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Job offer in Singapore

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nbe
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Job offer in Singapore

Postby nbe » Wed, 01 Jan 2014 8:34 pm

So recently I was travelling in Vietnam for a few weeks. It was my first experience of Asia and to say I loved it would be an understatement. I love the food, the people and the climate. I met some lovely Chinese-Singaporean people there and they basically completely sold me on Singapore. It sounds just like what I need at the moment. Some great weather so I can focus on fitness and exercise, whilst still working and playing hard.

I had a browse for jobs on LinkedIn and got the usual recruiter spam for a few days. But then a company contacted me directly, outside of LinkedIn, basically saying they think I'd be an ideal "first hire" to head up their new Singapore technical office.

*However*, they still seem to be in early stages with their whole Singapore venture. To such an extent they seem to be extremely worried about getting working visa's for their first hires, such as me. They think the government rules could prevent them even setting up base there unless they hire a percentage of Singaporean people.

I was quite surprised by this. A new insurance services software vendor, setting up shop in Singapore... surely the government would be encouraging this? As eventually it would surely end up hiring at least a few Singaporeans. And in the mean time its foreign employees would be paying their income taxes.

They've raised the possibility of setting it up in Malaysia instead. But to be honest this wouldn't really interest me anywhere near as much, so I'd probably not take the job if that happens. I'm a Londoner so the Singapore hustle and bustle really appeals to me. Can't help it!

I guess my question is, has what this company is saying got any real merit? Is it really so strict now that setting up a firm with 2 or 3 foreigners as its first employees is going to get blocked by the government policies?

Thanks

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JR8
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Postby JR8 » Wed, 01 Jan 2014 10:42 pm

Yes Vietnam is (generally) an enchanting place to travel as a tourist.

Do note that Singaporeans are about 1010% patriotic. It’s drilled into them by the government from birth. Being SGn and not loving 'My Home' 1010% is something that isn’t to be publicly discussed – at least back home in SG.

But VN and SG are totally different cultures, geographies and experiences. And furthermore the holiday-experience, is totally different from the expat-experience. For many of us the weather is a constant battle for a good part of the year. Keeping the rain, sun, and heat off.

Have you been to SG? How to get fitness and exercise when you’re working the expected ‘60+ hr weeks’?

Contacted outside LinkedIn. First hire? So they don’t yet exist as a corporate entity in SG? What next they ask you for £1,000 to process your visa application? Right?

If they don’t know about hiring quotas, and foreigner% vs local%, then these people really are in the starting blocks. An established company gets foreign worker quotas based upon the number of locals also employed (it’s complex!). There might be different rules for a foreign company that say starts with a local ‘Representative Office’ that morphs into a branch. But if THEY don’t understand all of this, there is no way me as a ‘passer-by’ does... It leaves an impression that they’re flying pretty blind eh? I wonder why?

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‘They've raised the possibility of setting it up in Malaysia instead. But to be honest this wouldn't really interest me anywhere near as much,
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Why, you haven’t been to both countries, in order to reach an informed opinion?
For one thing you could potentially get a LOT more bang-for-your-buck (housing, lifestyle etc) in Malaysia, than in SG.

My feeling is this company don’t know what they’re trying to do. It is most strange they approach you re: a job-opportunity when they don’t even know where it might be based, or even if they can hire you.

My suggestion is: Don’t hold your breath on this one. If you are sold on getting a stint in here, it could be much simpler doing it via an established company that has a track-record. Beware: There are any number of outfits selling dreams of work in SG, for a fee of course... for work that never materialises.

Anyway best of luck :)

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Postby Strong Eagle » Thu, 02 Jan 2014 12:00 am

I agree with JR8... if you haven't traveled to both Malaysia and Singapore, you don't have any sense of either. Vietnam is a lot different than either as well... both Hanoi and Saigon are completely different experiences.

As for the business... we really need to know more about the company. Is it a company already in existence elsewhere, with a proven track record? If yes, headquartered in which country? With a track record, proof of cash to operate the start up, and a HQ in the "right" country, they could start a wholly owned private limited in Singapore and probably get work permits for you without much issue.

But if this is some outfit with no track record, then they will have to go the Entrepass route and the conditions for an Entrepass are far more onerous.

I think its actually easier to set up a business in Malaysia these days, and Kuala Lumpur is an interesting place to live, with many interesting destinations on both the east and west coasts.

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Postby nbe » Thu, 02 Jan 2014 12:43 am

I had that reaction a few times. As soon as I mention LinkedIn people think the whole thing is dodgy.

Anyway, no, it's not dodgy :) It's an established British company that also has offices in Vietnam and is looking to establish another in SG. They are expanding. Their UK and VN offices both employ about 20-25 people each.

There's no way I'd be doing 60 hour weeks... yes it's a senior type position but there's always ways to fit your work around your life. So I'm not worried about that at all.

Of course I realise VN is totally different to SG :p And yes perhaps it's silly of my "write off" Malaysia so easily. I'm sure KL is lovely and I'd like to go visit it. But the attraction to me is SG. Yes it's small and yes people say all you can do is eat food and go shopping.

They already have one guy out there who'll be running the office in SG and he's been there 10 or 15 years apparently though apparently isn't a PR. But he doesn't want his son doing national service, which presumably he would have to if he became PR, so I think that could be weighing on the situation somewhat wrt Malaysia. But that's not really any of my business.

I've only spoke to their British director so far who perhaps isn't as up to speed with it all as their guy already out there. Perhaps they just need some professional advice, but it does sound like there are options.

Maybe I'm making them sound more amateur than they really are.

