Why we moved to New Zealand from Singapore
Singapore, as you may know, is one of those countries where Filipinos would do anything just to land a job there. It is just a 3-hour and 25-minute plane travel from the Philippines plus there are always airline promos you could avail. My husband and I had the privileged to work there for 4 years. Because of Singapore we were able to save enough than expected.
To be honest, migrating never crossed my mind before. My goal was to work my ass off, pardon my French, until I would be able to gain capital for a restaurant; I really wanted to be a restaurateur. This was my long term goal not until I became a mother. It’s true, priorities changed when you already have a child.
We had a blast in Singapore. Both of us with stable jobs, me working as Reservations Supervisor while my husband as a Software Engineer. When my friends knew that we were migrating to New Zealand, some were surprised and asked us why. So I am sharing with you the reasons why we opted to migrate to New Zealand despite having good paying jobs in Singapore.
- Work life balance
Work was getting in the way of family time for most people in Singapore. Due to lack of manpower mostly in companies (and strict migration policy in granting work passes), employees have to do multitasking and working beyond duty hours. There were times when Joed went home at 3am in the morning and return back to work early morning because of deadline demands. One thing I disliked that caused us to argue often was him going home late in the evening and when he arrived he still needs to work at home! Oh did I mention he wasn’t getting any overtime pay?
In New Zealand, they really value family time. Gone were the days where JoEd to come home from work late and continue what he left off from there. They would actually encourage you to get off once your shift ends to spend time with family. When Joed went to the Philippines to fetch us, his office did not even bother to disturb him on his vacation, no calls, emails or sms from them.
- Family first
When I gave birth to Zane, we were to continue with working in Singapore and leave our son in the Philippines with my parents. Zane would come visit us in Singapore either with my mother or mother-in-law every 2-3months. It was until Zane turned 2 when I came to a realization that we were tired of this routine and being away from our son often would just add to the stress and missing important milestones in his life. We were able to apply for dependent pass for Zane but unfortunately, there was no one who could take care of him full time since Joed and I had work. We tried to consider hiring a nanny or leaving him at a day care but both options are costly. Another thing, we needed to have our own house in order for us to hire a nanny.
In New Zealand, despite that Joed’s salary is our only source of income, we are thankful that somehow we are able to live with our expenses and we three can be together. Gone were the days when I can only see Zane thru video calling. Because of our secured and simple lifestyle here in New Zealand, we are not really worried in terms of our savings, for now. I must admit that when it comes to savings, we had a lot when we were in Singapore, but who cares as long as we can be together as family.
- Visa validity / security
In Singapore, work passes have to be renewed depending on the validity. Regardless if you’ve already acquired a resident pass, it isn’t an assurance that you would be staying in for good as that needs to renewed as well. There have been multiple cases in where resident pass holders get rejected upon renewal. Because of this working pass condition, we were pressured to save as much as we can since we weren’t sure as to how long we could stay in Singapore. Not to mention that Singapore’s immigration is getting more strict every year.
New Zealand on the other hand, once you've acquired a residents visa, you could literally stay as long as you like. You don’t need to worry about your tenure of stay in New Zealand because it has no expiration. In other words, you're secured.
- Educational benefits
From what I know, Singapore doesn’t offer free education even to resident pass holders, they would only give subsidies. For work pass holders, just like Joed and I, no subsidies were given. The tuition fees for foreigners are also higher and they prioritize local citizens over foreigners when it comes to school registration.
In New Zealand, the government’s ECE (early childhood education) program is open to all children below 5 years old, no matter what their migrant status is. Between the ages of 3 and 5, your child can go to an ECE service for 20 hours a week for free. New Zealand citizen or permanent resident education is free between the ages of 5 and 19 at state schools (schools that are government owned and funded). The government partially funds state further education providers (college). Students pay about 30% of the cost of their courses. New Zealand students can borrow a loan from the government to pay for their courses until they are earning. So basically, we don’t need to worry on Zane’s education.
- Medical benefits
Medical expenses in Singapore is very expensive. There was once wherein Zane had a flu and we paid S$150 for a simple check up and medicine. When I was pregnant, we spent at least S$120 in every pre natal we had, this is only a simple prenatal check excluding vitamins.
When Zane got sick here in New Zealand, we visited a physician and she offered us medicine without even spending a single cent. Hospitals in New Zealand offer free healthcare to enrolled children under 13 years of age. To boast it off, New Zealand offers the best health care system rated among best in the world.
- House rental
Both Singapore and New Zealand’s housing are expensive. In Singapore, we did not rent a whole house because we want to save as much as we can. Unlike in New Zealand, we were able to afford a whole house to rent because we know that we will be staying here for good and we don’t need to worry about our savings, for now.
- Simple Living
We want to teach Zane the beauty of life and nature and New Zealand is the perfect place. It’s a peaceful country with lots of beautiful and natural sceneries. We want to show to him that’s life isn’t about material things (kids nowadays are very materialistic) but about contentment. In this country, we don’t need to go to malls and spend a lot just to bond as family. A simple picnic at the park would suffice.
To summarize our reasons, it’s all about Zane. We want what’s best for his future and New Zealand’s government is good to children. Hopefully when he’ll grow up, he would appreciate all the sacrifices we had made just to land here in New Zealand.
For those who intend to migrate to New Zealand, weigh your options first. If you’re single and your main goal is to save money for future or investment, then Singapore is a good choice for you. Lots of entertainment, always on trend, and you’ll get a high take home money from your income. If your aim is to settle, work-life balance and a family-friendly culture, then definitely New Zealand is the perfect choice.
This is a personal blog. The views and opinions provided is based on personal experience and research and is not meant to be taken as professional and legal advice. All content provided on this blog is for informational and entertainment purposes only. The owner will not be liable for any damages or losses from the use of this information.