Walk down any street in Melbourne, Sydney or Perth, and you might not only hear that familiar Singaporean accent, but actually bump into someone you know from primary or secondary school.
There are now about 50,000 Singaporeans living in Australia, and the number looks set to rise, mainly due to the influx of students looking to take advantage of the weak Australian currency.
For those hoping to spend more time Down Under, there are now two new visas available to Singaporeans.
Work and holiday visa
Clarke Quay is full of 20-something ang mohs in Singapore on a working holiday visa, but the courtesy is unfortunately not extended to Singapore citizens as the government has up till now been reluctant to ink mutual working holiday agreements with other countries, except for an existing one with New Zealand.
Well, Singaporean citizens can now run to Australia for up to one year on a Work and Holiday Visa if they satisfy these conditions.
- Be at least 18 years old but under 31 at the time of application
- Have enough money to support themselves, defined as about 5,000 AUD (5,302 SGD)
- Have a tertiary qualification or have completed at least two years of undergrad
- Have functional English (graduating from a local school counts)
The visa costs 440 AUD (466 SGD) and there are only 500 places per year, available on a first-come first-served basis.
The visa enables you to live and work in Australia for a year. You could just show up without a job and then try to find work, bearing in mind that you can get paid 20 AUD for working at the supermarket or at a bar.
Multi-year visitor visa
Many Singaporeans make repeated visits to Australia. Some have children studying there. Others have bought property there and want to check on their investments. And some just like going on holiday there to get away from the humidity, crowds and concrete jungle back home.
Singaporeans travelling to Australia must currently apply for an electronic visa from the government. This visa enables them to stay in Australia for only 90 days in a 12-month period. That’s a maximum of about 3 months per year. Once the 12-month period has passed, another visa must be applied for.
That’s where the upcoming multi-year visitor visa comes in.
The multi-year visa is good for 6 years, thus relieving frequent travellers of the need to get another visa every 12 months. Each time a Singaporean enters Australia on this visa, he will be entitled to stay up to 3 months.
While the maximum amount of time you can spend in Australia within a 12-month period has yet to be announced, Singaporeans are of course hoping that there will be no limit. If there is indeed no limit, a Singaporean would be able to practically live in Australia, simply by doing visa runs every 3 months.
But that’s probably too good to be true. Less than a year ago, China was granted a very similar 10-year frequent traveller visitor visa allowing them to stay no more than 12 months in a 24 month period. We’re guessing the visa for Singaporeans will be similar.
The visa will be made available to Singaporeans from 1 Jan 2018, and more information will be made available in the coming months.
Do you intend to apply for either of these two visas? Tell us why in the comments!