The Most Expensive City in Asia For Foreigners: Singapore
Singapore is a vibrant cityscape, known as an important global and regional hub for a multitude of large companies. An urban metropolis, Singapore’s Central Business District (CBD) is a cluster of gleaming skyscrapers that is a sight to behold especially when the setting sun’s last golden rays reflect off the glass windows of the magnificent skyline.
Having enjoyed years of economic prosperity, Singapore has earned a fantastic reputation for its swift rise in ranks from being a third world country to a first-world country despite lacking in natural resources. Now, with one of the highest per capita GDP in the world, the Little Red Dot’s economy is one of the most competitive and promising, and this is partly owed to rapidly multiplying foreign direct investments and accelerated economic growth.
As the economic boom that Singapore enjoys continues, rising levels of affluence evidently fuel the need for high-quality housing, goods, and services. Yet one of the largest problems the tiny island of Singapore faces now is overcrowding, which exacerbates the hike in prices due to rising demand for accommodation especially. The fast increasing cost of living in Singapore could prove worrisome against high standards of living that the city-state has become used to.
One of Asia’s biggest financial centers, Singapore has seen a huge influx of expatriates which is also attributed to the plethora of multinational organizations existing here. These companies find it a necessary competitive business strategy to send talent to work in Singapore, thus the surge in demand for highly skilled foreign talent. Moreover, the Singaporean government has taken a favorable stance towards globalization and free trade and is the first ASEAN country to sign a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with the European Union.
Foreigners constitute roughly 38% of Singapore’s total population, with numbers set to continue rising in the coming years. With these statistics, it may come as a surprise to you that the Asian Competitiveness Institute (ACI) report deemed Singapore as the most expensive place in Asia for expatriates. Outside of Asia, Paris and Hong Kong are competing with Singapore for the worldwide title, with Zurich, Geneva, and Osaka not far behind.
Expatriates are drawn to stay in Singapore for many reasons. The sunny island has one of the lowest crime rates in the world, due to the country’s emphasis on safety and security. Furthermore, the multi-cultural nature of Singapore translates to a general tolerance of diversity, and locals more often than not treat foreigners with friendliness. But the costs of living here are admittedly rather exorbitant. The rise in housing, education, and transport costs that are not subsidized for foreigners could dampen their motivations of moving here in the long-term.
In light of the appreciation of SGD in recent years, income fluctuations are also to be expected by expatriates being paid in USD. The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) has maintained a gradual and modest appreciation in the Singdollar in view of the stable economic situation that Singapore is currently enjoying. The steady growth of SGD against USD means that foreigners in Singapore being paid in their home currency will be earning less, which is even more undesirable considering the ever-increasing costs of living in Singapore.
But all’s not lost for the expatriates of Singapore. It’s possible that a foreigner loan could be what you need to get help you with your financial situation.
It may be frustratingly difficult to get bank loans as a foreigner, as these types of loans are often heavily dependent on your salary and employment permit type. Therefore, a logical solution would be to approach a licensed money lending company for personal loans specifically catered to work permit holders. These loans can be used for medical emergencies, visa issues, rental payments, and more.
You’ll have to meet certain requirements before qualifying for a personal loan. This includes holding a valid Singapore Work Pass such as an S Pass, E Pass, Entrepreneur Pass, or any other legal work permit declaring you fit to work in Singapore. You should also be at least 21 to 55 years of age and have a full-time employment contract. You may be required to produce documents as proof of your stays here such as a residential tenancy agreement, bank statement, or official company bank letter, which gives the lender the peace of mind to be assured that the loan will be paid back.
Keep in mind that your loan application may not be approved of immediately as foreigner loans necessitate many official procedures such as the submission of official income documents and employment information. These need to be reviewed for approval, and the waiting time varies from company to company. Should you be eligible for the loan, you will be asked to sign on a contract to confirm your agreement of the terms and conditions. It is important for you to be clear about the fine print of your agreement before signing on it.
If you meet the requirements for a foreigner loan, which can be admittedly rather strict, you can even obtain a low-interest rate loan that fits your budget. This can range from 5% to 10% per annum, which might seem slightly high but makes sense given that foreigner loans are typically more risky for the lender. But if you have a good track record in your credit, as well as a reliable employment history to fall back on, you may be able to obtain a lower interest rate.
For whatever reasons you may need a loan, it is highly recommended for you to check out licensed credit companies and avoid unlicensed or illegal lenders completely. Always do your research on the company you are borrowing from before committing to a loan to ensure your protection. In addition to that, beware of scammers misusing the names of reliable credit companies in order to trick borrowers into thinking they are legit. Some solutions are to call the company’s public number listed on their official website to verify their legitimacy or to personally make the trip down to the company’s office when doing important transactions and documentations that involve your money.
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