Expats in Singapore

Expats in SingaporeSingapore: An Overview

Singapore is a island city-state just south of the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula, with the Indonesian Riau Islands lying to the south and the large island of Sumatra to the west.

The island was intermittently used as a trading port since at least the 2nd century, when it was described in Ptolemy's Geographia under the name ‘Sabana’. There may have been a settlement at this time, though the island was mostly inhabited by fishermen and pirates.

▶ Click for more

From the 7th to 14th centuries, the island of Temasek (from the Javanese words for 'Sea Town') was an outpost of the Srivijaya Empire that was centred around Sumatra, and suffered from occasional raids from neighbouring powers. The modern international name for the country probably comes from one of these raiding parties, the 11th century Chola kings of India. Though they were Tamil speakers, they coined the name Singapura using the Sanskrit words simha (meaning ‘lion’) and pura (‘town’).

From the end of the 14th century, Singapore was seperseded by nearby Malacca and declined in importance. The modern city was founded in 1819 as a trading post for the East India Company. Singapore fell under formal British sovereignty from 1824 and slowly grew in importance. The Japanese occupied the island during the Second World War until the British recaptured it on 12 Spetember 1945.

In 1963, Singapore became independent as a member state of the newly-created Federation of Malaysia. However, severe ethnic tensions and riots led to Sinagapore’s expulsion the Federation in 1965. Singapore had little choice but to go it alone as an independent city-state. It has not looked back since, thanks to exceptionally high growth rates and rapid industrialisation. Singapore isthe ultimate example of an entrepôt, and one of the world’s leading commercial centres. In fact, the tiny island state has a GDP only slightly less than Malaysia, its much larger northern neighbour.


Country Name: Singapore
Coordinates: 1°17'N 103°50'E
Capital: Singapore
Capital Coordinates: 1°17'N 103°50'E
Other Main Cities: Jurong Island, Pulau Tekong, Pulau Ubin
Population: 5399200
Area: 716
Official Language(s): English Language, Malay Language, Tamil Language, Standard Mandarin
Ethnic Group(s): Chinese 76.8%, Malay 13.9%, Indian 7.9%, other 1.4%
Demonym: Singaporean
Currency: Singapore Dollar, SGD
GDP: $327.557 billion
Time Zone: SST (UTC+8)
International Dialling Code: 65
Internet TLD: .sg
Electricity Voltage: 220 Volts AC (50Hz)





Moving to Singapore

If you are considering moving to Singapore or are soon to depart, you can find helpful information and advice in the Expat Briefing dedicated Singapore section including; details of immigration and visas, Singaporean forums, Singaporean event listings and service providers in Singapore.


Living in Singapore

From your safety to shoppingliving in Singapore can yield great benefits as well as occasional drawbacks.  Find your feet and stay abreast of the latest developments affecting expats in Singapore with relevant news and up-to-date information.


Working in Singapore

Working in Singapore can be rewarding as well as stressful, if you don't plan ahead and fulfill any legal requirements. Find out about visas and passports, owning and operating a company in Singapore, and general Singaporean culture of the labour market.