If we can work the problems then I am totally up for doing this. Yes you probably think I'm suffering from grass is greener or rose tinted spectacles. And yes, probably a *little bit* I am. I don't really care though. Nothing is forever. I just want to do something different for a few years. Is that really such a crime? :) Isn't that was expats is all about?? We all just want to find a life better suited to what we like doing.

Sorry for the rambling...
Last edited by nbe on Thu, 02 Jan 2014 12:56 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Postby JR8 » Thu, 02 Jan 2014 12:56 am

>>Sorry for the rambling...

Not at all. Q+A topics tend to go back and forth in just this way.

Consider it healthy discussion :) You're essentially floating a business proposition, you should welcome all and sundry trying to give your plan a thorough testing/beating.

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Postby nbe » Thu, 02 Jan 2014 1:09 am

Re the weather in SG... I'm already one of the nutters in the UK that heads out on a 2 hour run on the hottest days of the year just.. because. There was a few 33c days in London last summer and I did not hesitate to take advantage :lol:

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Postby JR8 » Thu, 02 Jan 2014 10:10 am

nbe wrote:Re the weather in SG... I'm already one of the nutters in the UK that heads out on a 2 hour run on the hottest days of the year just.. because. There was a few 33c days in London last summer and I did not hesitate to take advantage :lol:


Oh I understand, if the UK gets any decent weather then everyone gets gripped by a nationwide hysteria, of 'having to get out and make the most of it' :) It's different when it's 'tropical' 365 days of the year.

There is a local maxim 'It's not the heat, it's the humidity'. I.e. dealing with the heat is not really that tough, but it's the humidity that gets to you. That's because the human cooling system (perspiring) doesn't work so well, when trying to eveaporate off sweat in the tropics (average Relative Humidity is about 85%).

Anyway. Here is a link that might give you some more useful insight...
http://www.guidemesingapore.com/relocat ... -singapore

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Postby zzm9980 » Thu, 02 Jan 2014 11:17 am

nbe wrote:But the attraction to me is SG.


You haven't even been here, let alone spent more than the typical three-day holiday. Right now you're in the puppy-love phase. After you're here 1-6 months and the honeymoon phase ends, expect a huge crash. Really, come visit and do a lot of research. Foreigners aren't particularly welcome here anymore, unless you're ethnically Chinese.

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Postby the lynx » Thu, 02 Jan 2014 11:46 am

zzm9980 wrote:
nbe wrote:But the attraction to me is SG.


You haven't even been here, let alone spent more than the typical three-day holiday. Right now you're in the puppy-love phase. After you're here 1-6 months and the honeymoon phase ends, expect a huge crash. Really, come visit and do a lot of research. Foreigners aren't particularly welcome here anymore, unless you're ethnically Chinese.


With exceptions to mainland Chinese though.

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Postby JR8 » Thu, 02 Jan 2014 1:58 pm

+1 @ ZZM. Well expressed.

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Postby Wd40 » Thu, 02 Jan 2014 2:02 pm

In terms of welcoming by general public, people from developing countries are not welcome, even if they are ethinic chinese. Ang Mohs are definitely not welcome. I think the only people they kind of "dont hate" or "neutral" about are perhaps the Japanese, Koreans, Honkies and Taiwanese.

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Postby nbe » Thu, 02 Jan 2014 3:52 pm

Okay so now you're saying I shouldn't go because it will be too humid for me (actually humidity is something I like - I think I'm just weird).

When you say I won't be welcome... Do you mean "racially abused in the street" not welcome, or "the Visa office won't like you" or just "won't get invited to any parties or BBQs"?

I'm somebody that moved to London by getting an apartment months before even landing a job there. I moved there with zero friends. I didn't even know whether I was going to like the place to be honest. And I did all this during the height of the recession in the UK. But I did it, and I'm still here... and a few years on I'm now looking for my next "all in" adventure.

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Postby bgd » Thu, 02 Jan 2014 4:36 pm

I say come. :D

People are sensibly urging caution. Living and working in Sg is not the same as holidaying in Asia. In 6 months you might hate it, or love it. You’ll never know until you try.

These forums are helpful and worth digging around. A bit of reading and you’ll get an idea why you are getting the advice you are, Sg has changed a lot in the last few years and little of it for the better.

Despite that I’m very happy with my Asian experience so far. Try it, you’ll probably like it, most people I know do.

Oh and don’t be too quick to write off Malaysia, fascinating country, even for a Londoner. ;-)

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Postby Beeroclock » Thu, 02 Jan 2014 4:43 pm

I get the impression you already made up your mind so just go for it in that case and let the chips fall where they may. You probably won't get a rubber stamp here if that's what you're seeking. Put the company to the test if they can get you the work visa/EP or not, before any firm commitment.

Regarding foreigner sentiment it's definitely not "racially abused in the street", not saying it won't happen but would be rare/exceptional.

IMHO, Singapore on the whole is still relatively foreigner friendly. Yes as evidenced at the last General Election and reinforced recently too by the Little India riot, there is discontent by the local population, but it's subtle and if you judge by online forums your perception will be way off. As many already said, maybe you should pay a visit and see for yourself first!

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Postby nbe » Thu, 02 Jan 2014 5:01 pm

The main things I know I will like is the climate and the abundance of Asian food. It's these things that make me sad living in the UK at the moment.

I wouldn't say I've made up my mind at all. It all depends on the job, obviously. I'm just a little surprised people make assumptions that because I'm British that I won't be able to stand the weather out there or I won't like this or won't like that. I'm a pretty easy going person really. Even in London if you happen to end up walking down the wrong street you can feel the stares coming your way from immigrants or even loutish British "youths".


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