"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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