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Advice for relocating from the US to Singapore

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Lailafamily
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Advice for relocating from the US to Singapore

Postby Lailafamily » Tue, 27 Aug 2013 2:04 am

Hi all,

I apologize if this has been discussed before. Went through a couple of posts but wld love to get more updated info.

We are an Indian family who have been residing in PEnnsylvania for about 5 years now. Our son is a US citizen by birth here. We are considering a relocation to Singapore as it provides us to be close to friends and family in Asia as well as provides an international lifestyle which we have now grown accustomed to living here.

Our concerns about moving to Singapore are:

The cost of living seems frightfully high especially with regards to property rentals. Being a family of 3(maybe 4 one day) we would ideally like a 3 bedroom apt or townhouse in the city or on the close outskirts. What wld be a fair price for such housing?

Another concern is the lack of having a car. Cars (or the entitlement required) seem to be a costly affair. We are very accustomed to having a car so are concerned how this will affect our daily lives (especially with kids and their paraphernalia) Any thoughts?

What sort of schooling will our son be able to attend? IS public schooling an option? or can he only do private school? Cost wise?

We are also thinking of applying for PR once we move and are settled. HOw long does this process take?

Would appreciate any and all feedback and suggestions before we make life changing decisions!

Best,

Laila

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zzm9980
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Re: Advice for relocating from the US to Singapore

Postby zzm9980 » Tue, 27 Aug 2013 9:26 am

Lailafamily wrote:Hi all,

I apologize if this has been discussed before. Went through a couple of posts but wld love to get more updated info.

We are an Indian family who have been residing in PEnnsylvania for about 5 years now. Our son is a US citizen by birth here. We are considering a relocation to Singapore as it provides us to be close to friends and family in Asia as well as provides an international lifestyle which we have now grown accustomed to living here.

Our concerns about moving to Singapore are:

The cost of living seems frightfully high especially with regards to property rentals. Being a family of 3(maybe 4 one day) we would ideally like a 3 bedroom apt or townhouse in the city or on the close outskirts. What wld be a fair price for such housing?


Compared to almost anywhere in Pennsylvania, 'frightfully high' would be an understatement. Prices in Singapore for what you're looking for would be in the same ballpark as Manhattan or San Francisco proper.

Lailafamily wrote:Another concern is the lack of having a car. Cars (or the entitlement required) seem to be a costly affair. We are very accustomed to having a car so are concerned how this will affect our daily lives (especially with kids and their paraphernalia) Any thoughts?


Depending where you live, you can make do without a car. It really depends on your lifestyle. You can do quite a bit more in Singapore than the US without a car, assuming comparable life styles.

Lailafamily wrote:What sort of schooling will our son be able to attend? IS public schooling an option? or can he only do private school? Cost wise?

Public school is an option, however as a foreigner you'll be last tier for selection. What this realistically means is that you may not get your son into the school closest to home. I'd suggest focusing your research here.

Also, American International School will cost around S$4,000/month. Indian International School may be less, but probably still significant.

Lailafamily wrote:
We are also thinking of applying for PR once we move and are settled. HOw long does this process take?


A long time. Especially for Indians. Search this forum for "Indian PR". You coming from the US means almost nothing unfortunately. The main thing will be what your income is. I'd say roughly if you're not making a combined S$16k/month (P1 equivalent pass for each you and your husband), you're going to have a hard time getting PR at all, unless the unofficial policies change.

Becoming a PR will also oblige your son for National Service (Singapore Military). You may want to make sure you fully understand what that entails.

Lailafamily wrote:
Would appreciate any and all feedback and suggestions before we make life changing decisions!

Best,

Laila


Research carefully, make sure you have good jobs before coming. It's very expensive, and if you enjoy suburban US life, your quality of life will definitely decrease.

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Postby BedokAmerican » Tue, 27 Aug 2013 10:14 pm

It'll be much more cost effective to stay in the U.S. and to just visit your family & friends once or twice a year, in my opinion.

I'll give you my take on the car/transportation issue:

What might take 20 minutes for you to do in the U.S. could take you 1-2 hours here. If you don't have a car, you ought to live by an MRT station, but rents are higher near the stations. The MRT trains are good and reliable but can get packed like sardines during rush hour.

If you don't live near a MRT station, there are buses and taxicabs but they aren't as reliable and you could wait a long time in the heat or rain. Public buses aren't like the city buses you'd find in the U.S. where (for example) "Bus #50 arrives at 7:36 a.m., 7:48 a.m., etc." Here, go to a stop and it'll say something like "Bus 50 arrives every 15-25 minutes" so when you get to the bus stop drenched in sweat, you don't know if the bus you're looking for is due to show up any minute or if it just passed. You're then looking at your watch, "How much time do I have to wait? Is it more effective to call a cab? How long will it take a cab to show up?" It's often very difficult to flag down a cab while standing on the street and sometimes cab drivers won't pick you up if you're not going in the direction they need to go for shift change. That kind of frustration day in and day out will get to you. Double that frustration if your child is with you and getting cranky.

