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A Comprehensive Guide on How to Become an Foreign Nurse in Singapore


There is no doubt that many nurses would choose to work in Singapore as it is claimed to be one of the safest places in the world. Aside from that, the government is very strict with their laws, including traffic laws, therefore there is little to no traffic in the country, making it a very convenient place to live in. However, one factor that would definitely convince you to choose to work in Singapore as a nurse, if you hope to go overseas, is its proximity to the Philippines. Singapore is definitely the country you could choose to become a nurse in if you hope to start a nursing career, but you are not emotionally and financially ready to leave your family behind. 

Some nurses also choose to work in Singapore due to the increasing demand for nurses in the country, and the attractive salary. The only required examination to be qualified is the SNB licensure exam, unlike other countries, which require multiple exams.

About the Country

Singapore is a city-state situated at the southern end of the Malay Peninsula. It is approximately 137 kilometers north of the equator. As a result, the country experiences a tropical climate wherein there is a high temperature all year round. It also has a high humidity and great amounts of rainfall. The warmest months are June and July, whereas the monsoon season often lasts from November through December. 

Singapore is known as a very modern and clean country. Its location has allowed it to prosper in trade and finance. Therefore, it has become the fifth wealthiest country in the world based on GDP. In addition, the country is the home of the fourth largest foreign exchange trading center in the world. The cost of living in the country is also relatively high. In fact, the 2012 Mercer cost of living survey showed that Singapore was a part of the top ten most expensive cities in the world to live in. 

Singapore is also known for being an authoritarian state, due to its strictly followed laws. However, these are what keeps the city safe, clean, and orderly. With this, there is a very low crime and violence rate in the country. In fact, during night time, the streets are incredibly safe. 

Based on the Singapore Nursing Board (SNB), there are approximately 7,600 Filipino nurses working in the country. This is around 18 percent of the total nursing workforce in Singapore. With this, you could feel less anxious working in a different country, knowing that there are other Filipinos with you. You could also join the Philippine Nurses Association Singapore, where you can meet other Filipino nurses in the country.

Type of Nurses

There are two types of nurses in Singapore: Registered Nurses (RN), and Enrolled Nurses (EN). Advanced Practice Nurses (APN), on the other hand, are known to be a subcategory of registered nurses in Singapore. 

Registered Nurses

The four career options for a Registered Nurse are Management, Education, Clinical Nursing, and Nursing Research. The management track allows registered nurses to become a Nurse  Manager, where they will be in control of personnel allocation, job appraisal, and policy review. With the education track, a Registered Nurse could work at healthcare institutions as a nurse educator, or at schools as a lecturer. The clinical nursing track allows a Nurse Clinician to collaborate closely with patients to develop and implement appropriate care and treatment plans to aid in the management of acute and chronic illnesses. A Nurse Clinician can also train to become an Advanced Practice Nurse and assist in the training of other nurses and healthcare professionals (APN). Lastly, in the field of nursing research, the major responsibilities of a registered nurse are planning, initiating, and facilitating nursing research. 

Enrolled Nurses 

Enrolled nurses (EN) work under the supervision of a registered nurse, wherein they provide assistance and support in delivering patient care. An EN could advance to the position of a senior enrolled nurse, which would allow them to take on more nursing responsibilities. 

Advanced Practice Nurses (APN) 

Advanced Practice Nurses (APN) offer a wide range of medical services. They collaborate with doctors and other healthcare professionals to give patients with sophisticated nursing care. They employ advanced evaluation and clinical abilities to foresee and handle difficult circumstances, as well as delivering therapies to treat current and anticipated health problems. They also help to build evidence-based practice by combining theoretical and practical knowledge to affect nursing, health care, and policy creation at the local and national levels. APNs can specialize in a variety of subjects. Acute, medical or surgical care, community, and mental health are the four specialties in which they are currently qualified. Acute-care APNs work in intensive-care units and emergency departments.


In Singapore, RN with diplomas receive an average monthly salary of $2,500 (₱101,535.15), whereas RN with degrees receive an average monthly salary of $3,500 (₱142,149.21). The average monthly salary of an EN is said to be around $1,800 (₱73,105.31).

Different management groups known as “clusters”, such as the National University Health System (NUHS), SingHealth, National Healthcare Group (NHG), and NTUC Health Co-Operative (which manages outpatient clinics) oversee Singapore government hospitals. The Singapore Healthcare Services Employees’ Union (HSEU) negotiates price ranges for nurses in various healthcare clusters and institutions. The following salary ranges are based on HSEU agreements with NUHS, SingHealth, NHG, and NTUC Health Co-Operative. The agreements with NUHS, SingHealth, and NHG ran from April 1, 2018 to March 31, 2020, while the one with NTUC Health Co-Operative is effective from January 1, 2020 to December 31, 2022. 
NUHS Enrolled Nurses II and SingHealth’s Enrolled Nurses II earn a salary range of $1,700 (₱69,043.9) to $2,800 (₱113,719.37).

