Why and how to relocate to Mauritius
Why relocate to Mauritius with your spouse or family
From the art of living to the economic dynamism, you will feel at home in this island at the heart of the Indian Ocean. The reasons that explain the strong demand to relocate to Mauritius are:
- its diversified economy;
- its favourable and secure living environment;
- its simple tax regime;
- its effective laws and programmes in place to attract foreign investors in South Africa and other countries; and
- its position among the top-rated countries in Africa for:
- political stability,
- social progress,
- travel and tourism competitiveness, and
- quality of living with excellent leisure facilities, real estate properties and activities.
Mauritius is therefore a popular destination for foreigners to visit, relocate, live, work and invest. The Mauritian authorities are encouraging skilled entrepreneurs, talented professionals and their families to live and work in Mauritius. In addition, the Mauritian passport is one of the most powerful among African countries on Henley Passport Index. Mauritius also provides a Residence-by-Investment Program, which is further described in the section below. This is why a large number of High-Net-Worth Individuals (HNWI’s), families and retired non-citizens relocate to Mauritius.
We count about 30,000 expatriates in Mauritius, coming from South Africa, France, Germany, United Kingdom, Switzerland, and other European countries. With its tropical climate and ideal living environment, the Mauritian business ecosystem offers a balance between work and relaxation.
Residency through the acquisition of a real estate property
Under approved schemes managed by the Economic Development Board, foreigners and expatriates have the right to purchase a real estate property in Mauritius. In fact, in 2016 the Mauritian government introduced the Property Development Scheme (PDS). These residential properties include condominiums, villas and luxury apartments.
The PDS scheme therefore simplifies the purchase of high-end residential real estates by non-citizens, allowing them to relocate to Mauritius, without the need to apply for a permit. Indeed, the acquisition of a property in specified real estate projects, and which price exceeds USD$375,000, grants the owners and their dependents (spouse, children, and retired parents) a permanent residence permit (PRP), allowing them to live and establish their fiscal residence in the country. The PRP is valid as long as they remain the owner of the property in Mauritius.
Most importantly, property buyers are the legal owner of (and hold all rights to) the property. They are therefore allowed to rent their property and generate rental income. Mauritius’ residency by investment program is very attractive for HNWI’s and retirees looking to move to Mauritius and having a residence permit.
Mauritius has signed Double Taxation Agreements (DTAs) with several African (including South Africa), Asian, European and Middle-Eastern countries. These agreements prevent the buyers of a property in Mauritius from being taxed in the island and their country of origin (such as South Africa). Besides, the Mauritian tax regime does not include the capital gains tax (if the property in Mauritius is resold), property or housing tax, inheritance tax, among others.
- Administration of companies and structures
- Setting up a company and doing business in Mauritius
- Residency in Mauritius – what are the permits available?
Real estate prices in Mauritius
Real estate is a valuable asset that remains profitable through time. Investing in real estate or a property in Mauritius is also a method of securing and grow your assets, and eventually of passing them on to your successors. The prices of residential properties, for non-citizens of Mauritius, vary.
Foreigners who relocate to Mauritius can purchase an apartment in condominium, as full ownership, in a building composed of a ground floor plus two floors (G+2). The price, at the time of acquisition, of this type of apartment must be at least MUR 6,000,000 (USD 150,000), or its equivalent in any other freely convertible foreign currency. This Mauritian legislation allows non-citizens, with or without an Occupation Permit, to invest in one or more luxury apartment, which is the case for many foreigners from South Africa.
Non-Mauritian citizens can acquire, if they wish, a property under the approved schemes. These schemes include the Integrated Resort Scheme (IRS), Real Estate Scheme (RES), PDS (as mentioned above), and Smart City Scheme (SCS). The permanent residence permit is attached to the property in Mauritius when the price exceeds USD 375,000 under these schemes. Whether you are looking for a modern apartment for two, a spacious villa for your family, or a prestigious waterfront property, there is something for every budget. The prices vary between USD 300,000 and can go above USD 15,000,000.
