The Truth About Jobs and Working in Singapore for Foreigners

26 Feb 2014

Singapore is an attractive destination for foreigners to work in and if you are one of the people looking for jobs in Singapore for foreigners, then the following questions will probably cross your mind:

  • How easy is it for foreigners, living outside of Singapore, to get a job here?
  • How does one go about looking for jobs in Singapore for foreigners?

The short answer is – It is not as easy as it seems for foreigners to get jobs in Singapore and you will need to put in a lot of effort to get a job. Singapore does have/demand a lot of foreign talent but this is for specific skills/industries/levels and there is a good amount of competition from foreigners/locals already living in Singapore.

If you search online job boards/sites for Singapore, you will notice most job postings state that only Singaporeans or Permanent Residents should apply. There will be fewer listing for jobs in Singapore for foreigners, on the job sites. The reason for this simple – It is easier and more cost effective for companies to hire people who are already in Singapore, especially when these people have the talent/skills they need.


Here are a few suggestions you will find useful, while looking for jobs in Singapore for foreigners:

1) I have come across many foreigners/people who just land-up in Singapore for a very short time and without having any meetings/interviews. They hope to get interviews while they are here and/or plan to attend a career fair. In my experience this approach does not yield much success to get jobs in Singapore for foreigners, unless you spend enough time here (a few months). If you are coming for a short visit, then it is much better to have a few meetings/interviews scheduled with potential employers and recruiters before you arrive. Also please be aware that career fairs are not catering to people living outside of Singapore and will not help much.

2) Don’t dismiss the online job boards altogether. You will find jobs where foreigners are eligible to apply, however, you will need to spend extra time searching for these. I recommend using a job aggregator, specifically Indeed, which will enable you to find all jobs for foreigners in Singapore at one place. This includes job boards and company websites. It can save you a lot of time, as opposed to searching each site separately. Use the advanced search form, so that you can conduct a specific search (for example – one which excludes job advertisements that contain the words Singaporean, PR, Citizen, etc.).

3) Use ALL your contacts (friends, family, colleagues, association members and so on). This is probably your best bet to get leads for jobs for foreigners. Make the process easier by using online networking sites like LinkedIn.

4) Be clear on your knowledge, skills and abilities and make sure that you apply to matching jobs. This will save you the time spent on applying to every job under the sun and also increase your job search success rate. Keep this in mind when contacting recruiters for jobs also.

5) Prepare your marketing material very well. Your resume, cover letter and other job search material must be relevant and of high quality.

6) Practice, practice and practice your interview responses and also what you will say during various other meetings.

7) Be ready to compromise and take jobs which may not be your first preference, or pay you as much as you want. It is important to first get your foot in the door.

Good luck!

jobs for foreigners in Singapore

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  About The Author  

Amit is an experienced career, business and HR professional. Previously, he has worked with organisations such as Bain & Company, Morgan Stanley and Citigroup. Amit has advanced degrees/qualifications in Career Counselling, Organisational Psychology & HR, Occupational Psychometrics, Career/Life Coaching & Business.

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