Islandstyle28th Jul 2018
Kids are finished school and you’ve managed to retire from your job, so why not live the dream? Retire to a tropical island paradise with turquoise waters, clear skies, white beaches and swaying palm trees.
It’s so clichéd there has to be a catch. Like your momma always told you – if it sounds too good to be true, it’s probably not. Good or true.
Well, that all depends on which island you choose, so the good news is – it is possible. Not only possible but very practical. Mauritius is becoming quite the desirable retirement destination. True!
Firstly, it really does live up to the fantasy. Beautiful beaches, amazing sunrises and sunsets, diving, snorkelling and other great water sports, golf, hiking, mountain biking and even horse riding. Yes, cantering along the sand, palm trees in the background, wind in your hair and salt spray on your face – that’s something out of everyone’s bucket list. It’s a tropical island with spice and tea plantations, markets overflowing with fresh fruit and veggies, vast amounts of super-fresh seafood and a mouthwatering Creole cuisine that combines the best aspects of African, Asian and European cooking traditions. It may be a fantasy, but it is all true, and you can make it happen.
And the living is easy …
It sounds very romantic to sleep on the beach hunting fish and picking coconuts but, when you get to a certain age, you require a few special comforts – like living under a roof. So the good news is there are a number of great new residential developments all centred around developing mixed-use precincts. These are all part of Mauritius’ strategy to develop the urban parts of the island as interconnected smart cities that facilitate easy living, working, commuting and communicating, while leaving the beautiful beaches, mountains and countryside green and gorgeous.
And one of these is the iconic mixed-use Moka City. Situated about 12 km from the capital, and close to the airport, this is a smart mixed-use development centred around an existing village and ex sugar factory. It’s a smart-city development with integrated transport systems, extensive fibre-optics and WiFi, and fabulous restaurant, retail and recreational facilities. There is a retirement element planned for Moka City, where residents will be able to rent or buy freehold homes. There are no life right developments in Mauritius.
There are two private hospitals in close proximity, doctor’s rooms in the main centres, and a number of wellness centres for a bit of pampering. Frail care and home nursing facilities are being developed both at Moka City and in the rest of Mauritius, as the existing population ages, and more people choose to retire to the island.
And there’s more good news.
- English is the official language
- The crime rate is very low – especially the violent crime
- Mauritius has excellent air travel connections to the rest of the world, so it will be easy for family to fly in and And the beaches and all the other paradise-type attractions will make it more likely that they will want to visit.
There are a number of ways you can retire to Mauritius.
- The easiest is Residence by You would have to buy a property of at least US$500,000, which will get you a residence permit that is valid for as long as you own the property. If you choose this route, you can work, earn money and/or start a business in Mauritius regardless of your age.
- Or, if you are over 50, you could make an initial deposit of US$40,000, and commit to depositing an additional US$40,000 annually, which can be paid This will get you a three-year renewable residence permit for retired people, but you will not be able to do any paid work, or have any income from Mauritius-based enterprises. You can, however, invest in a Mauritian company as a minority shareholder, and even be a non-executive director, as long as you don’t work.
If you want to earn money in Mauritius, you will need an occupation permit, which is granted in three categories – investor, professional or self-employed.
- For investors, the business activity should generate a turnover exceeding MUR 4 million annually, for each investor, with an initial investment of US$100,000 per investor – or its equivalent in freely convertible foreign currency.
- Professionals would need to earn a basic salary exceeding MUR 60,000 per month, except for ICT professionals, who need a minimum basic monthly salary of MUR 30,
- Self-employed individuals would need to make an initial investment of US$35,000, and must generate a minimum of MUR 600,000 annually for the first two years of activity.
Mauritius is rapidly developing into a major financial sector with a sophisticated banking industry, and an investor-friendly tax structure, so moving to the island can be financially stress-free.
- There is no exchange control, and no limits on the amount of money you may take into or out of Mauritius.
- But be aware that you can take only R5 million per person per year out of South Africa.
- If you have residence as a retired person, you can invest in property in Mauritius below the US$500,000 minimum set for residence by If you rent it, you will be taxed.
- Mauritius has a flat personal tax rate of 15%.
- Mauritius has a tax treaty with South Africa (and 42 other countries) that allows for residents to legally avoid paying double So, if you have income from offshore investments or enterprises, you will only be taxed once – either here or there.
- In order to be tax-domiciled in Mauritius, you need to spend a minimum of 183 days per year on the island.
Make it happen
Yes, you can live in a tropical paradise, but why not try before you buy. It’s not exactly a hardship to take a week or two holiday in Mauritius, and that way you can check out the options. And if you decide to take the leap, the process can be quite stress- free, as the developers have done this a few times before, and there are freight companies with lots of experience in moving to Mauritius. You can even take your pets, but they will be subject to quarantine. Hey, you can even take your own horse for cantering down the beach, as Mauritius has world-class equine quarantine facilities that cater to the vast number of hyper-expensive race horses and competition mounts imported into, or exported from, Africa. Just another little surprise from an island that will constantly amaze you.