Working in Singapore

Thanks to a pro-business government, modern infrastructure and an industrious culture, Singapore offers an ideal work environment for those driven to rise to the top of their careers.

A wealth of opportunity abounds for experienced professionals in both rising and established industries in Singapore, including biomedical sciences, R&D, healthcare, infocomm technology, and financial services.

Working Conditions

Most companies in Singapore operate on a five-day work week, based on the legal standard of 44 hours a week. Vacation leave varies from seven to 14 days, usually increasing with length of service and seniority. Contracts often include two to three weeks of paid sick leave and hospitalisation leave.

Salaries are very competitive in Singapore and you may enjoy additional perks such as housing, transport and education allowances, as well as stock options. It is a common practice for companies to offer a fixed bonus at the end of the year, equivalent to one month’s salary. In addition, variable bonuses are sometimes declared, depending on the company and individual’s performance.

Many companies provide their employees with other incentives such as recreational facilities and holiday subsidies.

One of the main attractions for global talent is Singapore’s personal income tax rates, which are among the lowest in the world. If you have been working in Singapore for at least 183 days in a calendar year, you are considered a tax resident and will be taxed on all income that is incidental to employment in Singapore. Non-residents, who are in Singapore for less than 183 days a year, will be taxed only on income earned in Singapore. To find out more information and tax rates, visit the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore website.

Professional Resources

The Singapore International Chamber of Commerce is an excellent information bank on industries and employment trends. The other international chambers of commerce in Singapore, which represent countries such as the US, Germany, Japan and Spain, also offer professional resources and assistance.

For further networking, career improvement opportunities and finding jobs in Singapore, refer to the Career Development section.

There are 84 trade unions and professional organisations which promote industrial relations between companies and workers. Two major entities are the Singapore National Employers’ Federation and the Singapore Labour Foundation.

Application Procedures

Only holders of a valid Employment Pass may work in Singapore. To apply for an Employment Pass, a local sponsor who is usually the employer is required. For eligibility and details on the Employment Pass, please visit the Ministry of Manpower website.

To check if you qualify for an Employment Pass, please use the Self-Assessment Tool.

Another pass, the Personalised Employment Pass, allows a foreigner to stay on in Singapore for six months, even after he decides to leave his company to seek new employment. The pass is granted on the strength of an EP holder's individual merits.