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Why is Singapore a Prime Spot for Top-Tier Foreign Talent?

Why is Singapore a Prime Spot for Top-Tier Foreign Talent?

The island nation of Singapore has long been a powerhouse in the global economy, and its status as a premier destination for top-tier talent is no exception.

According to a new study by Boston Consulting Group (BCG) and The Network, this reputation has been bolstered, as Singapore has risen 10 places to become the 8th most attractive location for global talent.

Welcome news to Singapore’s existing business community, the study’s release couldn’t have come at a more critical time — as the world economy slowly emerges from the shadow of COVID-19.

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Singapore Maintains its Lead as a Foreign Talent Hub

The pandemic has led to a dramatic shift in attitudes among professionals globally, with many now reluctant to move abroad for work. 

But despite this, the island nation has continued to attract top talent from around the world — thanks in part to its proactive and successful response to COVID-19.

While many of the traditionally attractive destinations such as New York, Barcelona, and Rome have seen their reputations suffer due to the pandemic, Singapore has emerged unscathed — even enhancing its appeal as a business destination.

This is largely due to the fact that Singapore was one of the first countries to implement strict measures to control the spread of COVID-19 within its borders.

These measures, which included a mandatory 14-day quarantine for all incoming travellers and a nationwide mask mandate, proved to be highly effective.

As a result, Singapore was able to avoid the worst of the pandemic. At the time of writing, there are no longer any traveller restrictions beyond a negative Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test.

Why Does Singapore Need Foreign Talent?

Singapore has a lack of its own talent in the local workforce. By getting international talent to live and work here, it can build up its local talent, encouraging them to stay and help foster a dynamic and outstanding nation.

In addition, the Lion City is also a highly attractive destination for global companies to invest and expand their businesses here. 

These corporations require human talent to assist in their operations as well, which contributes to the ever-increasing demand for capable and skilled workers.

Related Read: Agility and Resilience: Singapore as a Regional Business HQ Destination »

Why is Singapore an Ideal Destination for Foreign Talent?

There are, of course, many existing reasons why talents from around the world have chosen to further their careers in Singapore — including its favourable tax policies for talent, supportive government, and famous liveability.

Let us look at these reasons in greater detail:

A Favourable Income Tax System

Singapore’s favourable income tax policies for talent have always been a huge incentive for employees and employers alike. 

Under Singapore’s tax system, foreign professionals can enjoy a 15% tax rate on their first S$160,000 of taxable income. 

This is significantly lower than the rates in many other developed countries — making Singapore an attractive destination for high-earners and experts in their fields.

Related Read: 14 Strategies to Reduce your Personal Income Tax »

One of World’s Most Liveable Cities

Singapore is also a highly attractive place to live, as the city-state has consistently ranked as one of the most liveable cities in the world

It is recognised for its low crime rates, excellent healthcare system, and an extensive array of public spaces. 

This makes Singapore an ideal destination for expats and their families who are looking for a safe and comfortable place to call home.

A Supportive Government

The small city-state understands the need to bolster its efforts in attracting global talent to build a world-class talent pool.

Apart from the incentives it has implemented, Singapore also has a variety of work passes that enable foreigners to work here.

During the National Day Rally Speech held on 21 Aug, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong first hinted at new initiatives to make leading talent seriously consider coming to Singapore.

On 29 Aug, the new Overseas Networks and Expertise (ONE) Pass, Singapore’s newest upcoming work pass aimed at the best international talents, was revealed.

It comes with several benefits, like a 5-year validity and outstanding job flexibility. Foreign workers can also look at the other work passes available, such as the Personalised Employment Pass (PEP) and Tech.Pass.

Singapore is Not Forgetting Its Local Talent Either

Despite its continued efforts to entice foreign talents, Singapore has not forgotten about its local workers.

It has schemes like the TeSA Mid-Career Advance programme and the SkillsFuture Leadership Development Initiative that ensure Singaporeans can develop their talents and upgrade their skills for a competitive local jobs market.

Singapore also introduced the Complementarity Assessment Framework (COMPASS) which will kick in in 2023. This points-based Employment Pass (EP) system is geared towards expertise in short-supply firms with vibrant workers and businesses supporting local employment.

A Continued Push to Attract the World’s Best Foreign Talent

The global fight for the world’s leading talent is dynamic and an on-going battle, which means that the country has to continue improving its efforts.

With the world slowly returning to normal, it is likely that Singapore will continue to attract global talent from around the globe as it continues to evolve towards its goal of becoming the world’s leading city. 

So, if you’re looking for an exciting and safe place to live and work, Singapore should definitely be at the top of your list. 

With its world-class infrastructure, strong economy, and welcoming attitude towards talent, it’s easy to see why Singapore is one of the most attractive destinations for global talent.

FAQs About Singapore as a Prime Spot for Talent

  • Singapore has always been in need of foreign talent for these reasons:
    • A lack of local talent
    • Prior restrictions caused by the pandemic
    • A rise in demand for talent to fill spots in big global companies opening branches in Singapore
  • The country offers a few incentives for foreign talent:
    • Income tax incentives
    • Attractive work permits with job flexibility
  • Singapore has a number of positive attributes that are likely to attract foreign talent to come here:
    • Strong infrastructure
    • A strong economy and major economic hub
    • Excellent education and healthcare systems

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About the Author

Mel Bakar

Mel specializes in Employment Pass and Work Pass applications through the Ministry of Manpower. She also handles Long-Term Visit Pass applications through the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority.

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