings on tax right?

So right now I pay more for our rental property in Australia than what we want in Singapore (we live across the road from the beach in Sydney). I won't have my car lease in my first year (company will pay for taxis for me & the family to get around), my salary is going up & business in Asia is much better than business in Australia so I'll be earning more in comms. Currently in Australia we pay more to have a nanny come just 2 afternoons a week than what we need to pay a full time maid here + fees + bonuses. The only extra expenses are school fees as right now my daughter is in the public school system which means nominal fees whereas here in Singapore it's highway robbery for independent school fees! Also entertainment expenses as having a maid will mean my wife & I will actually have a social life.. something we haven't had for 8 years!! But all in all, with expenses considered, it seems I'll come out on top just based on my own salary package & if my wife gets a job then we should be way ahead..

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Postby offshoreoildude » Thu, 04 Oct 2012 5:28 pm

col311 wrote:Thanks for the last few comments & advice.. all very good.

I had not even considered superannuation (or 401k in the US).. I'll have to look into this & work something out with the company. Thanks for the advice on that.

I also looked into healthcare.. in Australia it's very good but we also have to pay very high taxes including a fee each year to the government health system (Medicare) + private health insurance. If you get sick a lot, then you benefit a lot, but if not, you pay a lot to the government for nothing.

The way I see it, with the huge tax difference in Singapore, I still come out on top in terms of net if I do have to pay for healthcare here unless of course something drastic happens, then maybe we'll lose out.

If there are any Aussies on this forum, are you still able to maintain your private health insurance in Australia & then travel back home if you need anything that is too expensive in Singapore?

On another note, I looked into Singapore tax laws & it seems that I should be able to apply for NOR status at the end of the tax year as I will be out of Singapore on business at least 90 days a year, which means more savings on tax right?

So right now I pay more for our rental property in Australia than what we want in Singapore (we live across the road from the beach in Sydney). I won't have my car lease in my first year (company will pay for taxis for me & the family to get around), my salary is going up & business in Asia is much better than business in Australia so I'll be earning more in comms. Currently in Australia we pay more to have a nanny come just 2 afternoons a week than what we need to pay a full time maid here + fees + bonuses. The only extra expenses are school fees as right now my daughter is in the public school system which means nominal fees whereas here in Singapore it's highway robbery for independent school fees! Also entertainment expenses as having a maid will mean my wife & I will actually have a social life.. something we haven't had for 8 years!! But all in all, with expenses considered, it seems I'll come out on top just based on my own salary package & if my wife gets a job then we should be way ahead..


You can request that your private medical insurer put your status on hold while you're away. There's a limit to it - 5 years I think?

Medicare eventually times out if you are not resident in 5 years or so as well. Although I've never had a problem I have had friends who've not been able to claim medicare or the dole or aged pension after being away a LONG time (10 years or so).
Now I'm called PNGMK

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Postby col311 » Thu, 04 Oct 2012 6:05 pm

offshoreoildude wrote:
You can request that your private medical insurer put your status on hold while you're away. There's a limit to it - 5 years I think?

Medicare eventually times out if you are not resident in 5 years or so as well. Although I've never had a problem I have had friends who've not been able to claim medicare or the dole or aged pension after being away a LONG time (10 years or so).


Ok thanks.. will look into that.

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Postby zzm9980 » Thu, 04 Oct 2012 7:50 pm

col311 wrote:
On another note, I looked into Singapore tax laws & it seems that I should be able to apply for NOR status at the end of the tax year as I will be out of Singapore on business at least 90 days a year, which means more savings on tax right?


If you have an employment pass, you'll pay resident rates:
http://www.iras.gov.sg/irasHome/page04.aspx?id=1190

Your final year here, if here under 183 days, you'll pay the non-resident rate.

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Postby offshoreoildude » Thu, 04 Oct 2012 8:35 pm

col311 wrote:
offshoreoildude wrote:
You can request that your private medical insurer put your status on hold while you're away. There's a limit to it - 5 years I think?

Medicare eventually times out if you are not resident in 5 years or so as well. Although I've never had a problem I have had friends who've not been able to claim medicare or the dole or aged pension after being away a LONG time (10 years or so).


