Many South Africans are now choosing to move to Mauritius more than ever before, either for vacation, business purposes, investment, buying a property in Mauritius, or to retire in Mauritius there.
The question is, why Mauritius?
First of all, Mauritius is a very beautiful country having numerous white beaches, a good climate, and different types of outdoor fun activities.
The economy in the country is also favorable for anyone who wants to own a business. The good thing is that for any type of investment, whether in real estate, the stock market, or any other sector, the process is straightforward, quick, and affordable. The tax system is also something attractive for both citizens and non-citizens. These, among many others, are the reasons why many south Africans, among other foreigners, are moving to the country.
If you want to move to Mauritius as a South African with a plan to invest in real estate.
Here is everything you need to know and consider.
Any person who wants to enter the country must have a valid passport. In the absence of a passport, one must produce any other travel document provided by their government to establish identity and nationality.
However, it must be approved by the passport officer. If you are using a travel document instead of a passport, you need to apply for an entry visa. The body that is authorized to deal with passport provision and immigration services is the passport and immigration office. It is one of the segments of Mauritius Police Force being headed by the Commissioner of Police.
The body controls all arrivals and border management tasks while enforcing all immigration rules, such as visa processing and permit issuance. While most people traveling to Mauritius need to obtain a visa before entering the country, South Africans do not need one.
However, this exemption only applies when traveling for tourism, visiting, or business purposes lasting 90 days. If the visit is more than 90 days, every South African needs to apply for a visa and necessary permits.
A visa is an official document that approves one’s application to enter the country after a thorough review by the immigration officer. Application for visas and extensions of the same is issued to the bearer free of charge in Mauritius.
Exemptions from the visa requirement:
- Any spouse of a Mauritian citizen
- Children of a Mauritian or a spouse of Mauritian citizen
- Mauritian residents
- People who hold diplomatic passports except those issued from Libya, Afghanistan, Somalia, Iraq, Iran, Sudan, Yemen, and South Sudan.
- or traveling in a vessel either to connect with another vessel or to deliver the goods and turn back
- People who hold a laissez passer
- If you travel to the country for any reason without a visa yet your country is not exempted, you will be deported back to your country at the transporting carrier’s cost.
- Overstaying your visa may mean facing a trial by the court of law.
- Your tourist visa cannot be changed into a student or work permit. You must apply for these permits separately before traveling.
- Those entering the country to get married or celebrate their marriage must fulfill all the Civil Status Act requirements.
- South Africans who want to do business can apply for an occupation permit through the Board of Investment.
Visa application can be made from any Mauritius diplomatic representative, embassies, consulates, or Air Mauritius Office.
Property for Sale in Mauritius
Mauritius’ property market is one of the best in Africa. And both citizens and foreign nationals can venture into the lucrative sector.
One of the reasons why many people are buying property in Mauritius, especially foreigners, is the relaxed laws. South Africans are some of the nationalities taking advantage of this change, investing in residential and commercial real estate businesses.
If you buy a residential property in Mauritius under the Economic Development Board’s schemes, you can apply for Mauritius’s residence permit.
These schemes include the Property Development Scheme (PDS), Residential Estate Scheme (RES), and the Integrated Resort Scheme (IRS). And as long as the investment is above $375,000, your residency will be approved.
- IRS Scheme: This scheme allows foreigners to acquire residential and resort properties in particular locations. Usually, these villas come with recreational amenities such as marinas, golf courses, eateries, and gym facilities. You can reside in this property with your family as long as you retain its ownership
- RES scheme: This is a scheme that allows landowners to develop a property in a space less than 10 hectares and not more; otherwise, it might qualify it under the IRS scheme. RES property is also cheaper as compared to the IRS and has no minimum price bracket. However, if the price is more than 375,000, the owner can apply for a residence permit and live there with the family as long they maintain ownership.
- PDS scheme: This is a scheme that allows investors to buy, develop, and sell residential properties to citizens, foreigners, and people from the Mauritian diaspora. Under the PDS scheme guidelines, at least 25 percent of properties acquired must be sold to Mauritian citizens or Mauritian diaspora members. And as long as the amount is $375,000 or more, the owner can apply for a residence permit.
Also, a spouse of a person who has acquired a residence permit through property investment can start working or own a business without the need to apply for a work permit or occupation permit.
Buying property in Mauritius
In December 2017, the Mauritian government changed some of these laws to remove main restrictions on buying property by non-citizens under IRS, PDS, and RES schemes.
That said, South Africans now have a better position to buy Mauritius property because $375,000 was expensive for most of them. With a minimum of $135,000, a South African can buy property in the country.
Mauritian banks are also providing mortgage loans that are accessible to South Africans and other foreign investors. The interest rate ranges between 7 and 9 percent. Potential investors must pay at least 40 percent of the property price.
Other requirements include a valid tax clearance certificate, approval to make transfers from Reserve Bank. And an individual investment allowance of at least $600,000 every year. Every investor who wants to venture into property development must register with the Board of Investment in Mauritius to get a security clearance.
