Working Lives Singapore

Expat Chris Gill works for an insurance company

Chris Gill is one of the estimated 30,000 British expats living in Singapore.

He moved here from Hong Kong seven years ago to set up the regional office of a UK insurance company.

Singapore Direct graphic

Chris has benefited in the past from generous financial packages offered to expats, which have since been diminished as companies try to cut costs.

While his tax bill is still considerably lower than it would be in the UK, other outgoings eat into the family budget.

His wife and three young children live in a four-bedroom apartment.

"We've moved away from the centre towards the west, and we're living in a slightly older apartment," Chris says, adding that this "helps to keep costs down".

Educating his two young sons is another big expenditure,

"The schools here are fantastic, but they're also quite expensive," he says.

Owning a car in Singapore is considered quite a luxury, as the government tries to reduce the number of vehicles in the crowded city state.

"You have to have something called a certificate of entitlement," says Chris.

This is valid for 10 years, but currently costs about $50,000 (£31,000).

"That can more than double the price of a car," he says.

The time difference with his UK head office means that Chris's working day, which starts about 08:00, often doesn't finish until 19:30 or 20:00.

"We can only talk to the UK after 16:00 Singapore time, so that does pose a challenge," he says.

Chris uses his commute to work to train for triathlons, running or cycling the 45-minute journey.

"It's a great way for me to start the day, energised and ready to tackle a day's work," he says.

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