Some Expats in S’pore Are Suffering from Job Losses & Pay Cuts; Several Have Been Made Redundant

One might be led to believe that expatriates here live lavish lifestyles.

They’ll have the top jobs here in Singapore, and when they go back to their million-dollar apartment, they’ll sip on the finest wine, use expensive imported European ingredients, and order their domestic helper to make up some meal.

Which doesn’t exactly help when we had that Robertson Quay incident.

But the truth is a lot different, as revealed in a South China Morning Post article.

You see, it turns out that not all expatriates are the same. And whatever effects of the coronavirus that we feel, they feel too.

Except you know, they’re expats so they don’t get any of the help we would normally receive from the government.

Expats Expected To Be 60% Of Lay-offs

According to Maybank Kim Eng economist Lee Ju Ye, 60% of the estimated 200,000 people out of work will be expats. The reason? Jobs are saved for locals.

For companies, sending back expats with families back to their countries also make sense financially, since it’s expensive to live here.

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In the SCMP article, Martha Liv’s husband had to take a 20% pay cut, leaving her husband’s monthly salary to be S$6,000.

Which still sounds like a lot, until you consider that costs are high here. Their request to reduce their S$2,700 rent was rejected for their landlord.

Huh, got more than S$3,000 remaining still complain what? Must be buying useless expensive things.

Wrong. Apparently, they buy things from our wet markets, use cheaper local ingredients and don’t have any domestic helper to look after their 17-month-old son. In fact, costs were so high they started using their savings.

Expats Are Leaving Singapore Because Of Redundancies

Ella Sherman, a property agent at Knight Frank specialising in expats who also works a day job in human resources, says that she hears two or three foreign families planning to leave Singapore every day because of redundancies.

“There are also people wanting short leases of three or six months because they don’t know what their job situation is going to be. I am getting such enquiries about three times a week.”

Foreigners who are laid off can only stay the maximum amount of time on a tourist visa, which is 30 days.

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Dan Mogg, a sales manager at relocation company Classic Moving, also said that demand for their services was up by almost 20% from individuals because of a “surge in people moving home due to losing their jobs and not being able to stay”.

Although, corporate moves were paused due to the hiring freezes and international restrictions.

Talking about international restrictions…

The Flow of Foreigners Heavily Disrupted

Since long-term pass holders have to get pre-approval from the Manpower Ministry, many of them who made plans are now disrupted. Expats possessions were moved into storage after they were forced to the end leases on their apartments.

Which is why you’ll see random Facebook posts of expats selling their furniture.


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Those who left their home? They might now be stuck here and are just waiting for approval to return.

The kids studying in international schools also have to change their entire plan.


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Tom Evans, director of marketing and communications at Tanglin Trust School, said that “many students who originally planned to change schools have decided to stay while others who had planned to stay will be leaving Singapore”.

EtonHouse International Education Group said it has seen more withdrawals compared to previous years as expat families move home. Although, they say the drop is not significant.

Let’s be reminded that we’re all affected, and it doesn’t matter who we are. Except, maybe that guy who rented a pool for S$30K. But that one special case lah.

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