It's been sitting on the coffee table for months now and I've read it several times. Fourteen pages designed to appeal to global talent working in the biomedical, electronic, healthcare. finance and IT industries. When I read it, these words leap out from the pages: Open, Global, Cosmopolitan. The tone is more than welcoming - it sounds like it's written by someone who is is so excited about the city that he just has to share the good news with you. Masterful marketing.
What are the advantages of Singapore according to this flyer?
1. Opportunity: Rapid economic growth, business-friendly government, modern infrastructure. Singapore is "the world's easiest place to do business." Easy to get a job, it implies, or to start a business.
2. Global Talent: 1 in 3 workers are foreign. You wouldn't be alone. Come to a place where there are others like you: people with skills for industries that need people.
3. Easy Work Permit Process; System is touted as straightforward and fast. No waiting for months for a decision. The Employment Pass will not only get you in but your spouse or common-law spouse and children or step-children as well. But you must have a job before you apply.
4. Low taxes: Tax rates are said to be "competitive" and are capped at 20%. In addition there is no tax on income earned outside of Singapore and no capital gains or estate taxes to be concerned about (unlike the United States)
5. Quality of life: Singapore a "dynamic" city. Multi-cultural, multi-ethnic, safe, clean, good housing, lots of international schools with high standards, gardens. The healthcare system is "state of the art" with "highly-trained medical professionals."
Compelling? You bet it is. All the more so when one is a bit tired of reading the news in your host country and seeing that immigrant workers are a "problem to be solved" and not a resource to be welcomed. Such a pleasant message to receive with your morning coffee.
I had a surreal conversation once with a French colleague in Tokyo. He asked me how I felt about being so far from "home" and it took me a couple of moments to realize that he was talking about France. I answered that I had not been back to my country of birth for any significant length of time in over ten years and that I was no longer sure where "home" was. Perhaps I no longer had a place to call home and was that such a bad thing? Over the years I have resolved to bloom where I'm planted but every day I'm faced with the following options: go back to my home country, stay in my host country and become a citizen or strike out for a Third Place. For some reason option #3 is looking mighty good these days. Having moved several times in my life to and from radically different worlds, I find that I don't fear it anymore. On the contrary, it sounds positively thrilling. "Go West," my ancestors were told and they did. "Go East," says the flyer sitting on my coffee table.
I think it's worth checking out. After all, who could possibly resist a place that says,
"The Dot is Hot!"