Ok thanks.. will look into that.


Note; from what I've noted this seems to be more of a problem for naturalised citizens than Australian born citizens.
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Postby col311 » Fri, 05 Oct 2012 9:05 am

zzm9980 wrote:
col311 wrote:
On another note, I looked into Singapore tax laws & it seems that I should be able to apply for NOR status at the end of the tax year as I will be out of Singapore on business at least 90 days a year, which means more savings on tax right?


If you have an employment pass, you'll pay resident rates:
http://www.iras.gov.sg/irasHome/page04.aspx?id=1190

Your final year here, if here under 183 days, you'll pay the non-resident rate.


zzm - this page says something completely different to that http://www.iras.gov.sg/irasHome/page03_ektid338.aspx

The first year I work in SG, I can apply for NOR & then if accepted, it stays with me for the next 5 years.

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Postby noskich » Fri, 05 Oct 2012 9:42 am

Hey col311, I would be very interested to hear which Australian IT companies are regularly sending employees as expats to Singapore?
I have long-term plans of moving over there and expat package would definitely be the sweetest deal. So it would certainly help to work and build a profile in a company which is likely to offer it.
Thanks for your help.

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Postby zzm9980 » Fri, 05 Oct 2012 10:05 am

col311 wrote:
zzm9980 wrote:
col311 wrote:
On another note, I looked into Singapore tax laws & it seems that I should be able to apply for NOR status at the end of the tax year as I will be out of Singapore on business at least 90 days a year, which means more savings on tax right?


If you have an employment pass, you'll pay resident rates:
http://www.iras.gov.sg/irasHome/page04.aspx?id=1190

Your final year here, if here under 183 days, you'll pay the non-resident rate.


zzm - this page says something completely different to that http://www.iras.gov.sg/irasHome/page03_ektid338.aspx

The first year I work in SG, I can apply for NOR & then if accepted, it stays with me for the next 5 years.


Sorry, I wasn't aware of NOR scheme. I thought you were refering to the Non-Resident rate of a flat 15%, which many people think they must pay their first year.

Yes, this NOR is definitely beneficial to you if you meet the 90 day requirement. Actually hrm, I can probably meet it. thanks for pointing this out :D

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Postby offshoreoildude » Fri, 05 Oct 2012 1:55 pm

noskich wrote:Hey col311, I would be very interested to hear which Australian IT companies are regularly sending employees as expats to Singapore?
I have long-term plans of moving over there and expat package would definitely be the sweetest deal. So it would certainly help to work and build a profile in a company which is likely to offer it.
Thanks for your help.


I've met some software testers here working for an Australian software testing house.
Now I'm called PNGMK

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Postby revhappy » Fri, 05 Oct 2012 2:03 pm

offshoreoildude wrote:
noskich wrote:Hey col311, I would be very interested to hear which Australian IT companies are regularly sending employees as expats to Singapore?
I have long-term plans of moving over there and expat package would definitely be the sweetest deal. So it would certainly help to work and build a profile in a company which is likely to offer it.
Thanks for your help.


I've met some software testers here working for an Australian software testing house.


Lol. Software testers from Australia? :???: I thought testers were even low skill than code monkeys. Testing jobs are also the 1st ones that are getting kicked out to India at the moment.
Last edited by revhappy on Sun, 14 Oct 2012 10:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Postby zzm9980 » Fri, 05 Oct 2012 4:12 pm

revhappy wrote:
offshoreoildude wrote:
noskich wrote:Hey col311, I would be very interested to hear which Australian IT companies are regularly sending employees as expats to Singapore?
I have long-term plans of moving over there and expat package would definitely be the sweetest deal. So it would certainly help to work and build a profile in a company which is likely to offer it.
Thanks for your help.


I've met some software testers here working for an Australian software testing house.


Lol. Software testers from Australia? :???: I thought testers were even low skill than code monkeys. Testing jobs are also the 1st ones that are getting kicked out to India at the moment.


Not all - security testing is in very high demand and not being outsourced.


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