Life in Mauritius
When it comes to lifestyle and quality of life, the island is ideal those who dream of relocating to Mauritius, a tropical island of the Indian Ocean. Indeed, if you relocate to Mauritius, even if you have a sustained rhythm of life, you will have plenty of time to recharge your batteries in the middle of nature or in front of a beautiful sunset at the beach. Many other activities are available such as parachute jumping, horseback riding, scuba diving, deep-sea fishing, trails and hiking, quad or buggy rides, water sports, rugby, golf, and many others. Having a residence permit and a property in Mauritius is a dream come true.
In addition, supermarkets and shopping centres offer a wide range of international brands and products. The delicatessens also offer quality gourmet products. If you have children, the island also has a comprehensive education system with private French and English speaking institutions.
In addition to a simple and attractive tax system and a low crime level, the cost of living in the island is cheaper than in some countries with a comparable quality of life, which makes it ideal to have a residence permit here.
The Mauritius tax system
When you relocate to Mauritius, you will face a simple yet attractive tax system, with the corporate tax and personal income tax harmonised at the rate of 15%. Similarly, Value Added Tax (VAT) stands at 15% with encourage foreigners from South Africa and other countries to come.
- Tax exemption on dividends and profits
- No social security contributions or property taxes
- No inheritance tax
- Corporate tax at 15% (with a 80% partial exemption regime, reducing the tax rate to 3% for foreign companies – subject to meeting substance requirements)
- No charges or constraints on the repatriation of the funds generated by your activity (profits, dividends, capital)
- No tax at source on interest and dividends
- Tax exemption on capital gains generated by companies
- Exemption from customs duties on equipment
Occupation Permit in Mauritius
Non-citizens looking to invest, work, or retire in Mauritius need to have obtain a residence permit. For companies in Mauritius that require foreign expertise, the employer may apply for a work and residence permit on behalf of the employee. Holder of an Occupation Permit are allowed to relocate to Mauritius with their spouse, children and parents as their dependents. The Occupation Permint is valid for a period of ten (10) years, after which the non-Mauritian citizen will be eligible to apply for the PRP valid for a period of 20 years.
Foreign nationals who wish to stay longer in the island, without worrying about how long his permit is valid, can invest and become the owner of a property in Mauritius, as mentioned in the section above.
Healthcare in Mauritius
In Mauritius, there a number of public and private hospitals and many of the residents and expatriates pay for their own medical costs. It is important for foreigners to ensure that they have appropriate medical insurance before they will be moving to Mauritius.
While public hospitals cater for most of the healthcare needs, private hospitals offer a broader range of services and superior facilities. Complex medical procedures that are not available in Mauritius are transferred to hospitals in Reunion Island or South Africa (40 minutes and 4 hours flight time respectively).
Education in Mauritius
For children who live in Mauritius, the state provides free education from primary school through to university. There is also a wide choice of Anglophone and Francophone private institutions in all part of the island that are ideal for children of families who are moving to Mauritius. In addition to academic subjects, both primary and secondary private institutions give children the opportunity to take part in extra-curricular activities such as drama classes, dance, art, football, tennis, and rugby.
At secondary private schools, students study for international GCSEs, A levels, International Baccalaureate and French Baccalaureate. The high standard of education at the international schools also attracts Mauritian parents, and is an opportunity for foreign students to integrate in the local community.
Over 40 different institutions, including well-respected institutions, currently provide private tertiary education in Mauritius, as the country aims at Africa’s education hub status. Most universities offer undergraduate and postgraduate programmes, through distance learning and face-to-face lectures, across various fields such as management, accounting and finance, science, aviation, hospitality and tourism, medical education, IT, journalism and law, amongst others.
The climate in Mauritius
A tropical island, Mauritius enjoys a warm climate all year. Winter (May to October) temperatures during the day range between 20 and 26°C, while in the summer (November to April), temperatures can rise to 32°C.
Due to its localisation, Mauritius is prone to cyclones, which usually occur between end of December and May. Foreign nationals who are moving to Mauritius should familiarise themselves with local guidelines to be prepared in the event of a cyclone. It is also advised to keep a first-aid kit at home. Occasionally, schools may be closed and travel disrupted if storms cause flooding.
