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F.A.Q.: Frequently Asked Questions - Employment PDF Print E-mail
Frequently Asked Questions - Employment

Question: I am a US citizen considering an expatriate assignment in Singapore. How do I go about getting my wife employment?

Answer: There is a place called the CRCE in the American Club that helps place trailing spouses.  The AWA web site may have some good resource info for you -

Question : How long can I continue employment in Singapore?

Answer: As long as you are gainfully employed. You can apply for Permanent Residence if you wish to stay on permanently in Singapore.

Question : Can you suggest some jobsites where I can start my job search in Singapore ?

Answer: Certainly.  The following list should be a relatively comprehensive one.

Question : What's the protocol involved in changing an EP? I'm leaving one company and then am supposed to start with another company 3 weeks later -- but perhaps this isn't enough time in between? Is it right that I cannot apply a new EP until after I have left the first company? Do I personally have to cancel the EP or will my existing company do this for me and how soon after I have cancelled the EP can the new company re-apply?

Answer: You must cancel your current EP to be allowed to apply for a new one.To cancel the EP, you must have a letter from your current company with their letterhead, and signed by them saying you want to cancel the current EP. Then you can apply for a temporary EP the same day when you cancel the EP. You may subsequently apply for a new EP to enable you to work in the new company.By the way, you are required to take a medical test, which will include a blood test for HIV once the in-principle EP has been issued. The medical exam must take place within 1 month of your receiving the approval letter for the EP. Once you pass the medical examination, the EP is issued.

Question : I am moving to Singapore to begin employment. I have been told that I should opt for Central Provident Fund (CPF) contributions, but I would like opinions from other expats regarding this. Do any of you have money taken out for CPF, and is it worth it?

Answer: As an EP holder you can voluntarily make CPF contributions but your employer is under no obligation to make contributions although you could negotiate with them to do so in your contract I guess. If you get PR both you are your employer must contribute. However the company might not choose to pay you as big a basic salary and you may have to re-negotiate your terms if you get PR. If you plan to stay in Singapore for the long term and want to buy your own flat you definitely want to be in the CPF system as money paid into the fund may be used to pay for the purchase and mortgage payments on the flat. A (2) : Early on, until you get your Employment Pass (EP)- there is little reason to contribute to CPF unless you just want the Singapore government to hold on to your money in the fund. After 6 months, you can apply for Permanent Residency (PR). Once that happens, you and your employer are then require to contribute as follows: 1st year: You: 5%, Employer 3% (may go to 5%) 2nd year: You: 15%, Employer 9%* 3rd year: You: 20%, Employer 12%* The employer amount can change. It used to also be 20%, but because of the Asian crisis, the government is giving them (the employer) a break. The advantage of the CPF scheme is that you get additional money from your company added to this fund. You can also "tap into the fund" to get mortgage amounts on buying an apartment. The disadvantage is if you need the cash you cannot use it as it is illiquid. You cannot withdraw the money from the fund unless you have reached the retirement age, or if you do not have plans to return to Singapore to work in the future. For more information - you can check out the following site :
The other piece that comes with the PR is that you can also leave one job - and not get kicked out of the country. This has its advantages when you want to consider moving to another job - and is advised for folks in your situation (following love!) which has its risks! Welcome to Singapore.

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