A Very Disappointed Singaporean Who Wants to Migrate to Australia

Good Day to you Nix,

I have read your blog and is deeply envious of your migration journey and how you managed to successfully seek a more happier lifestyle by migration. I am also inspired by the difficulties you faced and the mindset you have in order to take the tough step forward.

I am G a 27 year old Male Singaporean and would like to share my story and doubts with you and hope to get some useful tips from you.

Just a brief introduction of myself, I work as an Interior Designer here in SG. Most of my peers my age have had an easier route in terms of the career life they chose. The silly me chose to go with my passion with working as a Interior Designer with a more lower income, higher work load and longer work hours than that as compared to my other peers from other sectors.

I am the youngest in the family apart from an elder brother and sister, that being said, my parents actually had barely enough savings to get my brother and sister through higher education in SG. I for decided to just complete my Diploma in Civil & Structural Engineering from Singapore Polytechnic after my Secondary school years. After graduating and serving my NS, I was one of the lucky ones who were able to book out on a daily basis as I was posted as an NSF instructor. 

During the time when I book out, I actually went door to door enquiry at IMM which had tonnes of ID companies just to ask for a job without asking for salary but rather just the knowledge on the job. I was lucky as 1 company decided to take me in. I struggled to learn the basic skills on ID without having any salary, and everyday after camp at 6 I would travel from Changi down to IMM to work or rather learn. After I ORD from NS, I borrowed 5k from my mum to take up a full time 1 year course on ID. 

After "graduating" or so called completed my 1 year ID course, I struggled to land a full time job in ID as my course wasn't from a really well recognized school. I was lucky again to land into my first employment which surprisingly allowed me to know of my girlfriend M who is my fiancee now. She was a graduate who at that time came back from her 2 years Bachelors study from Brisbane. 

She often tells me that she wouldn't be back to Singapore if not for the scholar sponsored by SG, whereby she has to fulfill 2 working years in SG. Through the years both of us struggled through several years and several job change due to the influx of foreign labour in our field, our salary are pressed down and competitions are stiff, not to mention the type of cheap ass bosses with weird characteristics increasing in trend lately.

Moreover, recently, I'm sure you received news of the General Election which is not going to help in the coming years of SG and especially for us young couples. 

I will be sharing with you my goal and target of migrating and hope you would enlighten me with some pointers if you can. The time frame I am looking at is by the end of 2017 I need to make the move to Australia. Reason being both of us have yet to have enough liquid savings to bring over. To be honest I alone can't even seem to save up to 10k even up till now. I am not a spendthrift and the reason I can't seem to save up is because I struggled to change jobs due to the number of failed companies I have encountered and worked in. Time and time of unemployment has made me eat into my savings and so is my fiancee.

My plans is to go for a wedding shoot next year March in taiwan and paying my remainder 1.5k for the shoot. After the shoot, we will be looking at a date to be engaged at in ROM say around August or September next year and we will just do a simple dinner just to introduce both sides of the family in 1 table of a restaurant. I assume that would amount to say another 800 to 1k.

After the ROM, the whole PR application under Subclass 190 should start. I assume that the whole process will take me a further 5-6k. That aside the whole process should be covered by my liquid savings by next year. Taking into consideration that once the application is a success which will project into year 2017, we would also start applying for the renounciation of my SG citizenship which would enable us to take back our CPF monies. 

All in all, we are looking at around 70k of CPF monies. Would like to check with you, bearing in mind we can be very prudent in our spendings and also can cook and simply can drive a Lao pok Car. Taking into consideration that we would be jobless once we touch down. We both would not mind to work in the retail or F&B sector just to tie us through for the temporary. 

Hope to hear from you about your take on my plans, and your advice if you may enlighten us on. Mainly on the Monetary aspects.

Look forward to hearing from you. :)

p.s: Sorry for the long post and the time for you to read through.

Best Regards,

You need to pay attention, read and think. I am attaching two very different opinions. The first one is your advice from Satki Yoda of Darwin. The 2nd one would be mine. Take your pick and choose wisely.

