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6 New Year’s “Gifts” (Read: Policy Changes) To Kick Off 2020

As 2020 approaches, it’s the end of a decade and the start of something new. Here are 6 changes you can expect to see when the new decade arrives.

1. Digital taxation

Looks like Netflix and chill won’t be quite so chill anymore: Starting from next year, Netflix and other overseas digital services will be subject to GST just like local services.

2. More “free” money


Well, not quite free, but monthly CPF payouts for retirees will be increased from next year, with payouts lasting till age 90 instead of the current age of 95.

3. Higher Basic Healthcare Sum


Unfortunately, healthcare is becoming increasingly expensive these days. The Basic Healthcare Sum (estimated savings required for basic subsidised healthcare needs in old age) is being raised from $57,200 to $60,000 for CPF members aged 65 and below in 2020. Those who are already 66 and above in 2020 won’t be affected by this change, so their Basic Healthcare Sum will remain unchanged.

4. Minimum smoking age raised (again)


As part of Singapore’s endless battle against cigarettes, the minimum smoking age will be raised to 20 next year. The minimum smoking age was already raised once from 18 to 19 back in January, and the Ministry of Health plans to raise it to 21 in 2021. No word yet on whether this will become an annual tradition though… Guess we’ll have to wait for 2022 to find out.

5. Tighter foreign worker quota


To reduce reliance on foreign talent, the dependency ratio ceiling (or, in less cheem terms, proportion of foreign workers a company is allowed to employ) will be reduced from 40% to 38%. The same goes for S Pass workers, where employment quota will be cut from 15% to 13%, with a further decrease to 10% in 2021.

6. Fewer approved overseas medical schools


Future doctors beware: The number of approved overseas medical schools will be slashed from 160 to 103 at the start of next year. This means you’ll either have to study locally or choose from the newly shortened list of overseas schools for a valid practising license in Singapore.

Already studying at one of the 57 removed schools? Don’t sweat it; this policy only affects future students, so you can get back to pulling all-nighters and spilling coffee on your medical textbooks.

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