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5 reasons why Australia and Singapore are closer than you think

Posted By AustCham Singapore, Tuesday, 12 August 2014
Australians and Singaporeans enjoy a thriving network of cross-border investments and joint collaborations - here's 5 reasons why...

1. Close Government ties

The bilateral relationship with Singapore is one of Australia's closest and most comprehensive in Southeast Asia.  Ministers for Defence, Trade and Foreign Affairs from both countries will be meeting this month for the eighth edition of the Singapore-Australia Joint Ministerial Committee (SAJMC).

2. School buddies
Over 100,000 Singaporeans are alumni of Australian universities, including the President Tony Tan.  Singapore is a participant in the pilot phase of the New Colombo Plan, a signature initiative of the Australian Government which aims to lift knowledge of the Indo-Pacific in Australia and strengthen people-to-people and institutional relationships, through study and internships undertaken by Australian undergraduate students in the region.

3. Travel Mates
In 2013, there were 385,300 visitors to Australia from Singapore, an increase of 12.1 per cent on the previous year. Last year more people visited Australia from Singapore than any other country in Southeast Asia and Singaporeans can now use the SmartGate self-processing facilities at Australia's eight major airports.

4. Business Partners
The Singapore-Australia Free Trade Agreement (SAFTA), which came into force on 28 July 2003, has contributed to a strong bilateral economic partnership. Singapore is Australia's largest trade and investment partner in ASEAN and our fifth largest trading partner overall.  Singapore was ranked fourth overall as a source of foreign investment in Australia.

5. Defence Allies
Singapore and Australia have been partners in the Five Power Defence Arrangements since 1971 which also includes Malaysia, New Zealand and United Kingdom. The Singapore Armed Forces have access to Australian training areas, including the Shoalwater Bay Training Area in Queensland.

Keep connected with Australian Business in Singapore, take a look at the benefits of membership to the chamber and email us if you any questions.

Tags:  Australia  Bilateral relationships  colombo plan  defence  education  SIngapore  singapore and australia relationship 

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Know the rules: Employing/training foreign students in Singapore

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Students of foreign nationality are not permitted to work in Singapore unless they are granted Work Pass exemption under an Employment of Foreign Manpower (Work Pass Exemptions) Notification. This includes work during school/university terms and during holiday periods.

Foreign students and trainees coming to Singapore under training attachment programs can be eligible for the Training Employment Pass, Training Work Permit or Work Holiday Programme. The Singapore Government warns that foreign students will be prosecuted under the Employment of Foreign Manpower Act (EFMA) if they are found working in Singapore without a valid work pass.

Training Employment Pass

Foreigners undergoing practical training attachments for professional, managerial, executive or specialist jobs in Singapore should apply for a Training Employment Pass (TEP).

The following foreigners may be eligible for the TEP: students whose training attachment in Singapore is part of an undergraduate degree from an acceptable institution, or who are earning a fixed monthly salary of at least S$3000; and trainees from foreign offices or subsidiaries who are earning a fixed monthly salary of at least S$3000.

Applicants must not have previously held a TEP for similar training. The Training Employment Pass is valid for up to three months and is non-renewable.

Training Work Permit

The Training Work Permit (TWP) allows unskilled or semi-skilled foreign trainees undergoing practical training in Singapore to work for up to six months.

An employer can apply for a TWP for semi- skilled or unskilled employees from related overseas companies to undergo training in Singapore, or for foreign students studying in educational institutions in Singapore.

Employers are permitted to hire TWP holders at 5% of their total workforce or 15 trainees, whichever is lower. Their total workforce includes locals, S Pass holders and Work Permit holders only. This means that 5% of your total workforce can be TWP holders. This is an additional 5% over and above your company’s Dependency Ratio Ceiling for foreign workers.

The TWP is valid for up to six months.

Work Holiday Programme

The Work Holiday Programme (WHP) allows foreign university students and recent graduates, aged between 18 and 25 years, to come to Singapore to live and work for up to six months.

The WHP applies to university undergraduates and graduates of all nationalities studying in selected universities in eight countries/territories: Australia, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States of America. In addition, the universities must be ranked among the top 200 in any of the following international rankings within the past five years: Quacquarelli Symonds World University Rankings, Shanghai Jiao Tong University’s Academic Ranking of World Universities or Times Higher Education World University Rankings.

Undergraduates must be resident and full-time students of the university for at least three months prior to the submission of the WHP application; graduates must be former resident and full-time students of the university.

The WHP has a capacity for 2000 applicants at any one point in time. Applicants must not hold a WHP within 12 months from the submission of the application. Successful applicants who have obtained the WHP are allowed to live and work in Singapore for up to six months and are not restricted to only specific types of work. However, existing licensing, registration or accreditation requirements (e.g. medicine or law) will apply.

For further information on eligibility, conditions and the application process for work or training passes for foreign students and trainees contact the Ministry of Manpower or visit its website at

For more stories about 'The Singapore Story', click here 

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Tags:  Education  Employment of Foreign Manpower 

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Top tips Choosing a school in Singapore

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, 9 October 2013

One of the most important decisions you will make as a parent is deciding which school to enrol your child in. The right school can be pivotal for a child’s academic and social development. Staff of Stamford American International School meet families in the process of making this important decision on a daily basis and, while the answer depends on each family’s differing priorities and needs, there are some key areas to consider when choosing a school.