Satki Yoda's reply

Dear Garrett, 

One thing that struck me from reading your lifestory is your work ethic. If you have read Nix's posts, make no mistake, Australians have a strong work ethic (albeit a much more productive-based one then Singaporean drones who stay in the office until 10pm chatting to their colleagues and surfing HardwareZone). 

I'll go out on a limb and say this will put you in good stead surviving in a new country, and hope you continue to represent the Gen Y against the negative stereotypes about lazy Gen Y-ers that have been perpetuated by insecure Gen X-ers looking over their shoulders. 

As far as factual advice goes, its quite straightforward. Based on a quick search and as far as we know, Interior Designer is on the Supplementary Skilled List for the State Nomination List in South Australia, which unfortunately, means that you have to meet additional (higher) requirements listed in the second link. The first link (click on the tab "Supplementary Skilled List") also provides the list of occupations. 

You did mention your fiancee studied in Brisbane. If her occupation is on the skilled list, that might be a better option because she would be able to meet the points requirement more easily if she has studied for more than 2 years in Australia.

As for South Australia, unfortunately in terms of economic growth it doesn't have the best of reputations, but don't let that stop you and the lifestyle there is really up to each individual. In Australia, people value their leisure and family time but people work damn hard as well. As long as you are not a wanker and criticize people for being "lazy", people do appreciate your effort and work ethic. Also I've never lived in South Australia so I don't think its fair to make a pre-emptive judgement. 

Satki Yoda

asingaporeanson's reply

Hi G,

You cannot touch your CPF until you are take up citizenship of another country. A permanent residency is not citizenship. To be an Australian citizen, you need to be a Permanent Resident and live in Australia for at least 4 years, excluding the time you travel out of Australia. So if you are thinking about moving to Australia, don't even think about using the CPF as part of your budgeting. This is a good opportunity to remind Singaporeans that the CPF is our money but it has been reworked such that it isn't quite so. #hardtruths. 70% of our fellow Singaporean voters approved of this. I hope you are not one of them. Self pwnage is not pretty to look at up close.

You don't have $10,000 now (and you didn't tell me how much you have) but you are dealing with these sums

$5-6k (your estimate) for PR application - I will suggest applying it yourself instead of relying it on the agent. It shouldn't come up to this figure if you DIY.

$1k for your banquet table - You forgot clothes. Singaporeans buy lotsa clothing for weddings.

1.5k for a photoshop in Taiwan - I hope you included air ticket, accommodation and cup noodles in that budget.

In summary:

Fund: $10,000
Expenses: $7,500
Balance: $2,500

The situation doesn't look good. Even if I sell your my $1,250 car (Lucky Brian) for $1,000, you will be left with $1,500 to survive before you find a job here if you move to Australia today. So your decisions and actions are critical to your project from today onward. If you want to empower your money accumulation ability, you can consider these,

The power of two

My wife and I combined our war chest and merged our bank account into one. There are no more secrets between us anymore. Every spending can be audited as and when necessary. There are discussions over every odd purchase, other than living expenses. When I mean living expenses, I don't mean movies. I mean food. By the power of two, the figure can grow faster if both sides remind each other to be prudent, such as taking wedding photos at Pulau Ubin instead. With 2 pairs of eyes watching 1 account carefully, it cannot do worse than before.

Trust me, it works.

Change your job

Fuck your passion!

This is Singapore so get real. Imagine if my passion is to lay beautiful brick walls. Am I going to even survive in Singapore by choosing brick laying as my trade? No. You will probably see my kids knocking on your door selling ice cream. This is the time to face the harsh reality of Singapore. If you are not in the mainstream occupations, you rot in hell and 70% of the Singaporeans don't give a fuck.

Let me share with you a short story about my friend, Mr Thomas Lim. This gentleman used to drive a taxi in Singapore. Today he is a full fledged photographer in Australia, based on Melbourne. He is on a rising trajectory in his career, winning awards, making a name for himself and has been invited to give talks about photography to students. I have no doubt he will be a well known name in his industry in future. He is the man who waited. Should Thomas insisted to pursue his photography passion in Singapore, he may not be where he is today. 

Interior design cannot get you to your goal today. It is not on the SOL, so it won't take you here, nor it is paying you enough (as you suggested) to let you save enough to survive your early days here.