Buying property in Mauritius may provide you with a residence permit. But cannot automatically qualify you for a permanent residency permit. Nevertheless, you have a chance of buying a property in Mauritius. Which is one of the vast growing economies in the world.
Mauritius Property for Sale Beachfront
Beach fronts are common in Mauritius properties being an island country with a huge coastline. Those who want to buy properties in Mauritius for sale along these shorelines should invest under the Integrated Resort Scheme, allowing non-citizens to buy luxury villas with high-end amenities.
They are usually developed in large resorts, more than 10 hectares’ space. These properties may come with a marina, golf course, restaurants, shops, and wellness centers.
Owning an IRS means you are eligible to apply for a residence permit. And this gives you the right to buying a property in Mauritius under PDS, RES, HIS, Smart City, and Ground +2 schemes.
As long as you fulfill the requirements of investing in any of these schemes, chose your location wisely to ensure that your beachfront property is easy to sell or even rent out.
Residence Permit Mauritius
There are different ways a non-citizen can acquire a residence permit apart from Mauritius property investment.
Through employment in Mauritius
Any non-citizen who wants to work in the island country must have both a work permit and a residence permit. The work permit is issued from the Ministry of Labor, Industrial Relations, and Employment, while the Passport Immigration Office issues the residence permit.
Once you land a job in the country, your employer should start applying these documents. And after their approval, you can travel and start working. A parent who has a residence permit can travel with his family as long as he has documents to prove the family relationship. However, for any child who is above 18 years of age, they need to apply for their residence permit separately and produce a sponsoring letter from their parents. Note that an applicant in the country cannot work through a tourist visa until they exit the country and get themselves work and resident permit.
If you are applying from overseas, do not travel or take any step, such as buying a ticket until your work and resident permit are approved. An application form can be obtained from the passport and immigration office or online from their official website.
Through Occupation permit
The occupation permit is unique, combining both residence and work permit. It is an important document allowing a non-citizen to work and invest in the country under three options.
This is an owner, a shareholder, or a Mauritian company director formed under the Company’s Act 2001. Now, if you want to attain a residence permit through this option, you can invest approximately $50,000 by making a transfer to the bank account of the company you are interested in. The second option would be buying assets with a net value of $50,000 from Mauritius’s existing business. This business should have a turnover of approximately 300,000 in the past three years before you apply for a residence permit.
This is an expatriate working in the country under a contract of employment and as per the Immigration Act’s stipulations. The basic monthly salary for such a professional must be MUR 60,000 or more. However, professionals in specific sectors can earn at least MUR 30,000 per month but still qualify to apply for a residence permit. These include business process outsourcing, information communication technology, food processing, and pharmaceutical manufacturing.
A qualifying professional can also apply for a short-term occupation permit lasting for nine months. In case they need an extension for the same, it can be granted for a maximum of three months. An employer who plans to work with professionals is responsible for applying for their residency. Could be the HR, director, or a representative of the HR.
A professional can also invest in any business as long as he hasn’t got employment in that business. Does not manage it, and does not earn any income from this business. However, he can hold shares in a company he is working for as long as he doesn’t become a majority shareholder.
A non-citizen who is self-employed in Mauritius is involved in professional activity in the service industry only. He must register his activity with the Registrar of Businesses as per the Business Registration Act. Before working in the country as a self-employed professional, he must transfer at least $35,000 to his local bank account. Then operate his business as a one-person business activity. If he wants to renew his residence, the business must be generating MUR 800,000 every year from its third year in operation.
These are foreigners who are 50 years old and above. They must own a local bank account. And for the residency application, they need to transfer at least $1,500 to this account. After approval, they must transfer the same amounts every month or $18,000 every year for a ten-year resident permit. These retirees must prove to the economic development board of their bank transfers every year. A non-resident retiree can invest in a company as long as they are not working for this company. Do not manage it, or are not earning income.
Dependents of a resident or occupation permit holder consist of a spouse, a parent, and children, including those lawfully adopted and step-children as long as they are less than 24 years. They are all eligible to apply for a residence permit in Mauritius. Each dependent must have a valid tourist visa; otherwise, the application process will not happen. In case any of these wants to work in the country, they must apply for either work or occupation permits.
Can you get a permanent residency permit with a residence or occupation permit?
Any holder of occupation or resident permit is eligible to apply for permanent residency, which lasts for 20 years. However, the investors, professionals, self-employed, and retirees must hold their OP for at least three years and fulfill a specific income threshold for each of those three years.
Property to Rent in Mauritius
People who buy property in Mauritius, both citizens, and non-citizens, do it for different reasons, which determines the location of investment. If yours is to rent it out, you must apply for immovable property acquisition since this falls under-investment in commercial and business developments.
As the rental prices tend to rapidly increase, most foreigners are taking advantage of it by finding solutions to diversify their incomes and wealth. And with no tax on capital gains or earnings, it makes it a cost-effective way to buy Mauritius property for foreigners.
When you rent out your property, you become a tax resident in the country with no restrictions for repatriation of revenues earned from renting out or selling a property.