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Relocating to Singapore
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Housing

More than 80% of Singaporeans live in public housing (housing estates with developed neighbourhoods). The rest of the population live in private housing such as apartments, condominiums, detached homes or bungalows, semi-detached houses, terrace houses and black-and-white houses.

When you start looking at properties, do not be surprised if they are not being shown in ‘move-in’ condition. Most landlords will show a property which is in the same condition that previous tenants left it. The landlord expects to clean and repaint it once a new tenant signs a contract. You can also ask for other things to be altered at the property if you think it is necessary.

If renting a property most leases are for two years. It is recommended to include a diplomatic clause,called to another assignment before your lease expires. There is also a clause in most contracts that the tenant will be responsible for repairs/maintenance up to a certain amount however note that many landlords /agentsprefer to use their own ‘handymen’ for repairs and maintenance. Make sure your contract is specific regarding landlord requirements.

There are several housing / property sites available such as Singapore Expats or Property Guru for further information or to assist you in finding a place to live.


Healthcare

Singapore has a well established healthcare system comprising of many private and public (government) hospitals and several specialist clinics catering to varying patient needs. Many doctors practicing in Singapore have trained in Australia, the UK, Canada and the US. Additionally, medical training in Singapore’s hospitals is of a very high standard.

Pharmaceuticals are available from many outlets including supermarket and pharmacists (such as Guardian & Watsons). Patients are able to choose providers within the government or private healthcare delivery system and can walk in for a consultation at any private clinic or any government clinic.

For a listing of some of Singapore's hospitals and their telephone numbers please look at Useful Numbers and Services.


Education

There are many different schooling choices available in Singapore and Singapore offers many high quality international Schools.

All Singaporean State Schools (including kindergartens) follow the same school year which starts on 2 January and consists of four 10-week terms.

There is a one-week holiday after the first and third terms, a four-week holiday after the second term, and a six-week break at the end of the year. Foreign International schools operate to different timetables and should be consulted directly for their term dates.

Pre-School

Even though children are not required to start school before the age of six in Singapore, there are many pre-school centres for children from six months old. Between the ages of three and six years old children will often be enrolled in a kindergarten. There is a varied choice of these in different areas of the island, including foreign/international kindergartens for expat children.


Primary Education

In Singapore children start primary education from the age of six. Singaporean schools only take children from a certain catchment area, which is determined by a set radius around the school campus. Some schools are more popular (mainly due to their exam results) and it is not uncommon for parents to buy or rent a home within that school’s catchment area to secure a place for their children.


Secondary Education

Secondary schools in Singapore are government funded, government aided or independent. Students attend four or five years of secondary education.


Special Needs Education

Special Education encompasses a range of specialized teaching programmes in special education (SPED) schools which cater for children with autism, or intellectual, sensory, physical or multiple disabilities. For more information please visit the National Council of Social Service website or the Ministry of Education website.


International Schooling

There is a choice of international schools in Singapore and most expatriates’ children will attend one of these. Many start at kindergarten age and will go through primary to secondary school. Most of Singapore’s international schools follow the schedule of the “home country” school. The schools in Singapore offering an Australian curriculum are the Australian International School and Avondale Grammar School.


Cars

Buying a car in Singapore is expensive compared with in other countries. Due to the small size of the country the Government tightly monitors the number of vehicles on the road and vehicles attract substantial import and road tax surcharges.

The Registry of Vehicles (ROV) administers the use of a permit system known as the Certificate of Entitlement (COE). Only a certain number of vehicles are permitted for sale each month and each must have a COE. Certificates of Entitlement are allocated through a bidding system with the highest bidders each month being granted a COE. COEs must be updated every ten years. If you are purchasing a new car, the cost of the COE is built into the showroom price. Second-hand vehicles will already have a COE at the time of purchase.

Car Parking

Parking Coupons are used for street parking and open air car parks. The rates for a particular area can vary from S$1 – S$3 per hour. Sign posts indicating ‘Coupon Parking’ will tell you the rates for a particular area.

The parking coupons come in denominations and can be purchased at petrol stations, 7-eleven stores, Post Offices and some Newsagents.


Road Tolls

Electronic Road Pricing (ERP) is a toll for using roads entering the central business district/restricted zone and expressways across the country. Fees are charged via an In-Vehicle Unit (IU) installed in the car and a CashCard (stored value card). The IU automatically deducts the appropriate ERP charge from your CashCard each time your vehicle each time your vehicle passes through a charge point.


Money and Banking

The unit of currency in Singapore is the Singapore Dollar. Singapore uses 5c, 10c, 20c, 50c, $1 coins, while notes come in denominations of $2, $5, $10, $50, $100, $500, $1000. Banks are open from 9.30am – 3pm weekdays and from 9.30am – 11.30am on Saturdays.

Please click here to access a currency converter.


Useful Numbers and Services

Emergency

  • Ambulance: 995
  • Fire: 995
  • Police: 999

Public Hospitals

  • KK Women & Children’s: 65 6293 4044
  • National University (NUH): 65 6779 5555
  • Singapore General (SGH): 65 6222 3322
  • Private Hospitals: East Shore: 65 6344 7588
  • Gleneagles: 65 6473 7222
  • Mt Alvernia: 65 6347 6688
  • Mt Elizabeth: 65 6737 2666
  • Raffles: 65 6311 1111
  • Thomson Medical Centre: 65 6250 2222

Postal Enquiries

  • SingPost Customer Service: 1605

Taxis

  • Comfort Cablink: +65 6552 1111
  • City Cab: +65 6552 1188
  • Sovereign Limousine: +65 6552 2828
  • TIBS Taxi: +65 6555 8888
  • Prestige Limousine: +65 6555 8888
  • Premier Taxi: +65 6476 8880

General Information:

Expat Magazines / Guides

Singapore produces several expat magazines/guides which may be particularly useful for newcomers to Singapore.

Free monthly magazine covering a broad range of information on life in Singapore. Topics include; shopping, restaurants, travel, furniture etc. The Finder is available from central locations frequented by expats including cafes, restaurants, retail outlets and shopping centres.

A referral guide for Singapore. Published monthly. Available for free at many serviced apartments, hotels etc. Alternatively you can subscribe to the magazine or purchase it for S$5.80 from most supermarkets, news agencies and convenience stores.
Where?
This magazine is produced monthly and offers a complete guide on where to go in Singapore. ‘Where’ is available from central locations (serviced apartments, hotels, restaurants, shopping centres, cafes) around Singapore.