Singapore Remains Attractive Hub For Highly Skilled Indians

19 Jun 2011


Immigration rules are getting tougher and overseas jobs difficult to find. While that may be the message from many Western countries, there's some good news nearer home. Singapore remains an attractive hub for Indian professionals. With the economy growing in double digit quarter on quarter, the need for skilled workers persists.

The financial services and banking sectors in Singapore are emerging as the most important global destinations for highly skilled talent from India. And the government is very supportive. "The financial services sector in Singapore is one of the biggest employers attracting new talent from India. Singapore has emerged as one of the key banking hubs in the world. Increasingly more client money is flowing in, especially for the private banking and wealth management industry.

This in turn is creating a surge in the demand for experienced workforce and a shortage of talent which cannot be fulfilled from within the country. This provides an opportunity for Indians with relevant experience to relocate to Singapore," says Prem Xavier Raj, NRI head, affluent banking, Singapore, Australia and New Zealand Banking Group. Besides financial services, IT is the other big sector which has traditionally attracted Indian professionals. And now the hospitality sector is also opening up.

Nina Alag Suri, who is president and chief executive officer of executive search company Nastrac Group , feels that there is a lot of potential for foreign workers in both the low-skilled sectors such as construction and domestic work and the extremely high-skilled bracket. "Singapore's ministry of manpower is very welcoming to workers required for construction work and in the factories etc as well as the highly skilled and experienced individuals," she says.

The large number of Indian companies with operations in Singapore, about 4,000, are also huge employers of Indians. A big advantage that Singapore provides for Indian professionals is a tax-friendly regime. Average taxes range between 7% and 15%. Additionally there are schemes to ease the payment of tax, for instance, the option to pay via monthly instalments.

Singapore is now becoming a big draw for Indian students as well because of the quality of educational institutions, as well as the safe and secure environment. "Job opportunities are definitely available for Indian students in Singapore and most students continue to stay and work after they complete their courses. Several banks have started picking up students straight from campus," says Xavier Raj.

National University of Singapore , for instance, is now a favourite with IIT graduates for post-graduate studies. "The IIT Alumni Association works with Contact Singapore to bring IIT interns to do stints at Singaporean companies. Outside of the IITs as well, many Indian students are coming to Singapore to pursue graduate studies," says Amrit Barman, an IT professional in Singapore who is an active member of the IIT Alumni Association.

He points out that the only problem that Indian expats are now facing is the issue of 'foreign talent'. "Many of the newly arrived professionals from India settle straight into the upper strata of Singapore society. This gives rise to negative feelings sometimes and there is a need for better integration," Barman says.


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