LIVING ON THE ISLAND Mark Twain, once said that “Mauritius was made first, then heaven was copied from it”, and anyone who has visited the island would no doubt agree with him. Mauritius is renowned as a dream holiday destination with white sandy beaches and blue lagoons. While this is still the case, with the growing number of foreigners settling in Mauritius, it is a fact that the island is also seen as the ideal place to set up your home. Indeed, with the introduction of pro-business and immigration policies in 2005 by the Government of Mauritius, foreign investors and professionals have since then availed of these opportunities and now live on the island while at the same time earning a living. Foreign retired nationals also enjoy an exquisite lifestyle on paradise island with special residence permits.
Mauritius, with its stunning natural beauty and thriving economy, has become an attractive destination for individuals seeking a new place to call home. Whether you’re looking for a peaceful retirement spot, a favourable tax environment, or a strategic base for international business, Mauritius offers a range of options for obtaining residence. In this article, we will explore the different pathways available for securing residence in Mauritius, providing you with a comprehensive overview of the possibilities.
Mauritius provides a unique opportunity for individuals seeking residence and employment in this tropical paradise. The Occupation Permit (OP) is a hybrid permit that combines both residency and work authorization, making it an appealing choice for professionals, self-employed individuals, and investors alike. It is a popular route for individuals looking to work and live in Mauritius. It is available to professionals, investors, and self-employed individuals who meet specific criteria. The various categories under the Occupation Permit include the Investor Permit, Professional Permit, and Self-Employed Permit. Each category has its own requirements and benefits, allowing individuals to choose the most suitable option based on their circumstances.
There are three distinct categories of the Occupation Permit, each catering to specific groups of individuals looking to establish themselves in Mauritius:
- Professional Occupation Permit:
The Professional Occupation Permit is designed for skilled professionals who wish to work in Mauritius. This permit is suitable for individuals who have secured employment with a Mauritian company or have been offered a job in a specific professional capacity. Applicants must possess relevant qualifications, skills, or expertise that are in demand in Mauritius. The Professional Occupation Permit allows individuals to work and reside in Mauritius for the duration of their employment contract.
2. Self-Employed Occupation Permit:
The Self-Employed Residence Permit in Mauritius is specially designed for entrepreneurs aiming to establish their business ventures on the island. To qualify, you must generate a total income of MUR 2.4 million (around $53 000) over a period of three years.
To embark on this option, you’ll need to open a bank account in Mauritius and make an initial investment of $35,000 USD or the equivalent amount in another freely convertible foreign currency. Once the initial transfer is completed, you’ll be required to demonstrate ongoing business activity. For the first two years, your business must generate an annual income exceeding MUR 600,000, and in the third year, it should reach a minimum of MUR 1,200,000).
- Investor Occupation Permit:
The Investor Occupation Permit is specifically designed for individuals who are keen on investing in Mauritius. This permit targets those who are interested in injecting capital into the Mauritian economy through various investment avenues. To qualify for the Investor Occupation Permit, applicants must meet the minimum investment thresholds set by the government. The investment can take the form of real estate acquisitions, shares in local businesses, contributions to the Mauritius Sovereign Wealth Fund, or investments in priority sectors such as hospitality, manufacturing, ICT, financial services, and renewable energy. The Investor Occupation Permit not only grants individuals the right to reside in Mauritius but also provides them with opportunities to actively participate in their chosen investment activities. This category offers investors the potential for long-term growth, favorable returns, and the ability to contribute to the country’s economic development. Additionally, holders of the Investor Occupation Permit can benefit from the country’s attractive tax regime, political stability, and business-friendly environment, making Mauritius an ideal destination for individuals seeking to invest and establish a solid presence in a strategic and thriving economy.
RESIDENCE BY REAL ESTATE SCHEMES IN MAURITIUS
Residence through Real Estate Schemes in Mauritius has been renewed, offering individuals an enticing opportunity to obtain residency by investing in the Integrated Resort Scheme (IRS) or the Real Estate Scheme (RES).
Originally, the minimum investment requirement was set at $500,000. However, this threshold has now been reduced to a minimum investment of $375,000, making it more accessible for prospective investors.
Under these schemes, applicants have the possibility of applying for Mauritian citizenship after seven years of permanent residence. However, individuals hailing from Commonwealth countries, such as the UK, Canada, or Australia, can qualify for citizenship after just five years.
For those seeking a faster citizenship option, a minimum investment of $500,000 allows applicants to apply for fast-track citizenship. However, it’s important to note that stricter physical presence requirements apply in this case.
Attaining Mauritian citizenship offers numerous advantages, including a robust passport with visa-free access to most European countries, the UK, Russia, China, and several southern African nations, including South Africa. However, if visa-free access to the Americas is a priority, alternative options should be considered. Nevertheless, Mauritius permits dual citizenship, making it an excellent choice for those seeking a second passport as a backup plan.
The choice between the IRS and RES largely depends on individual preferences and needs. While real estate investment may be the preferred route for some, others may opt for the company investment option, where a minimum investment of $375,000 is made in government-approved industries such as construction, tourism, or IT.
By considering the specific requirements, benefits, and long-term objectives, individuals can select the most suitable path to obtain residence in Mauritius and unlock the numerous advantages this remarkable island nation has to offer. Please note, however, that Mauritian citizenship is difficult to obtain and is not encouraged by the Government.
PROCESS TO APPLY FOR AN OCCUPATION PERMIT
The first step to applying for an Occupation Permit in Mauritius is to obtain a temporary residence permit. This initial permit is valid for one year and can be renewed for an additional year. You also have the option to apply for residence permits for your spouse and/or dependents, allowing your family to join you in Mauritius.
To qualify for a permanent residence permit, non-citizens must meet specific criteria. This includes being a resident for at least three years and demonstrating a minimum basic monthly income of MUR 150,000 over the three years prior to the application.
Once you have obtained the necessary residence permit, you can choose the appropriate Occupation Permit that aligns with your circumstances.
There are three types of Occupation Permits available:
- Professional Occupation Permit
- Self-Employed Occupation Permit
- Investor Occupation Permit
Among these options, the Investor Occupation Permit is often recommended due to its flexibility and relevance to many clients’ needs.
Speak to one of our team about the exciting property opportunities in Mauritius.