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British expat in NZ considering Singapore

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diles
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British expat in NZ considering Singapore

Postby diles » Sun, 22 Dec 2013 9:58 am

Hi,

I'm a British citizen who has been working in New Zealand as a Software Tester for over 5 years and I have NZ residency. I also have a BEng(Hons) in Software Engineering from a UK university. I was considering working in Singapore but I'm not sure how to go about it. With a UK passport I can enter Singapore as a visitor for under a month, but is it acceptable (i.e. legal) to look for work during this time? Or do I require an EPEC? And what are the likely costs, I expect I'll need a few grand to stay there for that time (SGD is pretty close to NZD at the moment).

Having gone through all of the immigration hassles here in NZ, I have no illusions it's going to be easy. It took a month to find work here (and not the job I was hoping for) and immigration was a hassle and expensive, even though it seems more open than the Singapore system. I was also on a working holiday visa which made it a bit easier.

Also the foreigner backlash is a bit concerning, is this a bad time to consider Singapore? My other options are going back to the UK or Victoria in Oz where Software testing is on the skills shortage list. But Singapore is definitely the more interesting option for me. Any advice is much appreciated.

Cheers,
Diles

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JR8
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Postby JR8 » Sun, 22 Dec 2013 11:28 am

A few observations:
When you arrive, if you indicate your duration of stay is 90 days, then (as a Brit, and IME) they usually give you that.
Purpose of visit? ‘Seeking employment’, might be suitable.
For your reference, this visa on arrival is called a ‘Social Visit Pass’ (SVP)
In simple terms, yes you can *seek* (but not undertake paid) work whilst on an SVP. If you have a dig around you’ll find topics from other people who have gone right through the questions and process you are floating.
The EPEC scheme was discontinued two years ago.*

You’ll find (as mentioned above) previous discussion on budgets whilst jobhunting. But, the biggest item will be accommodation. You can’t rent, so that leaves:-
- stay with friend
- Serviced Apartment
- hotel
An alternative is staying outside of SG, but within a short budget flight of reaching SG, and attending a few interviews here in a short period of time, prior heading ex-SG again.

If I were you I’d start looking through online job-ads, and see what there is that might fit your profile. Get a feel for who potential employers might be. Define the target.

With your kind of profile I can’t see the ‘backlash’ would impact you (what ever racial profile you might have). That issue impacted sub-continental migrant labour who in general seem to be looked down upon and not particularly well treated. Put another way... I don’t recall seeing members here commenting on things feeling different post-riot. Hey, you could start a new topic, and pose that as a question, it might be interesting to see any response :)

Edit: to add http://www.mom.gov.sg/FOREIGN-MANPOWER/ ... ation.aspx
Last edited by JR8 on Sun, 22 Dec 2013 11:29 am, edited 1 time in total.

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zzm9980
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Postby zzm9980 » Sun, 22 Dec 2013 11:28 am

I can't compare to other places you mention, but yes now is more of a 'bad time' in Singapore compared to how Singapore used to be.

You're not technically supposed to look for work on your tourist visa (SVP is what it's called here, Short term visit pass) but people do it anyway. You don't really have any other options to come here first without a job. You need a job to get an EP. EPEC doesn't exist anymore. If your current salary is over the equivalent of $180k USD, you can apply for a PEP first (but if you made that doing QA in NZ I don't think you'd be looking to leave).

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Re: British expat in NZ considering Singapore

Postby AngMoG » Sun, 22 Dec 2013 11:29 am

diles wrote:Hi,

I'm a British citizen who has been working in New Zealand as a Software Tester for over 5 years and I have NZ residency. I also have a BEng(Hons) in Software Engineering from a UK university. I was considering working in Singapore but I'm not sure how to go about it. With a UK passport I can enter Singapore as a visitor for under a month, but is it acceptable (i.e. legal) to look for work during this time? Or do I require an EPEC? And what are the likely costs, I expect I'll need a few grand to stay there for that time (SGD is pretty close to NZD at the moment).

Having gone through all of the immigration hassles here in NZ, I have no illusions it's going to be easy. It took a month to find work here (and not the job I was hoping for) and immigration was a hassle and expensive, even though it seems more open than the Singapore system. I was also on a working holiday visa which made it a bit easier.

Also the foreigner backlash is a bit concerning, is this a bad time to consider Singapore? My other options are going back to the UK or Victoria in Oz where Software testing is on the skills shortage list. But Singapore is definitely the more interesting option for me. Any advice is much appreciated.

Cheers,
Diles


Diles,

As a software tester (if that is the role you'd be looking for here as well), I would not recommend you to go to Singapore. The salary for that position is low (probably around the 2500-3000 range now), and if they can't find locals to do it, they'll hire south east Asians or south Asians. Even if you are looking for a developer position, or something else, your lack of experience would likely stand in your way as well as competing with Asians on about the same salary level.

On the procedural side, you can stay here to look for a job for a month at a time, I guess. You can probably do it 2-3 months or even longer by entering/exiting with some days in between. Unlike NZ, the immigration processes are simple, but also opaque. Nobody can tell you how many times you would be able to enter/exit without problems if you stay here to look. And nobody can guarantee you a visa if you do find a job (the job market is not great at the moment for people without residency). At your likely salary level, I would say your chances to get a visa approved are not good.

On the cost side, you are not legally allowed to rent a room or apartment since you only have a tourist visa, though I won't deny that it's possible to find. In that case, if you are able to find, I'd say you may be able to find something in the $1000-1500 range if you are lucky. Your only legal options are Serviced Apartments or hotels, to the tune of minimum $100 a night if you are not picky. Your rooms would be $600-$1500 if you do find a job, which means you won't be able to save much, as this is an expensive place to live.

tl;dr only move here if you have a job and visa already secured.

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Postby PNGMK » Sun, 22 Dec 2013 1:20 pm

For accomodation use a backpackers. $22 a night.

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Wd40
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Postby Wd40 » Sun, 22 Dec 2013 2:11 pm

Fully agree with AngMoG. Software skill is not highly valued in Singapore. Unless you have some specific niche domain knowledge/programming skill, you wont be paid well. Australia and NZ are much better for these skills.

diles
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Re: British expat in NZ considering Singapore

Postby diles » Sun, 22 Dec 2013 3:13 pm

Thanks guys, pretty informative. I applied to a job for 4-6k, not expecting anything to happen but just curious. It said the wages included "high commission" whatever that is, so I guess the real level will be more in line with what you mentioned. Oh well, odd that software skills are not appreciated in SG. Maybe some point in the future. Looks like I will look at Oz then.

Thanks,
Diles
--

Diles

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Postby sundaymorningstaple » Sun, 22 Dec 2013 5:32 pm

Software skills ARE appreciated in Singapore, but the level of appreciation are different in an Asian Society. How much does a tradesman, e.g., a bricklayer or highrise steelworker make in NZ, Oz or the US? Here they make around 600/mo as it's imported labour from India, Thailand, etc. It's a different world here and you need a niche skillset to be able to command a premium here.


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