A little about Singapore…
Singapore was founded in 1819 by a British politician named Stamford Raffles and began as a port for the British East Asian Development Company. After a long time as a British colony, Singapore finally became independent in 1965 and since then it has enjoyed a rapid rise from being a third world country to one of the most prosperous economies in the world. Its population lies at around 5.9 million people, fitted into around 720 square kilometres - this makes it the third most densely populated state in the world behind Monaco and Macau.
Now that you know a bit more about the country, let’s give you a run through on how their healthcare system works.
Don’t forget to flush!In Singapore it is actually a crime to not flush a public toilet. If you are caught, you can expect to pay a fine of around S$150 (around US$110).
Singing in the rainIf you are caught singing or even uttering a song that has any obscenities in a public place, you can face imprisonment of up to three months as well as a fine - regardless of quality!
Careful with your hotspot!If you accidentally or otherwise use another person’s Wi-Fi network, under Singaporean law you are deemed as to be hacking and as such, face a fine of up to S$10,000, as well as a three years trip to jail.
The Healthcare System
The healthcare system in Singapore is widely considered to be one of, if not the best healthcare system in the world. It regularly tops various Health indexes and offers both public and private health services.
It is important to note that if you arrive in Singapore with a work VISA, you will NOT be entitled to public health services. Therefore, it is very important that you negotiate a private health insurance scheme into your contract with your new employer - don’t forget to insure your family under the same policy as well. On account of health services in Singapore being very expensive, it is important to check the differences between paying for the insurance yourself and getting it through your employer (with the same insurance company), to see if there are substantial benefits. Furthermore, you need to check the included insurance coverage, as even a small trip to the emergency room can cost several thousand dollars. With this is mind, if your company insurance puts a cap on low coverage, a supplementary private insurance exists called ‘TopUp’. One more thing to keep in mind is that most insurance companies do not cover pregnancies and childbirth in the contract. If you intend to have this clause, most of these companies require a waiting period of 10-24 months.
Only citizens and holders of permanent resident status are eligible for the heavily state-subsidized public health insurance. There are three layers to this subsidy: The first level is the government subsidizing an enormous 80% of all clinic and hospital expenses. They then have a scheme called ‘Medisave’, which is a private savings account for each individual, paid in part by both the employer and the employee. These combine to a total of 7-9.5% of their salary and is put towards subsidizing the other 20% of clinic / hospital costs. The third level is for those with a low income, chronic disease or disability struggling to pay this last 20%. This group can apply for further subsidies from the government, pending their decision.
What type of VISA do I need?
We hope that helps you decide on which type of insurance you would like to go for, but now let’s explore which VISA option best suits your needs. For more VISA information, please visit the Singapore Ministry of Labour website: https://www.mom.gov.sg/passes-and-permits
EP - Employment Pass
To be eligible for this visa you must fit a few criteria, these include: having an official job offer in Singapore; working in a managerial, executive or specialized role; earning a fixed monthly salary of at least S$3,600; ‘acceptable qualifications’, these can be university degrees or various professional qualifications. Your employer will have to apply on your behalf and this pass is valid for up to 2 years and can be renewed.
If you are an entrepreneur or investor interested in starting a business in Singapore, then this is the VISA for you. You can submit the application independently and the initial VISA is valid for up to 1 year, unless you wish to renew it.
PEP - Personalised Employment Pass
This VISA enables you to have more flexibility than the EP pass. Once in Singapore, you can change employers and professions, they even allow you to be unemployed for up to 6 months. You can apply for this VISA even if you are already working in Singapore on an EP pass as long as you earn at least S$12,000 a month. Or alternatively, if you are in a senior position in a business outside of Singapore earning at least S$18,000 a month. This VISA is valid for 3 years and cannot be extended.
Permanent Resident Status
If you already have a work VISA in Singapore, you can apply for a permanent resident status (it is recommended to wait 1-2 years before applying). There are many criteria that you must fulfill in order for your application to be considered including (but not limited to): age, citizenship, marital status, profession and wages, education and economic affinity (e.g assets or companies in Singapore). The process can take more than 6 months to get an answer and it is important to realize that rejection is given without reason and thus there is no way to know the basis on which an application is rejected or accepted.