Joseph, a seasoned art designer who runs his own design company in his home country, went to Singapore as tourist. He stayed in a friend’s house, actively went job hunting and got himself a job offer in less than a month. His employer arranged for his employment pass and he is still happily working with this company for two years now.
Ben, a licensed civil engineer has been practicing his profession for years in Saudi Arabia and Qatar. He tried his luck to finding work in Singapore for some months while staying with a relative but returned to the Arab country after he found himself unsuccessful in job hunting in Singapore.
I am writing the stories of Joseph and Ben (not their real names) to give a reader a real picture of how it is like to enter as a tourist and look for a job as a foreign worker in Singapore.
My reader who recently sent me an email via firstname.lastname@example.org is an architect from Davao City, Philippines and he was asking for some tips in finding work in Singapore. I am no expert but I am sharing some information based on personal experience, casual exchanges from expat friends and readings from the internet.
Here are 5 facts you got to consider when job hunting in Singapore:
FACT #1: Singapore is under 5 million population, has a shortage in labour due to low birth rate and aging population. However, the voting public is not happy with the influx of foreigners in the country and consequently, the government has implemented tighter regulations in employing foreign workers to ensure companies will prioritize local talents. Read related story here.
FACT #2: For many years, there had been shortages in healthcare, manufacturing and construction industries in Singapore but this may change over time. The Ministry of Manpower provides an updated list of strategic skills in demand in Singapore. Be in the know of what skills are currently in demand and update your skills through trainings and continuing education.
FACT #3: There are several types of work passes for professionals, mid-level skilled workers, skilled and semi-skilled workers which are generally dependent on the qualifications and salary range. This regulates the influx of foreign workers and sets employment conditions based on the category.
FACT #4: Most job ad listings on local newspapers and internet would only shortlist Singapore Citizens or Permanent Residents. If you are a professional or a highly skilled worker, invest time and effort on finding a good recruitment firm to scout job prospects on your behalf. Expatsingapore.com provides a good list of headhunters in Singapore.
FACT #5: Working conditions, housing and accommodation, taxes, health and insurance are things you also want to know better before you accept a job offer in Singapore. Internations.org provides an informative guide to would-be expats in Singapore.
As you read earlier, not all stories would happily end like Joseph’s. If you got support from Singapore like relatives or friends who could provide career networks, then go ahead. But if you are not ready to gamble and take chances on looking for job in Singapore on a tourist visa, try applying from home by visiting these websites: