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Discover Singapore

Prepare for expat living with our handy guides to life, work and managing your money in Singapore.

Want to move to Singapore?

Expats are attracted to Singapore by the promise of high salaries, lavish lifestyles and luxury homes, and they’re rarely disappointed. Despite being relatively young, Singapore has already experienced significant changes in its lifetime. Singapore has quickly developed a unique hybrid culture that makes it a favourite among expats. Singapore's identity is built on its multiculturalism and Singaporeans are proud to attract people from around the world. This 'Singapore Spirit' has a significant impact on new arrivals who feel welcomed with open arms into their new community, which is a great help with the practicalities of daily living, such as managing your money. It's unsurprising, then, that the country is the best destination for expats moving with children.

With goods and services flowing in and out of Singapore, the country is one of Asia's key trade hubs and a major contributor to the thriving regional economy. Experienced expats are sought for their knowledge and expertise and are rewarded with impressive salary increases and promotions.

While the year-round humidity can take some getting used to, being located in the heart of Southeast Asia is ideal for travel – you can easily escape for the weekend to one of the many idyllic beaches and islands in the region.

Working in Singapore

Situated at a global crossroads, Singapore is a vibrant hub for trades and businesses, advancing rapidly despite its small size and scarcity of natural resources. Renowned for its bustling ports and substantial oil refineries, it employs a relationship-centric approach towards business, embracing diversity in its operations. 

Foreign businesses find Singapore welcoming, with its government actively encouraging skilled expats to settle. English is the preferred business language, with operations typically running from Monday to Friday, between 09:00 and 18:00. 

Business etiquette in Singapore is highly nuanced. Handshakes, respectful addressing of associates, and a balanced eye-contact are commonplace. When it comes to gift-giving, tread lightly as perceptions vary between Singapore's Chinese, Malay, and Indian communities. 

While expat salaries, particularly in finance and marketing, are high, so are accommodation costs. Nevertheless, a comfortable lifestyle is achievable in Singapore.

Explore life in Singapore

What's on your moving abroad checklist? We break down the essentials including salaries, education and accommodation in the UK to help you prepare.

Singapore is a hotspot for expats, thanks to its well-developed infrastructure and modern amenities. The city is one of the world's most expensive, yet many expats report having more disposable income than in their home countries.

Should you get an offshore bank account?

An offshore account can be useful for expats looking to keep some money in a central location, rather than one specific country or region. 

Our Expat Bank Account is an offshore account that comes with a range of benefits, including:

  • A Global Money Account - Make quick and easy payments across borders.
  • Relationship manager - Someone to help you and your family manage your money.
  • Online and on mobile - Manage your banking, FX and investments wherever, whenever.

You can set your account up in USD, EUR or GBP and you can hold it alongside accounts in the country you're leaving or the one you're moving to.

Top tips

Here's what expats have told us about living in Singapore.

It’s financially good, the quality of life is good, education for children is excellent, and there are more travel opportunities than we would have had in home country. As a family we all now have a global view and have experienced different cultures through living it.
Income in Singapore may seem to be very high with very low tax rate, but beware house rental is getting too expensive, and tighter measures have made it harder for foreigners to buy property.
Negotiate a good package including health insurance, education fees for your children and an accommodation allowance as all of these can be pretty costly.

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Read our 10-step guide to moving abroad to make sure you've got everything covered.

Additional information

    All Expat Explorer survey data, including the tips in quotation marks, is provided by HSBC.

    All other content is provided by, Globe Media Ltd and was last updated in July 2023. HSBC accepts no responsibility for the accuracy of this information.

    This information is purely for orientation and to inspire further research, it does not constitute advice and no liability is accepted to recipients acting independently on its contents. The views expressed are subject to change.

    Always remember to ensure you're aware of and comply with any laws in your host country or country of origin that apply to gift giving and bribery.

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