If you’re weighing up your potential emigration destination options like many other South Africans right now, we’d like to add another to your list. Mauritius is generally considered a top holiday destination, but it also has a lot to offer from a lifestyle perspective. Here’s what you need to consider about this small island off the east coast of Africa.
How much money do you need to emigrate to Mauritius?
It is possible to obtain a residence permit valid for 20 years by directly investing a minimum of USD375,000 through the Economic Development Board (EDB) of Mauritius. The EDB has identified a number of investment opportunities into which your money can be directed. Such investments are spread across industries such as agriculture, banking, construction, education, infrastructure, manufacturing, tourism and warehousing.
If you’d prefer to invest in property instead, you have options in this respect too. You can buy your way to a permanent residence permit in Mauritius if you purchase real estate from plans approved and managed by the EDB.
- Property development scheme (PDS): This avenue offers a mix of residences that can be bought by open for sale to non-citizens, citizens, and Mauritian citizens currently living abroad. By dropping a minimum of USD375,000 through this scheme you will become eligible for permanent residence, along with your dependents, such as your spouse, children under 24 years of age, and your parents.
- Integrated Resort Schemes/Real Estate Schemes: By investing a minimum of USD375,000 it is possible to gain permanent residence for yourself, dependent children under 24 and parents. Properties bought this way can be rented out, and you will be granted Mauritius tax resident status. Furthermore, there is no prohibition on the repatriation of your purchase funds, revenue from the sale or rental income.
- Ground+2 Apartments: Non-citizens can buy apartment units in EDB-approved condo developments with at least two above-ground levels, with a purchase value of not less than MUR6 million. You become eligible for a 10-year Mauritian visa when purchasing through this scheme and such visa is renewable and valid as long as you retain the property purchased. For any purchase above USD375,000, a non-citizen may apply to the EDB for permanent residency.
- Residency can also be obtained via profession and a company/start-up or the innovator permit.
Can a South African retire in Mauritius?
Have you considered Mauritius as a retirement destination? What a picture-perfect backdrop for your golden era, right? The island is very welcoming of retirees, offering a 10-year occupation or residence permit to retired non-citizens older than 50 who open a Mauritian bank account with an initial deposit of $1,500, followed by $1,500 a month or $18,000 a year for the duration of their permit. Evidence of such deposits must be submitted to the authorities on an annual basis. This is an initial 10-year permit. After 3 years there is the option to apply for the 20-year permanent residency however the applicant must maintain the prerequisites set by the EDB.
- Once you have held an occupation or residence permit for three years, you can apply for a 20-year permanent residence permit.
- No purchase of property is necessary to obtain the initial retired non-resident occupation permit, and your spouse, parents and dependent children under 24 are covered.
- Retired non-citizen residency permit holders are permitted to invest in a business in Mauritius although investment is as far as it goes. You cannot manage the business, be employed by it, or draw a salary.
- Furthermore, the government does not allow the employment of foreign retirees, but there is no restriction on remote work.
What do I need in order to move to Mauritius from South Africa?
Entering Mauritius without a tourist visa as a South African is not a problem. You do not require a visa for a stay of up to 90 days. To stay for more than 90 days, you will need additional permits.
- To live and work in Mauritius, you need to obtain a work and residence permit.
- After three years, you become eligible to apply for a permanent residence permit. (Depending on the type of visa/permit)
- With a permanent residence, you can stay in the country for ten years. (Properties can be acquired through trusts, companies, foundations, or individual capacity allowing the investor to hold a 20- year Residency Permits.
What’s it like living in Mauritius vs South Africa?
It’s like comparing apples and mangos! If you think about getting away from South Africa’s high crime rate and insanely busy pace of business, Mauritius is a veritable paradise.
What about the cost of living in Mauritius compared to South Africa?
Mauritius is more expensive when compared to South African prices on certain things, particularly in respect of fresh fruit and veg, because much of it is imported. The price of meat is higher, but South Africa has more of an agricultural capacity than Mauritius, so this makes sense. The cost of living in Mauritius vs South Africa will really depend on your needs.
- Housing: this is one of the biggest costs of living. Renting a house or apartment can get expensive, with a 3-bedroom place costing between MUR 20 000 to MUR 145 000, depending on location and amenities.
- Transport: Transport is another big cost factor. Car rental can be expensive. Public transportation options, such as buses and taxis, are more affordable, with express bus trips between Grand Baie and Port Louis costing around MUR75.
- Cost of food: This depends on your taste. While there are no high-end grocery stores in Mauritius and on-demand grocery deliveries are not yet a thing, there are many supermarkets that offer a wide range of products. Fresh produce can also be bought at local markets and street vendors at a much lower cost than supermarkets.
What is income tax like in Mauritius?
Residents are taxed on worldwide income (the same way as South Africans) and non-residents are taxed only on income sourced in Mauritius.
- Tax in Mauritius is favourable to both individuals and corporate entities, which are taxed at a flat maximum rate of 15%.
- Non-residents pay 0% on foreign income and only 3% business tax. (this depends on the business license and business activities, therefore the CIT ranges between 0 and 15%)
- Additionally, there is no Capital Gains Tax and Mauritian authorities do not require any Estate Duty should an owner pass away. It may be as well to note that there is a dual legal system in Mauritius comprising of both civil and common law and that forced heirship is applicable and therefore individuals are encouraged to have wills for their South African assets and their Mauritius assets. They can have an all-encompassing worldwide Will, but this may not be the best route.
- The tax year is run on a calendar basis, which makes tax-related issues easier to understand.
- Important to note that unlike South Africa, Mauritius does not apply a worldwide tax on income and wealth.
FinGlobal: cross-border financial specialists for South Africans
Need assistance with making a smooth transition from South Africa to your emigration destination? FinGlobal can assist. We can help you move your money where you need it to be, safely and cost-effectively. We can also assist with tax clearance and tax emigration when you’re ready to wrap up your financial affairs in South Africa.
Simply leave us your contact details and we’ll be in touch to discuss your plans and requirements for emigrating from South Africa to Mauritius.