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Goodbye Singapore - Here's Why Expats Are Starting to Leave Singapore!

Goodbye Singapore - Here's Why Expats Are Starting to Leave Singapore!

Singapore is often seen as an attractive location to live in due to its low crime rates, efficient transportation system, modern facilities, and well-integrated infrastructure. In January, ECA International released an article noting that Singapore remains the top choice in Asia for expatriates for the 10th consecutive year. The article emphasizes that low crime rates and a stable socio-political situation contribute to Singapore's appeal for expatriates.

However, one major concern for both locals and expatriates alike is the high cost of living in Singapore. While inflation in Singapore is generally under control, prices remain at levels higher than in pre-pandemic times, as reported by The Straits Times. Projections indicate that prices are expected to remain high in 2024.

Currently, everything feels very expensive, from consumer products to transportation and food. Local residents receive subsidies in crucial sectors, while the government provides assistance in the form of cash, vouchers, and discounts to alleviate the burden of living costs. However, expatriates experience a different situation, feeling the impact of high living costs without similar support.

Facing Financial Challenges: Expatriates Amidst High Cost of Living

Some expatriates also observe that the cost of living in Singapore is increasing. In fact, some have already decided to leave Singapore or are in the process of doing so. Industry experts also present data supporting the increased dissatisfaction among expatriates regarding the surge in costs in Singapore.

One major issue is the high cost of housing. In 2022, a report from CNA indicated that rental prices reached record highs, causing some individuals to spend up to 70% more on their rent. This makes it challenging for expatriates in Singapore to set aside enough income after meeting the demands of high living expenses. Apart from rent, they also face utility bills, which can reach around S$150 per month.

Limited resources in Singapore contribute to the increase in monthly utility bills, making them relatively higher than the average. This also comes as a surprise to Western migrants moving to Singapore, especially when they discover that their bills are significantly higher during the summer compared to other seasons.

Diverse Regions, Diverse Prices

Lifestyles in Singapore vary from one region to another. Some areas are shopping districts, while others serve as financial districts.

Central Singapore is known for its high rental prices, especially because it houses the city's shopping center and financial hub. On the other hand, the Northern and Eastern regions of Singapore have more affordable rental prices.

Expatriates Face Challenges Owning Cars in Singapore

Unlike many other countries, Singapore does not provide ease for expatriates to own cars. This is due to the very high costs, including additional fees above the market value of the car. Taxes and other fees make it more expensive, not to mention additional requirements such as ownership certificates that need to be fulfilled.

The Other Side

However, many studies still show that Singapore remains a top choice for expatriates looking to relocate. One such study was conducted by the language learning platform Preply in 2024. The study found that the cost of living in the country is quite high, averaging around S$4,355 per month. Preply describes Singapore as an "extremely ideal choice" for expatriates due to factors such as cleanliness and safety.

On the other hand, Singapore is also known for having the best healthcare system in Asia. The World Health Organization has ranked the country's healthcare system as the sixth best in the world.

Although employers in Singapore are not required to provide health insurance to Singaporean employees due to the lack of a government mandate, there's no need to worry. Even without insurance, healthcare costs are not prohibitive.

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