It will soon be easier and cheaper for South Africans to emigrate to Mauritius from this month, says property group Chas Everitt International.
As part of its coronavirus budget on 4 June, the government announced a number of incentives to encourage foreigners to live, work and invest in Mauritius.
In line with new government measures introduced, the minimum investment required to acquire an occupation permit (OP) as an investor, and live in Mauritius as a non-citizen, has been halved to $50,000 (R867,000), from $100,000 (R1.7 million).
The validity of an Occupation Permit has also been extended from three to 10 years.
“This type of permit enables non-citizens to reside or retire or open their own business in Mauritius,“although you will also need a work permit if you intend to seek employment,” said Leana Nel, international relocations specialist for the Chas Everitt International property group.
“The new measures also mean that those who have an OP can bring their parents to Mauritius as dependents and will also not have to obtain an additional work permit for a spouse who also wants to work.
In an even bigger concession, OP holders will now also be allowed to buy up to 2100sqm of land for residential use in a “smart city” that Mauritius is developing, said Nel.
“Previously, non-citizens were only allowed to buy homes in one of the Integrated Resort Schemes (IRS), Real Estate Schemes (RES) and Property Development Schemes (PDS) specifically designated for foreign buyers, or pre-owned apartments in buildings of at least three storeys.”
Nel said that it will now also be much less expensive for South Africans to acquire immediate Permanent Residence (PR) in Mauritius by investing in one of the IRS, RES or PDS schemes, because the minimum purchase price required has been drastically lowered from $500,000 (R8.6 million) to $375,000 (R6.5 million).
“The Mauritian government has now announced that the work and residence permits will be combined into one document; that those who have held a Residence Permit for three years will be allowed to apply for a PR, and that the validity of a PR permit will now be extended from 10 to 20 years,” she said.
Nel says Mauritius is an increasingly sought-after emigration option among SA executives, entrepreneurs and retirees for a number of reasons.
She also notes that Mauritian banks will make mortgage loans available to foreign investors, although the qualification criteria are stringent and borrowers will usually be expected to finance at least 60% of the purchase price themselves.
To this end, South African individuals over the age of 18 become a foreign investment allowance of R10m a year provided they have a tax clearance certificate from SARS and the transfer of funds is approved by the Reserve Bank. The prime rate in Mauritius is currently 3,35%.