The Mauritian government has made changes to investment thresholds, the extension of work, residence, retirement permits, and attractive property acquisition options.
This has led to renewed interest in the country from South Africans who are looking at Mauritius as a permanent destination, says Marisa Jacobs, director at advisory service, Xpatweb.
“Skilled professionals and business owners with families in South Africa are taking note of finance minister Renganaden Padayachy’s changes and adjustments for foreigners.
“It is now easier to buy property, work, as well as retire on the island, which is appealing for many, including business owners, corporates and families in South Africa who are looking for a new place to call home,” she said.
Changes in requirements
In the past, South African retirees were only able to obtain a three-year permit for Mauritius. This has been extended to 10 years, with the requirement that the individual earns a recurring income of $1,500 (R25,263) per month, said Jacobs.
The amount can be paid annually, quarterly, or monthly, as long as it works out to $1,500 per month.
“The extension from three to 10 years gives retirees more certainty about their future in the country. Mauritius’ Permanent Residence and Work Permits have been combined into a single permit and extended from ten to twenty years.”
Jacobs said that the minimum investment to obtain an Occupational Permit (OP) has also been halved from $100,000 to $50,000 (R842,115).
The parents of an OP holder may now obtain a dependent permit to live in Mauritius. Professionals who are working as independent contractors can qualify for the self-employment permit, she said.
The requirement for this permit is a deposit of $35,000 (R589,480) into their Mauritian bank account, and this permit is also valid for 10 years.
“Working professionals and self-employed individuals who want to move their spouse and ageing parents find these concessions favourable, especially if their dependents are no longer working.”
Jacobs said that buying property is also a popular route of entry for those looking to move to Mauritius. In the past, foreign nationals were required to invest $500,000 in the property. This number has now been reduced to $375,000, she said.
“The dispensation for owning property in Mauritius is far more flexible than in most other African countries. In Mauritius, a South African is allowed to purchase a property as a freehold, or through a 99-year lease agreement with the option of renewal.”
Jacobs said that the island boasts excellent private schools, reputable banking systems, regulatory certainty, technology-driven government systems, as well as an efficient and linear tax system.
“The effective tax rate of 15% for individuals are well below those applicable to South Africa and other countries. A significant difference is that Mauritian residents are only taxed to the extent of the money that they bring into the country.
“These financial incentives, combined with the close proximity to South Africa, will likely see more people moving to Mauritius in the future. “