Why Mauritius tops expats’ wish list1st Nov 2018
For potential expatriates around the world Mauritius increasingly comes top on the list of their most favoured destinations. A coincidence? The lingering attraction of a renowned tourist getaway?
Not so much. For years now, the government of this tiny island nation has been working hard at putting the country on the wish list of would-be expatriates. Mauritius’s avowed open door policy is almost essential for attracting the skills the country needs, as well as to boost its local economy through investment and consumption by foreigners. If you’re thinking of moving abroad and wondering why you should seriously consider Mauritius, here are five good reasons.
An exceptional quality of life
Very few countries in the world can rival such a compelling offer:
- a safe and pleasant environment with a temperate climate all year round
- a bilingual (English and French) country with political and social stability
- a first-world infrastructure with excellent air, sea and internet connectivity
- good international schools and universities
- a plethora of leisure activitie
- and, last but not least, the hospitality of the Mauritian people, a nation born of immigration, and naturally well disposed towards foreigners.
Access to property
Four special schemes have been developed by the government of Mauritius to promote the acquisition of property by noncitizens. For three of these – the Property Development Scheme, Smart City Scheme and Invest Hotel Scheme – the minimum investment is set at US$500,000, and buyers are eligible for a residence permit. Many foreign property owners choose to join a rental pool, deriving income from their investment which will be subject to local income tax at 15%. On disposal of the property, there is no capital gains tax. There is also no inheritance tax in Mauritius. Coupling the property acquisition with the setting up of a trust under the Mauritius Trust Law is often an option chosen by foreigners.
An investor is defined as a shareholder and director in a company incorporated in Mauritius under the Companies Act of 2001. A foreign investor will be required to make an initial transfer of at least US$100,000. The investor’s business activity should generate an annual turnover of at least MUR 2 million* for the first year, and a cumulative turnover of at least MUR 10 million* for the subsequent two years. If there is more than one investor, the initial investment and annual turnover requirements will be a multiple of the number of investors. Companies can be 100% foreign-owned, and do not have any minimum capital requirement. Registering and incorporating a company with the Corporate and Business Registration Department is quick and easy. However, many foreigners chose to engage a professional services firm that will take care of the incorporation of their company, and will also assist with ongoing administration and compliance requirements. Leasing a business space to start operations is relatively easy. There are several business parks, all of which provide modern office facilities, located in strategic places.
Keen to bridge its skills gap in some areas critical to its economy, Mauritius allows the employment of foreign professionals earning a basic salary exceeding MUR 60,000*. The threshold is set at MUR 30,000* for professionals in the ICT sector. Selfemployed people need to make an initial transfer of US$35,000, or its equivalent in freely convertible foreign currency, to their local bank account in Mauritius. The business activity should generate an annual income exceeding MUR 600,000* in the first two years and MUR 1,200,000* from the third year.
Eligible applicants for a residence permit under the Retired Non-Citizen scheme should be aged 50 years or older. Retired applicants should also prove their ability to transfer US$40,000 (or its equivalent in any freely convertible currency) to a local Mauritian bank account annually. A residence permit is issued for three years, after which time the retiree may apply for a renewal or for a permanent residence permit, which is valid for ten years. Dependents – including children under the age of 24 years – of retired non-citizens are also eligible to apply for residence permits. During their stay, retirees are not allowed to work, nor can they be a majority shareholder or director in a locally incorporated company.