Living and working in Singapore

Last updated on 5 December 2023

Since the end of COVID-19 restrictions worldwide, Singapore has once again become an attractive place for foreigners to live and work. According to statistics from the Ministry of Manpower (MOM), Singapore hosts nearly 1.5 million foreign workers – about 28 per cent of its 5.5 million population. The country’s most attractive features are its safe and clean living environment, openness to foreigners, and stable business and legal environment.

While Singapore welcomes foreign workers, requirements must be fulfilled before granting them work passes to work here. Foreigners looking for work opportunities in Singapore should familiarise themselves with these requirements and the working culture in Singapore.

Work passes

MOM issues a variety of work passes according to the candidates’ education levels, skill levels, salaries and work experience. There is a wide range of companies providing immigration services in Singapore to foreigners and companies looking to apply for work passes to work in Singapore. Some work pass holders are even allowed to bring their family with them to Singapore.

For more information about work passes, click here.


There are various housing options for foreigners working in Singapore, such as public flats and private residential properties. There are restrictions on who can rent public housing (HDB flats). For the most part, Employment Pass holders, Entrepass holders, Personalised Employment Pass holders, and S Pass holders are allowed to rent rooms in or the entire HDB flats. Specific categories of work permit holders are subject to further restrictions on renting HDB flats.

There are no restrictions on the type of foreign workers allowed to rent private residential properties such as condominiums in Singapore. However, there are limits to the number of occupants and tenants in all types of properties. Check with a local property agent to find out the most updated rules.

Working culture in Singapore

Singapore has a unique blend of East and West in its working culture. Western multinational companies brought a culture of openness and innovation. In contrast, the Eastern culture of collectivism, maintenance of personal reputation and social standing (face), and hierarchical structures permeate the general working population.

Living in Singapore

Being a cosmopolitan city, Singapore has a broad mix of cultures, practices and cuisines to suit most people. There are abundant choices for food that range from the relatively cheap to the very high-end and expensive. Healthcare is world-class but may be very costly if major medical treatments are needed. As a financial hub, Singapore has various medical insurance options for foreign workers.

Maintaining dynamism

As Singapore further opens its doors to foreign businesses, the government has introduced new business structures such as Variable Capital Companies (VCCs) and single-family offices. These initiatives are complemented by attractive tax incentives and a commitment to build the whole ecosystem for such businesses.

Singapore’s vibrancy and attractiveness to businesses and individuals are maintained through such efforts and by building stronger connections with global markets and growing its own economic dynamism. The commitment to change amidst a more uncertain external environment makes Singapore an attractive destination for foreign investments, and where foreign workers have many opportunities to live, work and raise families.