Why relocate to Mauritius for your business activities
A renowned tourist destination, Mauritius has also built a strong reputation as an International Financial Centre, favourable to foreign companies looking to do business from the island. Mauritius has a conducive business environment that consists of several elements: its diversified, solid and stable economy; its bilateral and multilateral relations; its hybrid legal system; its international arbitration centre; and its effective system of good governance, amongst others. These features encourage entrepreneurs and corporates around the globe to move to and do business from Mauritius.
Moving to Mauritius International Financial Centre
There is no restriction on ownership of companies and Mauritius allows for 100% foreign shareholding. From a tax perspective, the advantages include no capital gains tax, tax exemption on dividends paid by a Mauritian company, no withholding tax on dividends paid, and no inheritance tax. Moving to Mauritius allow businesses established as Global Business Companies of benefitting from a partial exemption regime whereby 80% of the income streams are tax-exempt, subject to meeting substance requirements.
Mauritius consistently ranks first among African countries every year, particularly in terms of ease of doing business (13th internationally on the World Bank’s ‘Ease of Doing Business’ ranking), political stability, economic freedom and good governance. International indices rank Mauritius 1st in Africa on many aspects, which clearly demonstrates that Mauritius is a favourable and preferred platform for investments in Africa especially for South Africans. It is one of the reasons over 20 000 companies chose to set up in or of moving to Mauritius. With its bilingual and qualified workforce, Mauritius is a natural and advantageous platform for companies looking to expand their activities on the continent.
Indeed, Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) flows increased by 26.9% between 2018 and 2019. The main sectors benefitting from this rise in investments are real estate, financial and insurance services and construction. Moving to Mauritius allow you to benefit from a wide network of treaties (DTA’s and Investment Promotion and Protection Agreements) and business-friendly environment, Mauritius is the preferred platform between the western countries and Africa, but also between emerging Asian countries and Africa. Its bilingual (English and French) population is another significant advantage for international companies, as it provides an opportunity for French-speaking companies to reach English-speaking markets, and vice-versa.
As at 30th June 2021, over 20 000 offshore companies (Global Business Companies and Authorised Companies) and Africa-focused investment funds have chosen Mauritius to structure their operations.
A compliant and transparent jurisdiction
The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) acknowledged the credibility of the Mauritius IFC. In its recent World Investment Report 2020, the organisation describes Mauritius as an important player in intra-regional investment flow, driving quality investments towards African and Asian countries. Mauritius also remains a strong economic partner amongst countries in Africa as a founding member of the African Union, Southern African Development Community (SADC) and Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA).
In addition, Mauritius is among the first countries to sign the Multilateral Competent Authority Agreement on the Exchange of Country-by-Country Reports of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) in June 2015. These steps reflect the will of the Mauritian government to promote the country as a transparent IFC that attracts capital flows and ensures the security of assets. All these features make moving to Mauritius an attractive platform for international business and investment.
Do you want to move to Mauritius?
Mauritius has already seduced many Europeans and South Africans. By moving to Mauritius, rest assured that you will not feel totally out of place in this tropical paradise.
Whether you have never relocated abroad, or you already did, the process will be overwhelming. Whatever stage you are at, our experts are ready to accompany you and your family to move to Mauritius. Sunibel Corporate Services can and will help you with a complete set of relocation services, including:
- Travel arrangements;
- Application for permits;
- Finding your dream home;
- Finding the appropriate schools for your children; and
- Concierge services.
For more information about moving to Mauritius for doing business or with your family, feel free to contact us:
- Setting up a company in Mauritius
- Why multinational companies have headquarters in Mauritius?
- Relocate to Mauritius: the ideal place to live and do business
Disclaimer and important notices
This document has been prepared using sources believed to be reliable. However, their accuracy and completeness cannot be fully guaranteed. The statements and opinions it incorporates were formed after careful consideration and maybe subject to change without notice. This document is not, and should not be construed as, an offer or the solicitation of an offer to sell any services. The use of any information contained in this document shall be at the sole discretion and risk of the user. Sunibel Corporate Services Ltd does not provide legal or tax advice and this document should not be construed as such. Sunibel Corporate Services Ltd expressly disclaims any and all liability for inaccuracies contained in the document and shall not be held liable for any damage that may result from any use of the information presented herein.
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