If you do have a car, there's the parking issue. Parking at condos where you live is ok, but if you want to go anywhere, often parking garages are full or you have to circle your way up toward the top to find a space (then circle back down when you leave while waiting for other cars to park or pull out). Gas is also very expensive. We have a small car and it cost me $82 to fill it a few days ago (when it was down to a quarter tank full), the equivalency of about $64 USD. However, the freedom of having a car is great but it's usually not as easy as, "I'm making a quick trip to the drug store or grocery store." It seems nothing is quick here.

As far as public schools go, there is tuition. Public doesn't mean "free." The MONTHLY fees for foreigners from non ASEAN nations are $513 for primary and $670 for secondary. Here's a link. Scroll toward bottom of page:

http://www.moe.gov.sg/education/admissi ... eral-info/

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Postby sundaymorningstaple » Tue, 27 Aug 2013 10:35 pm

Bedok, I believe there are a couple of apps available that more or less sort the arrive times of the various buses. That takes a lot of the guessworks out of it.

I sold my cars 22 years ago after the MRT system started. Even today, while I have the usage of a car I leave it home 80% of the time and just use public transport as it's a) much cheaper; b) immune for incompetent local drivers; and c) if you happen to work in the CBD, takes about the same length of time from your front door to your desk due to the parking evils in the CBD. (I worked in the Financial District for 10 years before going way, way out to Bukit Batok. - and I live in Serangoon North).

At first, as a yank who has been driving for a half a century, next week, I missed the car a first but all it takes is to HAVE to drive for one week and it cures me every time. ;-)

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Postby zzm9980 » Wed, 28 Aug 2013 8:17 am

YEs, there are iphone apps you can use to time Singapore busses. They work OK, just give yourself an extra three minutes since my phone has told me "arriving" and I see the bus 300m down the road and gone already. Otherwise, Bedok is spot on.

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Postby Lailafamily » Thu, 26 Sep 2013 10:34 pm

Thanks for all the replies.

We are still contemplating the move all the same.

Thanks for this info. Was wanting to understand how the 16k figure comes into account for a PR? I have not seen anywhere this figure for getting a PR as a requirement. Is this from your experience, if we have this combined income, wld THAT increase our chances of getting a PR? The husband estimates getting about $10K a month and that wld leave me at filling up the rest. We have understood that a double income in Singapore wld be better for our lifestyle and to support our son in an International School till we gain PR. We are trying to understand if a 16K income is what is acceptable for PR needs?

Thanks again!

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Postby PNGMK » Fri, 27 Sep 2013 12:33 am

Lailafamily wrote:Thanks for all the replies.

We are still contemplating the move all the same.

Thanks for this info. Was wanting to understand how the 16k figure comes into account for a PR? I have not seen anywhere this figure for getting a PR as a requirement. Is this from your experience, if we have this combined income, wld THAT increase our chances of getting a PR? The husband estimates getting about $10K a month and that wld leave me at filling up the rest. We have understood that a double income in Singapore wld be better for our lifestyle and to support our son in an International School till we gain PR. We are trying to understand if a 16K income is what is acceptable for PR needs?

Thanks again!


PR is not just an issue of income.... many, many factors which are not published by the ICA come into play.... saying that I think you have as much chance as any other Indian family...

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Postby Lailafamily » Fri, 27 Sep 2013 1:58 am

Thanks! I do follow that there are several unknown factors that influence the likelihood of PR. So there is no real 'minimum' financial stipulation that dictates applying for a PR, is there? I do follow how 2 high incomes increase the likelihood for PR along with potentially buying a condo and paying taxes for a few years etc. I am unsure initially how high a pay I would potentially gt and hence am wondering if we need to have a 16k/ month income and only then apply or even with a lower aggregate income we can still take our chances? I know its all a matter of luck, but still....

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Postby beppi » Fri, 27 Sep 2013 3:37 pm

Becoming PR is not a matter of luck, but of careful considerations, by the authorities, about what benefit you bring for Singapore.
These are social (Are you of a preferred race and would integrate well?), strategic (Do you have dependant family members that could in future want to join you and put additional strain on Singapore's limited resources without contributing? Do you have, or will get, a male child who would have to join Singapore's military?), economic (Are your job, skills, company in future helping to develop Singapore further, i.e. by teaching locals new skills or creating new jobs?) and, last but not least, financial.

To answer your question directly: The formal minimum income to become PR is that of an S-Pass (S$2200/month) or DP (S$4000/month) if family members are included. At that level, however, you will only be approved if all other factors are in your favour.

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Postby Strong Eagle » Fri, 27 Sep 2013 11:59 pm

Be aware that PR in Singapore is not at all like PR in the US. In the US, you are granted permanent rights to stay so long as you do not violate the law. No means test is required. You don't need to be employed or have paid taxes. You don't actually even have to renew your green card every ten years (you still retain PR status), although if you don't have a valid green card you are committing a misdemeanor. You have all the rights and responsibilities of a US citizen, except for voting, and jobs with a national security interest.

In Singapore, PR is very much economically based. If you succeed, five years out, you'll have to prove it again. Your benefits are not the same as those of a citizen and have been consistently reduced over the last 8 to 10 years.


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