OFW Guide to Living and Working in Singapore

Arab countries like Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates are and still the top destinations for OFWs. If you prefer somewhere closer to the Philippines with few similarities in culture, then Singapore can be your next destination.

Singapore is a haven for healthcare professionals, teachers, IT specialists, and household service workers among others. This explains why many Filipinos flock this country, which is less than four hours away by plane.

In case you found a job in Singapore and got accepted or you prefer Singapore among other OFW destination countries, this post is for you. Here’s what you need to know about living and working in Singapore:

Singapore, in General

Singapore was originally called “Singapura” (which also means “Lion City” in Sanskrit) when a prince from Palembang saw a creature in the island and thought it was a lion. It is also one of the only three surviving states in the world. The two others are Vatican and Monaco.

Singapore is also one of the smallest countries in the world.


The national language of Singapore is Malay. On the other hand, English, Chinese (Mandarin), and Tamil are also widely spoken.

You might be surprised with Singaporean’s English since they have their own version, also known as Singlish. This language originated from the British English and incorporated or borrowed words from other languages such as Chinese, Indian, and Malay.

Rules to Follow

There is a reason why Singapore is one of the top destinations around the world. It is clean and generally crime-free, thereby making it a favorite. Nonetheless, it all boils down to the rules and strict penalties imposed, thereby earning the name”Fine City,” which every Filipino must pay attention to.

Some of the acts that are not allowed include:

  • Smoking
  • Throwing or leaving trash
  • Public vandalism, which also includes possible arrest
  • Looking suspicious in the metro ($500 fine)
  • Same sex relationship, which also comes with imprisonment
  • Cuddling in public

The bottom line is follow the rules. Otherwise, be ready to pay fines or worse, be imprisoned, which you surely don’t want to happen.


It turns out that Singaporeans are among the least emotional people in the world. They can be very straightforward and are willing to sacrifice harmony in the workplace for the sake of results.

If there is something you would love about Singapore, it’s their Great Singaporean Sale or GSS. Tourists from around the world frequent SG from end of May to July to enjoy discounted deals. Don’t get too excited because your budget still needs to come into play.

Also, Singapore is a multi-cultural country with several nationalities residing in there. This is why they are more accepting of foreigns and even recognizing holidays like Vesak Day in May and Deepavali every November.

Singaporeans also observe proper etiquette, so make sure you follow as well. Although you won’t be imprisoned, make sure you stay on the right side of the escalator, let alighting passengers in train go out first before boarding, and give up your seat to the elders. More importantly, never be late. The concept of Filipino time is a big no-no for Singaporeans.

Filipino Community

Homesickness is one of the issues many OFWs face. The good news is Singapore has a strong Filipino community, with more than 150,000 Filipinos working in the same country with you. You will be surprised to see churches that hold regular masses in Filipino as well as support groups that help Filipinos, including new ones cope with their new lifestyle.

Lucky Plaza in Orchard Road is a place where you can find a lot of Filipinos. This is a good place to start in case you don’t know anyone yet. You’ll find tons of Filipino products there as well.


Did you know that the weather in Singapore is hotter than in the Philippines? There is also no distinction between rainy and dry season because rain showers are frequent. Even if it is sunny outside, always bring an umbrella and jacket with you because you’ll never know if it rains by the time you go home.


Singaporeans love to walk, but public transport will always be there to the rescue. There are buses and Mass Rapid Transit (MRT trains) to bring you from point A to point B, but if you feel like spending, cabs are readily available.

Are you excited to start your life in this country?

7 Replies to “OFW Guide to Living and Working in Singapore”

  1. I’ve read a lot of online articles on this topic lately. I can see you have done a lot of homework and given this topic much thought.
    I really enjoyed the content and agree with most of your views. Thank you for sharing.

    1. Hi Sir.

      Thank you for sharing your experience about working and living in Singapore.

      I am currently working in Saudi Arabia and have plan in moving to Singapore. Just want to ask some informations. In KSA, employers normally provide free accommodation to OFW. So, it’s easier to calculate the income in KSA because what we have agreed in the contract is exactly what we get.
      In Singapore, I believe it differs a lot from accommodation to transportation and many others.
      How is the cost of accommodation in Singapore? What if I will be considered for a job in Singapore (e.g.applied online and accepted) and company offered a salary shall we say SG$ 4,000, is this sufficient? Secondly, if I’m hired by certain company while I am still in KSA, do the company advise me to go home first to Philippines and arrange the working visa through agency?
      I wish to receive your advice.

      Thank you.

    1. Hi Jun. You could check legitimate recruitment agencies kung mayroon silang mga job openings sa Singapore. Thanks.

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