All is not lost because you are young. You will be able to get a maximum of 30 points as long as you launch your application at age 32. Thus you have 5 years to get this done. Joining the construction industry will help you tremendously. With a Civil & Structural Diploma from Singapore Polytechnic, you should not have problems getting it recognised by Australia (pls do your homework on this), that will yield you 10 points under the "An award or qualification recognised by the assessing authority in the assessment of the skilled occupation" section.

That will leave you with the last piece of puzzle, getting into a skilled occupation on the SOL. [link] Please read the SOL and take your pick among the possible jobs you should be taking up, such as QS, PM, Construction Manager, Construction Engineer etc. Join small local firms if you must, even if you are going to be exploited being paid low for high responsibilities. What you want is a portfolio. Don't worry about not being paid that much because in this industry, you are not going to have the time to spend any money anyway. Don't let up on your Power of Two account and watch it grow over these 3 years in construction.

By the end of 3 years at 30 years old, you will be getting:

30 points for your age
20 points for IELTS (you better brush up in the meantime)
10 points for your Diploma (pls find out if SP's dip is recognised or not)
5 points for your 3 years working experience
Total: 65 points

It is healthy. You may even have the flexibility of slipping up on your IELTS by taking 5 extra points from a State Sponsorship (easy for construction related jobs) to cover the shortfall.

Under the current points system, you will be qualified to sent in an EOI. Though you will be putting yourself the risk of your occupation being taken out of the SOL, it beats your current situation of getting a PR through CSOL. Though Interior Designer is on the general CSOL, the last time I check, I can't find a particular state sponsoring Interior Designers. You can do a check and see if I'm wrong. If I'm not, your application through the CSOL will be wobbly at best but don't let me stop you if you think it can work out. My suggestion will give you a much firmer chance of getting a PR, though a delayed route.

In the meantime, both your wife and yourself will be accumulating as much cash as you can. In 3-4 years, you will definitely have enough to take along that will ensure your survival in Australia.

Then you can pursue Interior Design in Australia if you want. Do not mistake procrastination with delayed gratification. You need to hold back your plans for good reasons. This isn't lazy procrastination. You need to put aside your passion for the greater goal. This is delayed gratification.

Nobody said emigration is easy. That said, it can be done with a lot of discipline and commitment. This 3 years will allow you to cool down and think. Working in the construction line will probably convince you further why you have to leave or stay. It fortified my determination to leave. I did exactly that and I know it works. I am after all your senior in that same Block 3A many, many years before you.

I have walked my own path. One day, it may be your turn. It is up to you. Who knows, one day you may be giving talk about your passion to a lecture hall full of students like an ex taxi driver in Singapore.


  1. Bloody Gen Ys....... As we from the older generation always like to complain.

    However it is important that you reassess what is essential as compared to what is important but not essential.

    Coming from a generation where owning a mobile phone and a personal computer is a rare thing in the 20s, I would say there is always possible to cut expenses in you sit down and work it out on paper.

    It is not as if you cannot own a laptop or mobile but is it necessary to upgrade to the latest or go on the popular mobile plan (or even things like photo shoot in Taiwan in the first place if your employment is not stable) though of course a wedding is not a one person arrangement.

    Certainly you may have decided after the GE result though I seriously doubt that you can honestly expect any change to your personal circumstances regardless of the outcome. Did you really think you will stay if PAP loses more seats?

    Anyway, your immediate problems are both money and qualification which will be difficult to manage if you expect to be the main applicant for migration; you future wife may have better prospects in getting the PR and perhaps saving more money by cutting expenses to bare bone and pooling your funds with other relatives will get you over the cost plus a sum to live off for 3 to 6 months while she find work.

    Unless you are crying poor by exaggeration, your road to Oz as a migrant will be a long and tough one, and it will be good if you find family and friends to help you along the way to share the pain.

  2. My 2 cents (from a single unmarried 39 yr old man)

    Skip your wedding shoot in Taiwan. Frankly if you are planning to migrate to Australia and on a budget, don't waste your money on Weddings photos. Channel those limited resources to your migration.

    A couple of mine once told me that the wedding photos they took were only "viewed" for a year and then the photos were chucked into storage. Wedding photos are also usually shown to guests at your wedding dinner but it sound like you are not going to invite that many people to your wedding dinner.