Curriculum: while it may seem natural to lean towards the curriculum of your national identity, you should also explore different curricula that might better suit your child’s learning styles, such as the interactive International Baccalaureate (IB) program.

Foreign language: foreign language development is increasingly important. Consider the languages on offer and the frequency and structure of the language program.

Location: choose a school that is central, easily accessible or convenient to your home or workplace. While Singapore is small, you don’t want to add unnecessary stress to daily travel. Consider options for transport provided by the school, such as a door-to- door bus service, as well as the convenience of public or personal transport.

Campus: in addition to location, the quality and maintenance of campus facilities are important considerations. Buildings can age quickly in the tropics. Another key factor is the length of a school’s lease as the Singapore Government can rezone an area, potentially causing a disruptive move for students or a decline in campus standards.

Class size and teacher quality: class size and student:teacher ratios are important, particularly for younger students; however, good ratios don’t always ensure teacher quality. It’s wise to also consider a school’s focus on recruitment, training and professional development of its teaching faculty.

Broad exposure: strong academic programs are important, especially for older students, but a school should have a balanced program beyond that. Investigate opportunities such as specialty instruction in the arts, dance, drama, music, physical education and technology; either within the required curriculum or as after school activities. School can be a great place for students to explore and develop interests.

Parent involvement: some parents love to be active in the school community and others do not, or simply do not have the time. Understanding your preference and the parent culture at each school is important toget a sense for whether it’s the right fit for your child, your family and you.

Eve Rogove
Director of Admissions and Marketing
Stamford American International School

For more stories about 'The Singapore Story', click here 

To learn about the benefits of membership to AustCham, click here

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Tags:  Education  SAIS  Singapore 

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The impacts of multilingualism

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, 9 October 2013


"Speaking multiple languages, it seems, makes you better at other languages, and also, potentially, more creative and better at mathematics, science or history."

The Australian Government’s Australia in the Asian Century white paper sets out plans for the languages component of the Australian Curriculum to enable all Australian students to learn a language other than English. A curriculum for Chinese (Mandarin) is one of the first in development. Frazer Cairns, Head of Dover Campus at UWC South East Asia, discusses the latest research into multilingual learning for children, especially those at international schools.


While multilingual education dates back to ancient times, until recently multilingualism has been seen by many education researchers as an exceptional, even hazardous, phenomenon.

Trying to learn a subject using a language other than that spoken at home (for example, learning science in Danish rather than English) was cited as the root of a number of difficulties, including cognitive overload, semi-lingualism and language confusion. It was thought that using more than one language to learn was, essentially, bad for you.

This point of view has profound implications for international schools, where a potentially large proportion of the community is learning through a language other than their home language.

Thankfully, educational research now sees multilingualism as a potential asset, providing learners with a strategic, significant advantage. Speakers of multiple languages learn further languages more easily and seem to show a better understanding of the nature of linguistic structures.

According to Laurent Gajo, a professor at the University of Geneva, empirical research shows that multilinguals ‘know things’ that transcend the purely linguistic level. In Gajo’s view of learning, the different languages interact and combine to generate an original, individual, complex competence on which the user may draw, rather than simply welding together two monolingual halves. Speaking multiple languages, it seems, makes you better at other languages, and also, potentially, more creative and better at mathematics, science or history.

Learning while using a language other than your home language is not easy nor will it yield instant results. Though many children pick up basic language competencies relatively quickly, the more specific language demanded in an educational setting takes longer to acquire. Indeed, most students will initially see a drop in their overall performance as they try to adjust. Much also depends on personal factors, such as motivation, the child’s communicative needs and levels of anxiety. However, in the medium term, the drop is usually compensated for, and a multilingual child regains their age- appropriate progress – and often surpasses their monolingual peers.

Going back to the concerned parent: should you, then, speak to your child in, say, Mandarin at home if it is not their mother language? The research is clear: no. For a child learning in a second language it is vital to maintain their mother tongue. Skills acquired in the first language can be transferred to the second language so, for example, if your child has developed good reading skills in English or French, she is likely to be able to apply these skills when reading Korean. Other transferable reading skills are the ability to guess the meaning of unfamiliar words from context and being able to plan a piece of writing or develop an argument in a persuasive essay.

Educational research has generated its fair share of false conclusions—playing Bach to your children does not necessarily make them better at maths, despite the claims made in some studies. The factors that generate the positive consequences of multilingualism are not yet fully understood, and much depends on personal factors. What is clear is the importance of the strategic and transferable skills that multilingualism can bring to children as they face a complex and rapidly changing world.


Frazer Cairns
Head of Dover Campus at UWC South East Asia

For more stories about 'The Singapore Story', click here 

To learn about the benefits of membership to AustCham, click here

To check out our coming events, click here

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Tags:  Education  multilingual  Singapore  southern star  United World College 

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