All you need to know about finding a job in Singapore

Singapore may be home to many multinational companies headquartered in the city state, but finding a job here involves a lot more than submitting a sterling resume. This article will explain the process to apply for a job as a foreigner in Singapore.

What kind of jobs are available in Singapore?

The majority of Singapore’s workforce are white collar workers in the financial, engineering and information technology industries. There is also a sizeable job market in the maritime, construction, healthcare and education industries, although you’ll have to undergo specialised training or certifications first.

You may also work on a part-time contract, if you have the right skills that are in demand currently. IT programmers, project managers and designers are currently sought after for their domain expertise.

Where do I start looking for jobs?

If you’ve already got plenty of experience under your belt, check out JobCentral or JobStreet for corporate or white collar jobs. Fresh graduates can take a look at BrightMinds to find entry-level office jobs, while the traditional Classifieds section of the daily Straits Times newspaper still advertises part-time or blue-collar work.

Permanent residents and foreigners are permitted to apply for many government jobs, which can be conveniently found on Careers@Gov. Note that some ministries, especially in the defence and security industries, will not accept applications from non-Singaporeans.

You can also speak to an employment agency to connect you to a suitable employer. The agency may take a cut from your salary, or negotiate a different set of terms that may be less favourable. You’ll want to do some research on Glassdoor and the Ministry of Manpower before making your decision.

Where do I submit my resume?

Most job portals have an online resume form that you can fill in, along with a way to upload your resume. Fill it in with as much details as possible, since many job applications are screened by a computer these days, and they are designed to build an accurate profile based on your submission.

Some smaller companies still accept submissions through email. Since your email might get lost in a crowded inbox, remember to help your submission stand out with a relevant and attractive subject line, and try to connect with a HR representative afterwards.


How much does it cost to make a job application?

Job applications are usually free, as employers will bear the cost of advertising the job. Some employers may require you pay for a training course or a license before you start work, especially if you’re working in the insurance or real estate industry as a registered salesperson. Be aware that many of these jobs are commission-driven, and you might be considered a self-employed individual rather than an employee.

How long does it usually take to get a response?

For most job applications with an opening to fill, you’ll usually get a response within a month. Some employers will not respond if your application is rejected, so try to find a HR representative to follow up with.

What are the requirements to find work in Singapore as a foreigner?

To work in Singapore, you’ll need to first secure a job. Your new employer will then need to apply for an employment permit for you. You’ll need the employment permit to rent a place for long-term stay in Singapore, and to register for other government services.

What kind of employment permit do I qualify for?

The Ministry of Manpower issues several kinds of permits, based on your salary and nature of work.

  • Employment Pass – For professionals, managers, executives and technicians (PMETs). You’ll need a monthly salary of at least $3,600 a month to qualify for this.
  • EntrePass – For foreign entrepreneurs who want to start a business in Singapore, and have already secured funding or substantial support in the country.
  • Personalised Employment Pass – For Employment Pass holders with a monthly salary of at least $12,000, or foreign professionals with a monthly salary of at least $18,000. This pass offers greater flexibility as compared to a standard Employment Pass.
  • S-Pass – For mid-skilled technical workers earning at least $2,200 per month.
    Work Permit for foreign worker – For semi-skilled workers in the construction, manufacturing, marine shipyard, process or services sectors.
  • Work Permit for foreign domestic worker – For foreign domestic workers (FDWs) to work in households.
    Work Permit for confinement nanny – For Malaysian nannies to work for up to 16 weeks starting from the birth of the employer’s child.
  • Work Permit for performing artiste – For foreigners working as entertainers in hotels, bar and nightclubs.
  • Work Permit for confinement nanny – For Malaysian nannies to work for up to 16 weeks starting from the birth of the employer’s child.
  • Work Permit for performing artiste – For foreigners working as entertainers in hotels, bar and nightclubs.

What legal documents do I need to submit to register myself as a job applicant in Singapore?

You’ll need to have a valid passport, any applicable academic and professional certifications, and your identity documents from your country of citizenship. For most white collar jobs, a diploma or a degree from a recognised institution is a basic requirement.

City scape

Where should I stay in Singapore while looking for a job?

You can apply for a job even before setting foot in Singapore, as it will take some time to schedule interviews. Many employers also do an initial interview through a phone call or over Skype.

If you’re already planning to enter Singapore, you can only stay in short-term serviced apartments or hotels, since you cannot rent a room or apartment without an employment permit. You can find serviced apartments in many locations across the island, but the price range are mostly on the higher end of the real estate market. Check out LMB or Metro Residences for relatively affordable options. If your budget is limited, you can rent a bed or a cheap room in a hostel like the Betel Box.

Once your employment permit is issued, your house hunt can begin. You can search popular property sites like Propertyguru and, or online classifieds like Gumtree and Craigslist. Alternatively, use Krib’s PropertyMatch to submit your housing requirement, and let it crawl through thousands of listings online to find only the best matches for you.


With a modern economy powered by a multinational workforce, finding a job in Singapore can be relatively easy if you have the right skills. However, there are strict employment regulations that are regularly enforced, so you’ll need to stand out from the typical job applicant and offer value to the organisation or employer. To maximise your chances, network with managers and hiring managers on social media and forum sites like LinkedIn and Glassdoor – with dogged determination and enough luck, you’ll find the right fit there!

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