    So what the point of spending 1.5k on something so fleeting? Plus I am sure you would incur more expenditure when you are in Taiwan. I don't know why but this part of your letter to Nix really sound so weird to your main plan that I needed to reply (and I never reply anything to this blog that I frequent).

    1. I'll bet your cock the Taiwan photoshoot is what the girl wants.

      Poor G should get out more to know more chicks - some of them would be happy to elope with a decent guy and screw all those dinners and photos.

    2. If the girl is the main applicant, suck thumb!

  3. Hi GL, I don't usually reply on Nix's blog unless he try to sell Melbourne to everyone, you see, we are a little overcrowded here. So hope you are reading this.

    Anyway, since he mentioned my name, I shall say something about passion and photo shoot (congrats anyway). It's good you plan years ahead for your migration, not like most who are trying to come over the next day or week.

    First, listen to Nix, FUCK your passion, for the time being. Don't ever mix work and passion together. Work is when you are doing it for others in exchange for food on table, rental, internet bill, rego and so on. Passion is when you are doing something for yourself in exchange for a pat on the shoulder, a few more "likes" on Facebook and probably orgasm. For example, Nix is not a full time blogger, he has his work which could be boring, tiring or demanding. This blog is about passion, passion for writing and sharing. Not sure if he get an orgasm too often though.

    In Singapore, creative lines are screwed, big time. For instance in photography, any bloody camera owner can be a photographer and any bloody camera owner with a Facebook Page can be a professional photographer. Everything is governed and controlled, how to think out of the box? I'm not an ID but frankly, who needs an ID from Singapore designing HDB flats to do the work here? So forget about your passion now, work towards your goals and have plan A, B and C. If all failed, Majulah Singapura!

    Second thing, your wedding shoot in Taiwan. Come on, if you can come to Australia, why waste that money on a photo shoot and Taiwan? Just do it at Pulau Ubin! I don't do wedding shoot but I do know that Taiwan wedding shoot is already outdated! That dreamy feel and style, so cheesy! So save that money, wedding is between you and your wife, wedding shoot can be done anytime, think of the life ahead, not at that moment. Facebook wedding photos can wait, your future can't.

    Lastly, I will share with you something I told my photography students. Passion is not enough in photography, without determination, passion is nothing.

    Good luck with your planning, your wedding shoot in Tasmania is not far away :)

    Thomas Lim
    Ex-Taxi Uncle

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  5. Dear Garrett
    After having read, I think Nix's plan to go back to your civ engrg roots is more feasible for you, unless your fiancee's profession is smack on the SOL, like Accountant. Don't be on the wrong side of age and looking back wishing you had taken the chance.

  6. 4-5k for PR application is probably not enough. When I did mine just in 2013, my visa already costs about 3.5k for the main applicant. Spouse rate is half of that. That's not including all the documents preparation (certified true copies, postage to Oz, police clearance, medical checks etc.), assessment fees & professional body licence fees. Even taking out my migration agent fees, I paid probably close to 8k.

    Save as hard as you can. The money will come in handy.

  7. Good luck, the faster you manage to find a way the better.

    Is there an under 30 work holiday visa? You should consider that, channeling you 1.5k to buy 2 budget ticketsto land your ass In auz.

    start with working in vine yards, taking hard work together as a couple.

    selfies with your fiancee would mean more when 50 years on later you look at the hardships u endured together.

    when u have auz experience, weekly spendtime writing Iin for jobs, get your current auzzie to give a good testimonial to support you.

    only a Chinaman will trust acChinaman. Same same... Theyllike wise will trust theirpeers .

    If all else fails, it'sa good opportunity to gain some real experience on life, hardships and resilience before retrograding back to sg.

    These life experiences will testify your character that you are a go getter and take what you want.

    what you painted IMHO is a typical singaporean wanting to have the cake and eat it.

    Life is not perfect, hence if it was u wouldn'twant to leave sg.

    you don'thave kids yet, this Iis still a viable option.

    I am marriedwith 3 kids, middle income can only see and dream.

    I am only in csol list making it impossible to get it less the mandatory investment route which I have no resources.