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How to earn while you study abroad in Singapore

Singapore offers a number of part-time work opportunities. Start making money even when you are studying!

Mahesh Ramani

If you know a foreign language like German, Spanish, French or Russian and proficient in the language, you can get translation assignments or an opportunity to work as an interpreter. This pays well.

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The last decade has well and truly seen the rise of Singapore as a popular education hub. If we examine the QS World University Rankings - Asia for the past few years; we can clearly see how institutions from Singapore have risen up the rankings. This article will offer insights into the various part-time work opportunities available for students in Singapore.

Life in Singapore:

Singapore is a city-state and well-connected to India by air from all major Indian cities. Institutions like NUS and Nanyang Technological University are extremely popular among Indian students. A large existing expatriate community of Indians and a strong migrant labour force that comprises Indians make it easy for students to feel that they have never left India at all. To top it all, there is an area in Singapore, which is known as ‘Little India’, full of establishments managed by Indians. With a strong public transport system and the reliable Mass Rapid Transit System train network; travel is comfortable.

One very strong feature of Singapore is the effective governance. Citizens take pride in their country and there is respect for law and order. The government in turn ensures that the citizens receive the best possible care.

Guidelines for Students Opting for Part-Time Jobs:

Most institutions have their own fixed rules and guidelines about their international students working on part-time jobs. As per the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) of the Singapore Government during term time, international students cannot work for more than 16 hours a week. Anything more than 16 hours a week requires a special work permit.
The point to remember here is that your primary duty is to secure your degree with a good academic score; not to slog away at a part-time job while your grades go down!

Popular Jobs:

Some of the popular part-time jobs that Indian students can find in Singapore are:

  • Data-entry operators - if you have good typing skills this is the perfect job for you.
  • Waiters in restaurants - basic pay and quite labour-intensive.
  • If you are good at cooking, you can fancy being a chef’s apprentice; quite a few family-run Indian restaurants employ students from India.
  • If you know a foreign language like German, Spanish, French or Russian and are proficient in the language, you can get translation assignments or an opportunity to work as an interpreter. This pays well.
  • You can also try your luck within your university/college to check if any opportunities are available. It could be as mundane typing the names of all students who have enrolled in that particular year; or be an exciting task of working in the library, auditing all the books and magazines and arranging them properly.
  • If you are really keen on a part-time job you can enroll your name with the Careers Team of your institution and keep checking for updates. You should also check with local businesses like cafes, restaurants, super-markets if they are looking to hire students for part-time jobs and apply for relevant jobs. 


The pay depends on the nature of your work and any additional benefits that you may get. If you work at a restaurant you may get your dinner free every night! If you are working at a super-market, your employer may offer you additional discounts on the grocery and merchandise that you buy from there. Students may earn from $1000 to $2500 a month.


A lot of opportunities are available for graphic designers and programmers. If you choose to work freelance, you may actually be able to work from the comfort of your hostel-room with a laptop and working internet connection. There are a number of MBA students who having worked for a few years in various roles in the IT industry, do this freelance work while in Singapore and make a fair amount of money.

Working after Graduation:

A majority of the postgraduate programmes and some undergraduate programmes offered by institutions in Singapore include an internship as a part of the curriculum. This has students working usually for about two or three months allowing them to apply their skills. A number of students complete the internship with great success and are offered a full-time role by the company, applicable after the students graduate successfully.

On receiving a full-time job offer, you should apply for a relevant Employment Pass and then work. The Singapore government works in a truly efficient manner and if all your papers are in place, you can receive your Employment Pass without any hassle.

Singapore is definitely going to continue to increase in popularity as a higher education destination among students from India. The ‘value for money’ aspect, quick travelling time, strong Indian roots and numerous job opportunities for students work in favour of Singapore.

We hope that you found this article useful. Please feel free to share your thoughts in the ‘Comments’ section below.


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