More South Africans than ever before are choosing to move to Mauritius for holidays, business, investment, buying property in Mauritius or retiring to Mauritius.
The question is, why Mauritius?
First of all, Mauritius is a very beautiful country with many white beaches, a good climate and various outdoor fun activities.
The country’s economy is also favourable for those who want to own a business. The good thing is that the process for any kind of investment, whether in property, the stock market or any other sector, is straightforward, quick and affordable. The tax system is also attractive for both citizens and non-citizens. These, among many other reasons, are why many South Africans and foreigners move to the country.
South African’s Guide: Invest & Move to Mauritius
Here is everything you need to know and consider.
Anyone wishing to enter the country must hold a valid passport. If you do not have a passport, you must present any other travel document issued by your government to prove your identity and nationality.
However, it must be approved by the passport officer. If you are using a travel document instead of a passport, you must apply for an entry visa. The body authorised to provide passport and immigration services is the Passport and Immigration Department. It is part of the Mauritius Police Force and is headed by the Commissioner of Police.
The department controls all arrivals and border management and enforces all immigration regulations, such as processing visas and issuing permits. While most people travelling to Mauritius require a visa before entering the country, South Africans do not.
However, this exemption only applies if the visit is for tourism, visiting or business purposes and does not exceed 90 days. If the visit is longer than 90 days, each South African must apply for a visa and the necessary permits.
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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 residence permit.
These schemes include the Property Development Scheme (PDS) (opens in a new tab), 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 in Mauritius 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. Here you will find more info on Retire in Mauritius.
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.
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Smart City Scheme Mauritius – Residence permits for themselves and family.
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.
This is if you plan to use a building or part of it to conduct business (opens in a new tab), such as operating your own entity, selling it, renting, or leasing it. Rental investment is gaining popularity in the country.
Property to Rent in Mauritius
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.
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Questions & Answer
Permanent Residency via Residence or Occupation Permit?
Any holder of an 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 occupation permit (OP) for at least three years and fulfill a specific income threshold for each of those three years.
How can South Africans buy property in Mauritius?
South Africans can purchase property through schemes like IRS, RES, PDS, and SCS, allowing freehold ownership and potential residency.
Minimum investment for Mauritius residency?
A minimum investment of USD 375,000 in approved real estate is required for South Africans to qualify for residency in Mauritius.
Tax benefits for South Africans in Mauritius?
Mauritius offers a low tax regime, including no inheritance or capital gains tax and a 15% income tax rate, benefiting South African investors.
Cost of living: Mauritius vs South Africa?
The cost of living in Mauritius can be higher for certain goods and services compared to South Africa, but varies with lifestyle choices.