The Mauritius government has introduced an Innovator Occupation Permit as a part of their strategic approach to bolster innovation and research & development activities in the country. This permit is aimed at startups and entrepreneurs focused on innovation and having R&D as a significant component (at least 20%) of their operations. This permit is issued for ten years, renewable thereafter, and has an application fee of USD 1,000.
For an applicant to qualify, they must present an innovative project for evaluation and approval to the Economic Development Board (EDB) or register with an incubator accredited with the Mauritius Research and Innovation Council. The detailed business plan should clarify the expenses related to R&D, constituting a minimum of 20% of total operational expenses during the research phase.
Acceptable R&D expenses can include staff costs, subcontracted costs, clinical trial volunteer costs, prototypes, software used directly in R&D, and other costs aimed at gaining new scientific or technical knowledge. However, costs for production and distribution of goods and services, capital expenditure, land cost, and expenses for patents and trademarks protection aren’t classified as R&D expenditure.
Applicants can start their application process online through the National Electronic Licensing System without the need to physically visit Mauritius. Prior to using this online platform, registration is mandatory for security and identification purposes.
All businesses established in Mauritius are required to file an annual return and taxes (if applicable) with the Mauritius Revenue Authority and the Corporate and Business Registration Department. Depending on the nature of the business, it may also require a clearance or license from the relevant public sector agency.
Foreign nationals are allowed to acquire residential property in Mauritius under certain schemes and these property owners are exempted from needing an Occupation or Work Permit to invest and work in Mauritius. Family members of these permit holders, including spouses, parents, and unmarried children are eligible to apply for a residence permit.
The application process involves uploading certain preliminary documents online for initial approval such as birth certificate, business plan, passport biodata page, and other relevant documents. Once approved in principle, other required documents and a processing fee need to be uploaded. Please note, all original documents must be presented on the appointment date.
The Economic Development Board charges no processing fees for the permits, only successful applicants are required to pay the statutory permit fees to the Government of Mauritius.