Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Best places for Singaporean to migrate to

Several people have asked me to comment on the best country for Singaporeans to migrate to. 

My top choice is Australia, followed by New Zealand and Canada. They are English speaking countries and easy for Singaporeans to adapt to. They also have a high quality of life and a good work-life balance, and a good climate.

My brother migrated to Australia 15 years ago. I have seen how he adapted to the new lifestyle and how his two children grew up in their new environment. They love their new home.

I have also met many local born Australians. They are considerate, helpful, positive and broad minded people. This is a general observation; there are certainly exceptions.

The Australians have a term "fair-go". They believe in treating people fairly and helping others to succeed.

Taxes in Australia are high, but most people do not mind, as they have a high minimum wage, high wages and good welfare benefits. Net of tax, they have enough to live a comfortable life with good work-life balance.

I believe that high taxes is good, if the taxes are used to provide the health care, education, short term unemployment benefits and other public services. Most people need these services, which can be provided more economically by the state, using the principle of collective purchasing of the services.

I am sure that it is not all rosy in Australia. It should be possible for someone to bring up some parts of the life in Australia that is wrong. There is no perfect system that suits everyone. But, generally, I find the Australian system to be a good model; a good balance between capitalism and community.

For young Singaporeans who have a chance to migrate to Australia, I would say, "Take it". You have a high chance of making it there.

For those who stay back in Singapore, I would say, "Singapore is not too bad either". We can do well here, also.

It would be better, if our government change some of its policies to follow the good examples in Australia, such as more social welfare and welfare of workers. In spite of the obvious differences (i.e. large country with natural resources and small country with no natural resources), many good practices in governance can be applied to all countries.

Don't ask me how to get permission to migrate to Australia. Ask their embassy, or ask Singaporeans who have migrated there to give you some tips.

I welcome views on this topic, especially from Singaporeans who have migrated on the balance between the good and bad points of Australia.

8 comments:

Fook Cheon Khaw said...

How about Malaysia? I learnt that the My Second Home programme has been very successfully. A lot of retired foreigners have come to stay in Malaysia for their retirement.

Elgin Lam said...

I agree with your comments, Mr Tan. I studied in Australia and stayed on after finding a job and a wife. The life is good. I tried to bring my Aussie wife to Singapore but after a year, we moved back as we missed our lifestyle in Australia. Apart from the points you raised, another major factor is optimism. The average Australian is very optimistic, even in the face of hardship. A common phrase they use here is "she'll be right", which means everything will be OK. Contrasted with Singaporeans who say "die lah" the moment something goes wrong.

One thing about Singapore is people who are in finance tend to be the ones who make it big, whereas people in engineering or IT are finding their wages suppressed. Everyone aspires to be a manager. Over here, technical expertise is well regarded and you get paid well for being an expert in your field. You can really earn a decent living as an engineer all the way to retirement. That makes it very attractive for engineering professionals like myself to work here. In Singapore, being in engineering, there's the saying "if you're not in management by 35 years old, you're going nowhere".

One problem with Australia is that the laws are quite lax. Most people are law-abiding citizens but there are bad hats around. I find that the laws don't do enough to keep people from re-offending. It is changing, it's harder to get parole and sentences are getting longer, but there's some way to go.

The political system is light years ahead of Singapore in terms of freedom, but sometimes you feel that both sides (Labor/Coalition) are just arguing for the sake of arguing. If both sides stopped bickering and just focused on national issues, the system would work better. Parliamentry debates are lively and entertaining. One thing I like is that politicians are really grilled hard here and they really have to work for their pay - unlike Singapore where you are just parachuted in via GRC and earn millions but never get sacked for screwing up.

Sobri said...

Mr Tan, have you tried calculating the real effective taxes Singaporeans are paying? I mean, the income tax, GST, property tax, utility tax, admin charges, road tax, ARF for cars, ERP, COE.........and the list goes on.
By comparison, I don't think Australian taxes are that high, and they get much more.

Ryan002 said...

I studied in Australia during my teen years, and I have some relatives who moved there.

In terms of preference, I still rather Singapore. Australia is characterized by a strong bias toward extroverts; in the time I was there, I felt Australians tend to gravitate toward the loudest and most optimistic leaders (the rock stars) rather than quiet, intelligent ones.

I also dislike the strong differences between town and country, and the frankly xenophobic tendencies in the more rural areas.

That said, the one thing I do like about Australians is their contempt of materialism.

I contend that many Singaporeans secretly associate poverty with immorality (i.e. if someone is poor, he or she must somehow deserve it), and I like that Australians don't hold the same views.

Xianlong said...

Hi Elgin,
I agree with you on the manager part. Sinkies seem obsessed to have manager title to boost their self-esteem.

Is a sad state of affairs that tradesman are lowly paid in Sillypore. We ought to move more toward Germany & OZ where craftsman/tradesman can earn a decent living.



Hi Ryan002,
Western countries tend toward the extrovert side while asian countries tend toward introvert.

I haven't stay in OZ to know about their contempt of materialism. However i find many sinkies are addicted to materialism. It seems everyone is playing catchup with the Joneses next door.

When SG have such a wide income inequality, the envy & jealousy just make it worse. No wonder Sinkies are unhappiest in world despite buying this this this & buying that that that.

ABOUT REDORCHID said...

Mr tan, i was there when you spoke to singaporeans at honglim it was truly very ground level n down to earth.if only you could speak the same in hokkien.that surrounded me were old chinese auntes and uncles. they kept asking me to translate. these old singaporeans that built singapore in yhe very old days are now seeing the tide of change and dpnt quite understand why ruling party is doing what they do now.

ABOUT REDORCHID said...

Mr tan, i was there when you spoke to singaporeans at honglim it was truly very ground level n down to earth.if only you could speak the same in hokkien.that surrounded me were old chinese auntes and uncles. they kept asking me to translate. these old singaporeans that built singapore in yhe very old days are now seeing the tide of change and dpnt quite understand why ruling party is doing what they do now.

ABOUT REDORCHID said...

Way to go mr tan!

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