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Opinion: 10 reasons not to move to Singapore

Tatiana Sheremetieva, Director and founder of RBSU:
I talk all the time about how great Singapore is for life and for business, and not to seem like an embellishment of reality, today I also want to tell you about the disadvantages of living in Singapore.
High cost of living
Singapore is regularly ranked among the most expensive countries and cities to live in, and it is definitely not a cheap country, and even less so for foreigners. This is especially true for the purchase of housing and cars, education and medicine. For example, buying a very small apartment in a private residence will cost you 450 thousand U.S. dollars (we are talking about a very modest version). A more spacious apartment will cost from 1 million U.S. dollars. The cheapest car of the little-known car manufacturer will cost at least 60 thousand U.S. dollars, and more prestigious new cars made in Europe will cost you from 160 thousand U.S. dollars.

A simple example - if a salary of 7.500 American dollars in Russia, Ukraine or Kazakhstan is an excellent salary in Singapore, if you are an expat with a family and two children of school age - this money will be barely enough to make it to the end of the month. However, and salaries here on average are higher than in most other countries in the world.

By the way, if you're interested in learning more about prices in Singapore, I recorded an in-depth video on the cost of living in Singapore for you - it contains the most detailed information on the cost of housing, transportation, food and education in Singapore.

Small Size.
Although Singapore consists of 65 islands, the main island is only 728.3 tenths of a kilometer in size. This means that Singapore can be driven from one end to the other in about 1 hour by car. The size of the country under normal circumstances, by which I mean open borders and freedom to travel to neighboring countries like Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, the Philippines and others is not stressful at all, but under pandemic conditions, when borders were closed, all locals felt the inconvenience of not being able to go anywhere very much. Some even began to develop claustrophobia. However, in the small size, there are pluses - everything is very compact and you can do everything in a day.

The difficulty of obtaining long-term visas / permanent residency and citizenship.
Let's be honest - Singapore is not a country for everyone. Singapore is not expecting you all with open arms. That is, if you want to come here as a tourist, you are welcome (in guilt-free times), but things are much more complicated with immigration. Singapore is a small country and does not have the capacity to accommodate millions of eager immigrants from other countries, and therefore is very selective in the issuance of long-term visas, and especially permanent residency and citizenship. Keep in mind that despite the high cost of housing, there is no residency program in Singapore through home purchase.

Low-skilled personnel from Russia, Ukraine, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan are not needed here - these niches have long been densely occupied by people from India, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Burma and the Philippines. Singapore needs highly educated or wealthy foreigners, and the best option is highly educated rich foreigners who can bring knowledge, connections, experience and investment to the country. Realistically speaking, if you don't have the money, education, unique skills that drastically differentiate you from others and relatives in Singapore, your chances of moving to Singapore are not very high.

Such fastidiousness of Singapore in its migration policy and allowed it to become one of the safest and most innovative cities in the world, and the average level of foreigners who live in Singapore on average is much higher than in any other country in the world. If you're interested in learning more about who can move to Singapore and how - here I detail all the options and programs available.

The average annual temperature in Singapore is 26-28 degrees all year round, and the lowest temperature on record was recorded in 1934 - as much as +19.4 degrees Celsius. In my article 10 reasons why Singapore is the best country to live in, I named climate as one of the main advantages. So why am I now calling the climate a minus? Personally, for me, Singapore's climate is a gift of fate because I hate cold and winter, but I know that for some people, living in constant summer is a challenge.

Singapore is hot and humid all year round. But there are no sudden drops in temperature, and the thermometer almost never shows above 33 degrees Celsius. In addition, the constant heat and frequent rains allow Singapore to remain stunningly green and blooming throughout the year.
If you are a passionate pet lover, I mean cats and dogs, Singapore is probably not for you. Having and keeping pets here is not only problematic but also expensive. If you want to bring your pet here, you'll need to get a specialized license to import and own a dog and make sure that the type of housing in which you will be living allows you to have this type of pet. You will also need to have mandatory vaccinations, quarantine the animal for 10-30 days, and many other nuances. Also keep in mind that a number of breeds of dogs are prohibited to bring into Singapore - for example, all varieties of pit bulls, Staffordshire terriers, American bulldogs, Neopolitan Mastiffs, Akitas, etc.

You can bring a dog or cat from Australia: Singapore has no such strict quarantine with Australia. But that, too, is not easy and not cheap. You can buy an animal in Singapore, but there are also many restrictions, and prices for a kitty or a dog are easily 5,000 U.S. dollars.

Doing a good deed and taking an animal from a shelter isn't easy either - the cattery needs to prove that your home is ready to receive the animal, such as that you've already installed bars on the windows and balconies.

Moreover, if you're renting, be aware that landlords don't welcome pets and there are very strict rules on where and how you can walk animals.

Strict rules and fines
I think many people have heard that Singapore is a country of fines and it's true, there are very strict rules about smoking, eating on public transport, chewing gum and many other things. Medical masks are a good example: since the beginning of the coronavirus epidemic, while Singapore has had minimal cases of infection compared to other countries - the entire population wears masks indoors and outdoors, and clearly follows all government instructions.

But you live in a clean and safe country where order prevails and all laws are strictly enforced.

A different culture
Singapore is the most Europeanized country in Asia. There is a mixture of 4 main cultures - Chinese, Indian, Malay and European (the main influence was the British). But no matter how Europeanized Singapore was, it was and still is Asia with its own special culture, traditions and ways of life, which are very different from what we are used to. This culture is not worse or better, but it is different. If you want to live here, you need to understand and accept the local culture. But you will have the opportunity to see the world through completely different eyes.

Difficulties with finding a job
From my experience and years of observation, Russian-speaking employees are not in high demand in Singapore. The reason is simple - the lack of a significant market for Russian-speaking clients in both business and tourism sectors. Singapore's main business partners are China, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Indonesia, USA and Japan. Accordingly, priority is given either to natives of these countries, or those who are fluent in English, Chinese, Malay Tamil and other languages and their dialects common here. Russian language skills, Russian education and work experience in Russia or CIS countries are in little demand here, and if such a need arises, there are over 8,000 citizens of Russia, Kazakhstan, Ukraine and other CIS countries permanently residing in Singapore, who will be given priority in recruitment.

Is Singapore a paradise? Probably not. To be honest, I personally do not know any country that can be called a paradise. Singapore is expensive, hot, hard to get citizenship and has strict rules. But if you get here and even more so if you get a residence permit or citizenship - it's like an admission to a closed elite club. You live in an eternal summer, surrounded by successful and educated people, in a safe country with clear laws. And whether it suits you or not depends on your capabilities and priorities.