Still, Singapore has made it easier for travelers to enter and seems more attractive to expats living in Hong Kong's rival financial hub, which has much stricter rules due to its zero COVID strategy. Usually, expats already have a job when they arrive in Singapore, but there is a possibility that your situation will change, or you may be traveling with a partner who would like to find employment. While too draconian for some but welcomed by others, most agree that the once brilliant expat lifestyle is gone, and may not return. And, while it will be nice to be back on family soil, I am also eager to leave my life here in Singapore.
The impact of ongoing curfews and previous border controls so strict that for months expatriate workers had to seek prior authorization to leave and re-enter the country, or risk being excluded from their jobs and homes, is reflected in the statistics. International companies and expatriate professionals have been attracted to the Southeast Asian nation because of its pro-entrepreneurial stance, its high standard of living and its connectivity to the region, the United States and Europe. The reason for leaving may be different from person to person, from layoffs to personal choice or even LOC changes, but some of the concerns are the same. But COVID has sparked introspection among many relatively well-to-do expats in Singapore, where foreign workers make up one-fifth of the 5.5 million population.
In Singapore, expats can get a fixed-rate or variable-rate mortgage for up to 60 to 80% of the value of the property. Expatriate companies and professionals have been attracted to the business-friendly country, one of the safest places in the world with a high quality of life, political stability, skilled labor, ease of travel and low taxes. Property comes at a special price in Singapore, where land is scarce, so although the cost of renting varies, it's generally an important outlet for expats. With more than a quarter of its workforce coming from abroad, Singapore is largely an expat city, so it may come as no surprise that the COVID-19 pandemic coincided with Singapore's first population decline in a decade.
In recent months, Singapore has been trying to learn to live with Covid-19 as an endemic disease, gradually reopening its economy and cutting quarantine for vaccinated arrivals through special routes, but for much of the pandemic it imposed some of the strictest restrictions in the world, leaving a profound impact on the local and foreign population. From understanding Singapore's business culture to discovering what expats do for fun, here are some tips to make your experience as an expat in Singapore the best it can be.