Business

Will Singapore Retain its Status as a Business and Expatriation Centre Post Covid?

It may be surprising to you to learn that citizens of the tiny, city state of Singapore possess the world’s most powerful passport that opens even more borders than ones issued in the EU and the US. Furthermore, Singaporeans also spend one of the world’s most powerful currencies.

This really is quite impressive when you consider that the nation’s entire landmass is less than 750 square meters and its population a mere 5.2 million – in terms of both size and population, Singapore is quite literally half the size of London!

And yet it also kind of makes sense when you consider that Singapore was purposely developed and built by the British Colonial Rulers as a global trading post to help finance an empire. It’s location made it into an ideal shipping and naval base, and goods from all around the world passed through its harbour. This in turn allowed it to boom as an international banking hub hence the absolute financial behemoth we have today.

Singapore’s global trading and finance economy has also made it into one of the worlds mega expat destinations and an estimated 29% of the city-state’s population were born outside of the teeny-tiny-nation! Singapore’s openness, high salaries, and lucrative career opportunities made it into a dream destination for British bankers and Indian labourers alike.

Singapore After Covid

However, there is now a very real fear that the party may be over. The COVID-19 pandemic that shook the global economy has hit Singapore particularly hard. Firstly, like many Far Eastern and Southeastern nations, Singapore quickly and tightly closed its borders, didn’t re-open them for some time and entry is still limited. Whilst things on the ground are steadily moving again, a whole raft of COVID restrictions remain in place including face masks in all public settings and having to log in and out of all buildings. Working from home also remains the norm. 

Then, Singapore has been further bit by the reduction in global trade outside of its borders. The simple fact that goods and currencies are being traded less internationally, means that the international financial sector and currency markets are not at full strength which is severely hitting Singapore.

Finally, Singapore is also a popular travel destination for both long haul passengers from Europe to Australia and also for backpackers doing the legendary Southeast Asia “gap yeah” loop. The loss of this tourism has also eaten heavily into the economy and meant a widespread reduction of catering and leisure based jobs.

Singapore No More? Don’t Be Sure…

So yes, ouch, the prognosis is not looking good. However, it is perhaps still a bit premature for despondency. Singapore is a true powerhouse and isn’t going to simply crumble. The Southeast-asian Development bank has admitted that recovery may be slow and Singapore may remain in stasis for a while longer, but it will improve. Also, experts close to the lucrative Singaporean casino market are reportedly looking forward to a bumper 2022.

Therefore, if you have been considering moving to, working in, or simply doing business in Singapore then do not write it off just yet. Whilst it is still isn’t quite the best time to visit, business travel is possible for fully COVID-19 vaccinated travellers, who are prepared to quarantine on arrival. Furthermore, it is still possible to take advantage of Singapore’s liberal business practices and open and operate LLC’s in Singapore without actually visiting the state at all.

If you are planning to do business in Singapore or move to the city-state, then one consideration you need to think about is getting your money in and out. Salaries are high and business deals are big so the likelihood is that you will be moving handsome amounts of currency around before too long.

Whether you are a humble migrant worker sending your salary back home, or a big banker moving millions of USD from Wall Street, currency exchanges and international payments can get very expensive for everybody. If you simply rely on your bank to handle the transfer, they will apply the least favourable forex rate and will also levy chunky fees.

Therefore, savvy expats in Singapore rely on specialised forex brokers and money transfer specialists to assist them. There are a lot of companies competing in this space including established names like Western Union and fin-tech upstarts like Lumon Pay. However, Singapore expats moving larger sums of money around, rave about TorFx – a currency and money transfer specialist dedicated to saving their clients money on transactions. The TorFX Singapore reviews are very favourable and show a trust pilot satisfaction rating of 5 stars. TorFX deal with both personal and business customers who need to transfer a minimum of £4,000 ($5517). 

Whilst COVID-19 remains a barrier for both business and travel, at least currency and money transfers don’t need to be a problem any more!

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