Singapore: The gateway to Asia

28th June 2012

Singapore, the second most densely populated country in the world, continues to belie its relatively small size and stand strong as an economic gateway to Asia.

It has remained a strong economic powerhouse throughout the global recession with a large part of its fiscal success being the variety of businesses and industries that occupy the small island.

Singapore's business community consists of thousands of different companies ranging from small to medium-sized enterprises right up to huge multinationals.

Singapore has become a real hub in terms of connecting to South East Asia and parts of the Middle East and when you look at the tax and employment advantages available, you can see why it's continued to stay strong.

Not only do you have all the job opportunities made available from such companies and their growth but you have competitive wage structures in place as well as a generous tax system too.

Currently, both taxes and wages are well in favour of employees and mean that you don't have to hand over nearly as much as in other countries while the international relocation packages offered by firms are equally as strong.

Many firms in Singapore will not only pay for your flight and travel for your immediate family but also the costs of international shipping, a serviced apartment and assistance with getting set up.

What's more, a number of firms also offer an annual flight home.

In terms of being legally able to work in Singapore, those moving overseas will need an Employment Pass first. This could pose problems if you don't already have a job tied down but if you do, most companies will sponsor your request readily.

When it comes to a cost of living, Singapore's is relatively low when compared to other Asian countries such as Hong Kong or Japan although it stands above nearby Asian cities.

All in all, Singapore's business sentiment is clearly a friendly one as that is where most of its success has come from. It doesn't want to make attracting business overly difficult as this would be self-damaging.

When it comes to actually living in Singapore, the variety that it possesses in genres such as religion, cuisine and tradition make it a fascinating place to live.

The city-state includes a real melting pot of cuisines, which is perhaps not surprising given that it is geographically in Asia with plenty of other nationalities also having moved from overseas.

Singapore's official tourist board says that its "appeal is as varied as its visitors are diverse".

"There is the country's rich ethnic mix, its incredible post-independence transformation, its stunning architecture, its vibrant arts scene, its amazing shopping and its cuisine, which is so rich and diversified you could spend a lifetime exploring it on its own."

There are plenty of things to do and see once you have settled into Singapore.

These range from beaches that occupy the island right through to a number of different temples as well as nature and wildlife reserves too that offer fun for all the family.

That's without taking into account the two biggest pastimes indulged in by the natives. These, of course, being shopping and eating.

Singapore contains scores of restaurants ranging from upmarket to honest and simple although the vast majority will be delicious and the best way to taste Asian cuisine.

Shopping too is a mainstay of many Singaporeans with huge malls and complexes stocking everything from clothes to the latest electricals and gadgets.

It all means that you will never be short of things to do, even on such a relatively small island, while you're out of the office and the kids are out of school.

On the subject of learning, Singapore has an enviable reputation for higher education in Asia with a recent U21 survey placing Singapore high up the list based on how good areas are at providing higher education.

Singapore finished 11th worldwide out of 48 countries and cities, beating Hong Kong into 18th place and Japan, Taiwan, South Korea and Malaysia in 20th, 21st, 22nd and 36th place respectively.

This will make good reading for families with children moving to Singapore with Tan Eng Chye, deputy president and provost at the National University of Singapore saying it represents the quality of education available.

He told the Jakarta Post: "This is a strong endorsement of the high quality of Singapore's unique brand of education."

Overall, a move to Singapore and the melting pot nature of its make-up could prove to be a really promising one for all the family.

There are the strong employment and business chances for mum and dad as well as lots of things to do and great education potential available to younger members of the family.

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