Wednesday, September 27, 2023

Digital Nomad in APAC

 Some people find it being a digital nomad is the best option to work. Since Covid-19 Pandemic, remote working, aka WFH is the next best thing for work life. But there are some downside if you just WFH and lack the social skills.

So thus, many opt for the Digital Nomad hot desking at remote locations worldwide. Me too, despite based in London, I am happy in Sunny Singapore, with services and facilities available 24/7 for the most time of it.

Getting to work is one thing, but making sure you comply with the local law is another. Despite many people loving Singapore, they have a strict law regarding immigration as many thought they can do the normal "Visa Runs". Even Singaporeans sometimes run foul of the laws in Malaysia by living there continuously or even daily commute.

Malaysia: They have a new program called DE Rantau by MDEC , which is the Malaysian Digital Economy Corporation. However, you may be subjected to Malaysian tax regimes which as a foreigner, is as high as 28% since the Ringgit is very weak *(RM4.70-USD/RM3.40-SGD) and with average pay in Singapore for newly graduate IT Tech Support L1 is about USD29K a year, the tax would be about RM11,000 or USD 2500 *(roughly 10%) vs people like me, will be paying about 20% in Income Tax.

In a professional view, a Junior IT Engineer, will be earning S$5000+ *(S$60,000++pa) have to pay about RM 55,000 *(SG$15,000) in Malaysian tax compared to about S$2,700 in Singapore alone. Assumption is Single without any deductibles available.

Cost in Malaysia is very cheap! RM1500 in JB will get a good guarded condominium with gym etc whereas average like-for-like in Singapore will set you off for $4500 *(RM15k)

But the red tapes...oh my's never an easy thing. Singapore is digitised. But..they do not really welcome nomads. You need a working permit etc if you wish to stay longer. Else, stay in Batam.

Malaysia on the otherhand, the fees are about RM2000 +RM3000 for the security bond. You can bring your kids too, but all in all, getting a professional visa is far cheaper, when starting a company cost about RM4000++, and the visa fees are similar but you get to stay for 3 to 5 years.

I will go into depth in  another article


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