Demand for Nurses

According to the Ministry of Health (MOH), as of 2020, there are 42,000 nurses working in Singapore, in which 1,400 of these nurses are new. With the ongoing pandemic and aging society, demands for nurses have increased. Despite the fact that nurses make up the biggest professional group of healthcare professionals in Singapore, there are still not enough of them in the country.

Working Conditions

The maximum working hours per week for nurses are 42 hours for regular shifts, 40 hours for rotating shifts, and 38 or 40 hours (depending on hospitals) for permanent night shifts, according to HSEU agreements with NUHS, SingHealth, and NHG.


The hospitals in Singapore are classified into three major categories: General Hospitals, Specialist Hospitals, and Community Hospitals. These are then further divided into two classifications: being public or private institutions. Public hospitals are those that are owned by the Singapore government or another public entity, whereas private hospitals are those that are profit-driven and are owned by private businesses. 

General Hospitals

General hospitals provide acute tertiary care, which include full medical facilities, specialists, and related support services. Below is a list of General Hospitals in Singapore.

Public General Hospitals

Private General Hospitals

Specialized Hospitals 

Specialist hospitals and institutions, as well as specialist medical centers specializing in the treatment of certain disorders, provide specialized treatment and healthcare. Below is a list of Specialized Hospitals in Singapore.

Public Specialized Hospitals

Private Specialized Hospitals

Community Hospitals 

Community Hospitals and Institutions are smaller hospitals that specialize in rehab, preventative medicine, and geriatric care. Some are semi-public hospitals that are partially supported by the government and administered by charity or religious organizations. Below is a list of Community Hospitals in Singapore.

In order to be able to work as a nurse in the Singapore, you must fulfill the following qualifications:

Educational Requirement

In order to become a registered nurse, an individual must withhold a diploma in nursing, a diploma in health sciences (nursing), an accelerated diploma in nursing or a degree in nursing from any institution recognized by the MOH.


Based on the Nurses and Midwives Act (Chapter 209), in order to be eligible to practice nursing or midwifery in Singapore, an individual must be registered and enrolled with the Singapore Nursing Board (SNB), and must hold a valid Practicing Certificate (PC). For SNB to consider the application, a foreign nurse must already have an offer of employment with an eligible healthcare institution in Singapore. The hospital or institution offering the applicant with employment must enquire with SNB through email about their ability to hire foreign-trained nurses. HRs can then submit an application for registration or enrollment on the applicant’s behalf using an online application once authorized.

To ensure that the applicant is registered as a nurse/midwife and that no disciplinary actions have been taken or are being taken against the individual, a verification of registration must be completed from the nursing registration authority in the country where the applicant was first registered as a nurse, and from each nation and nursing registration authority where the applicant had practiced nursing/midwifery (if applicable).

In addition, a verification of the presented transcripts of nursing education will also be required to ensure that the applicant has really acquired nursing education from the institution listed on the application form. 

A fee of SGD60 for the application of foreign nurses is required, as of 2021. 

Once the application has been approved, candidates for the Licensure Examination will get a letter from SNB,informing them of their examination date and location.


SNB Licensure Exam

Included in the registration process are the licensure examinations. The licensure exam is designed to evaluate and measure the competency of individuals to practice nursing or midwifery in Singapore. Different exams are given to Registered Nurses, Enrolled Nurses and Registered Midwives, respectively.

SNB Registered Nurses Exam

The SNB Registered Nurse (SNB-RN) exam was created to assess the abilities and knowledge of Singaporean nurses. Exams like this one guarantee that only the most competent experts are allowed to work with patients. Professional growth, leadership and nursing management, care management, and the legal, ethical, and professional obligations of nurses are among the exam themes. 

SNB Enrolled Nurses Exam

The SNB Enrolled Nurses (SNB-EN) exam was created to assess the competency of Singaporean healthcare workers. The administration of care, professional growth, and the professional, legal, and ethical standards of nursing are all covered in this test. 

SNB Advanced Practice Nurses Exam

The SNB Advanced Practice Nurses (SNB-APN) exam was created to assess the skills of Singapore’s healthcare personnel. Professional, legal, and ethical nursing practice are among the test subjects, as well as management.

Make sure to prepare all the necessary documents and requirements stated above, to ensure that the application process will run smoothly. Study for the tests, and take them carefully to get a high score. Afterwards, once you are deemed as eligible to work in the country, you’re ready to become a foreign nurse in Singapore!


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