Sunday, March 2

A Guide To Employment In Singapore As A Foreigner: The Basics


Singapore is a desirable place to live and a great country to start your career in. All the major corporations exist in Singapore, infrastructure and modern amenities are in abundance. Moving and working abroad will also set your resume apart from the rest. However the Singapore job market is extremely tough as an entry level/fresh graduate foreigner. There are a few hurdles to overcome to finding employment, so let's go over the basics first.

Job market

Singapore's economy is in good health and its considered the high tech centre of South East Asia. The pharmaceutical and petrochemical industries are prominent and many technology companies have bases, like Sony, Philips and Google. Chances are if you have a degree, you can find suitable work in Singapore. Check this page to see what skills are in demand.

Employment Legislation

In Singapore you need a work pass/visa to work. These are typically applied for by the employer on your behalf, if they wish to hire you. Employers have to fill out paper work including justifying to the government why they should hire you over a local Singaporean. This year the government will put into place plans which will make it even harder for foreigners to find work. What does it mean? That employers will tend to ignore you unless your skills are in demand, or you already have a work pass.

Visas and Work Passes

Tourist Visa: Upon entry into Singapore you will get a tourist visa which entitles you to stay between 30 - 90 days. In most cases you will get a 90 days pass. This visa does not enable you to work.

S Pass: Take the test to see how likely you are to qualify for the pass. In general you need a salary of over $2,200 (SGD) and several years work experience. The number of S Pass employees is capped per organisation. Your company will apply for this pass on behalf of you.

Employment Pass: Take the test to see how likely you are to qualify for the pass. In general you would need a salary for over $3,300 (SGD) to be eligible. Your company will apply for this pass on behalf of you.

Work Holiday Programme: Available if you are a undergraduate or graduate from one of the top 200 universities and are between the ages of 18 to 25. Enables you to work and stay for 6 months.

Job portals and agencies

There are a multitude of websites you can apply for jobs including Monster.com, JobsDB.sg, and JobStreet.sg. I personally found JobStreet to be the best site. Singapore is home to many multinational corporations, so its also worth applying on their own websites.
Job agencies are popular in Singapore and its free to upload your resume on their website.

This covers the basics. Next post will detail some tips to help you find a job in Singapore.