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"Singapore expats have reason to think after the past week"

Singapore might not be as amazing for foreigners after all.

If you’re an expat in Singapore right now, you probably know what I’m talking about. Not just the 60% stamp duty, but also the execution of a man for conspiring to smuggle 1kg of cannabis.

Property in Singapore is expensive enough without new laws that make life harder for the high-earning immigrants in the city.  The Wall Street Journal is already running stories about expats finding that their rents have doubled. 

As for smuggling small amounts of cannabis, irrespective of your opinion on the legalization debate, Singapore is sending a signal to everyone - expats included - that it's not the West. This is real. If you bring drugs into this country, and you get caught, you may die.  

There was a time when Singapore went out of its way to attract expats. Now it seems to be going out of its way to push them away.

It's not just the expat property tax and capital punishment, it's also the visas for expat bankers. Yes, Singapore relaxed the system last August so that it's easier for foreign workers making over $21.5k to get into the country, but when it comes to jobs below that the preference is for locals. The big shot expat bankers at the top of any pyramid get a visa easily, plus permanent residency (no more absurd additional taxes). But the further down the pyramid you are (basically, the less you earn) the more you get squeezed.

Maragold D’Orac is the pseudonym of a recently retired senior ECM banker in Asia

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AUTHORMaragold d'Orac Insider Comment
  • IS
    20 October 2023

    You misunderstand.. the whole point of moving to Singapore is the death penalty for drug traffickers, Its the caning for offenders, its the $500 fines for littering. Its the perfect society that doesn't tolerate any kind of stupidity, and puts people in their place with a Rod of iron, if they step out of line. Otherwise, stay in london "bruv"

  • by
    bye bye
    26 May 2023

    This is positively the dumbest article ever published on EFC. Are you seriously running out of things to write about? You are making it sound like drugs are a necessity and some leniency should be applied to WESTERN expats!

    What exactly is your point here? What's the purpose of your article? It's clear that you're not happy with the lack of access to recreational drugs here hence this article. It seems like you're venting rather than offering your observation. If you're gonna come up with a piece that you feel so strongly about, please don't hide behind a pseudonym, dumbass

  • TO
    3 May 2023

    You seem very concerned about not being able to find a job with pay above $27k as well as inability to traffic weed.

    If you are a lowly-paid, drug-trafficking or weed smoking expat, I think you are exactly the kind of expat that the government is trying to get rid of.

  • IB
    3 May 2023

    Man doesn't know that the Stamp Duty of 60% to foreigners don't count for first property to Nationals and Permanent Residents if Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Switzerland and any Nationals of USA. Smh.

  • Al
    Alain L
    3 May 2023

    Singapore isn't lacking in talented foreigners who want to move here. If you are upset about the death penalty for drugs or cooling measures to mitigate rising property prices, you can leave and you won't be missed.

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