Investment Immigration in Mauritius

Overview

Mark Twain once said: “Mauritius was made first, and then heaven; and that heaven was copied after Mauritius”.

With its rich history and a mix of various cultural traditions, Mauritius has become an attractive and thriving place for business with an incomparable “art de vivre”.

Partnerships between foreign capital and local businesses have led to an outstanding economic success. This success has impacted positively on the growth rate of the country with increased transfer of technology, knowledge, talents and capital.

In order to become a high-income economy, Mauritius is actively encouraging foreign talents, know-how and investment into the country. Whether you are an investor, a professional, a self-employed or a retired non-citizen, there are numerous positive reasons to consider Mauritius as a place to live or to do business.

Foreign citizens wishing to work, live or retire in Mauritius are eligible to obtain either an Occupation Permit or the Residence Permit or the Permanent Residence Permit.  They are also eligible to acquire property in Mauritius under stated conditions.

Occupation Permit

The Occupation Permit (OP), which is a joint work and residence permit, allows non-citizens to reside and work in Mauritius. Non-citizens, above the age of 50 years, may also choose to retire in Mauritius under a Residence Permit (RP).

A non-citizen can apply for an OP/RP under any of the following 4 categories:

  • Investors: – is defined as a shareholder and director in a company incorporated in Mauritius under the Companies Act.

An Investor should make an initial transfer of USD 100,000 or its equivalent in any convertible foreign currency.  The company has to generate an annual turnover exceeding MUR 4 million.

  • Professional: as defined under the Immigration Act, is a non-citizen who is employed in Mauritius by virtue of a contract of employment and registered as such with the BOI.

A Professional should earn a basic monthly salary exceeding MUR 45,000. However, the basic monthly salary for Professionals in the ICT Sector should exceed MUR 30,000.

A Professional may apply for a Short-term Occupation Permit authorizing him/her to reside and to work in Mauritius for a period not exceeding 9 months. The Short-term Occupation Permit can be renewed once for a period not exceeding 3 months.

  • Self-Employed: is defined as a non-citizen engaged in a professional activity registered with the Registrar of Businesses under the Business Registration Act.

A Self-employed should make an initial transfer of USD 35,000 or its equivalent in any convertible foreign currency.

The business activity should generate an annual income exceeding MUR 600,000.

A Self-employed operates a one-person business, working exclusively for his/her own account.

  • Retired(aged 50 years old & above) – The non-citizen must undertake to transfer to his/her local bank account in Mauritius, at least USD 40,000 annually.

The Occupation Permit/ Residence Permit is valid for three years. After three years of activity in Mauritius, consistent with the terms of entry, the foreign national and spouse and dependents (Children up to the age of 24) can apply for permanent residence, which will be valid for ten years and allow unrestricted work and residence, as well as acquiring a real estate.

  1. How do I submit my application for an Occupation Permit?

Foreign citizens who wish to obtain an Occupation Permit, should apply online with the Board of Investment. However, they are also required to call in person to present original documents.

2. I have obtained my Occupation Permit. Are my accompanying spouse and children eligible for a residence permit?

The Occupation/ Residence Permit holder may apply for a Residence permit for his/her spouse as dependents, including common law-partner, and children  under 24 years old. Evidence of cohabitation should be produced for a common law partner.

3. If all my documents are not in English or French. Are these acceptable?

No. You should submit authorized translated copies, certified by a competent Authority along with the originals.

4. Can I start working as soon as I obtain my Occupation Permit as Professional?

A professional employed by a company can start working as soon as he obtains an Occupation Permit, except in the case of regulated activities. For such professions (e.g. doctor, civil engineer, pharmacist, etc.) the professional should register with the appropriate council or body after he obtains his occupation permit. The employer should assist the professional with the registration process.

 

Permanent Residence Permit

As a means to increase the number of investors to do business and invest in Mauritius, the Government has introduced a Permanent Residence Scheme for eligible foreign businessmen. As a holder of an Occupation or Residence Permit, a foreign citizen is allowed to apply for a 10-year Residence Permit under prescribed conditions. It exempts the holder from visa requirement when entering Mauritius.

  1. What are the criteria to enable me to qualify for a residence permit as retired non-citizen?

To be eligible for a residence permit as a retired non-citizen you should be 50 years of age, or above, and must undertake to transfer, to your local bank account in Mauritius, at least USD 40,000 annually, or its equivalent in any freely convertible foreign currency. The person should submit proof of an initial transfer of at least USD 40,000 or its equivalent in freely convertible foreign currency at time of application. The total amount transferred over three years should be USD 120,000.

2. What are the criteria for me to be eligible for a PRP?

  • An investor who holds a valid Occupation Permit and the aggregate turnover of his company has exceeded 45 million rupees for any consecutive period of 3 years.

An investor who invests at least USD 500,000 in a qualifying business activity as per list below:

Agro-based industry, Audio-visual, Cinema and Communication, Banking, Construction, Education, Environment-friendly and green energy products, Financial Services, Fisheries and Marine Resources, Freeport, Information Technology, Infrastructure, Insurance, Leisure, Manufacturing, Marina development, Tourism and Warehousing, Initial Public Offerings.

  • A self-employed who holds an Occupation Permit and where the annual income exceeded MUR 3 million for three consecutive years.
  • A professional having a valid Occupation or a Work Permit and whose monthly basic salary exceeded MUR 150,000 for three consecutive years immediately preceding the application.
  • A retired non-citizen who has held a Residence Permit for three years and has transferred USD 40,000 annually to his account in a local bank during each of these three years

A holder of a permanent residence permit, except for a retired non-citizen, is allowed to take up employment without any work or occupation permit.

3. If I am eligible for permanent residence permit, will my family be eligible?

Yes, Permanent residence permit is granted for accompanying spouse and dependents of the applicant. However, only married spouse and dependent children under 18 years, are eligible. Children over 18 may obtain a residence permit only if they are enrolled and following a full time education in Mauritius. In case a dependent child intends to take up employment in Mauritius, he should apply and obtain a work permit or an Occupation Permit.  An unmarried spouse will not obtain permanent residence, but will obtain a residence permit renewable every year.

 

Acquisition of a Residential Unit

Any foreigner who wishes to hold or acquire freehold or leasehold immovable property in Mauritius must gain approval from either the Prime Minister’s Office or the MBOI. The Non-Citizens (Property Restriction) Act has been amended on 20 December 2016 to permit foreigners to purchase apartments in condominium developments of at least two levels above ground (G+2) with the prior consent of the Board of Investment. The amount payable for the acquisition of an apartment must be at least Rs 6 million or its equivalent in any other freely convertible foreign currency.

Any non-citizen, with or without an occupation permit, residence permit, permanent residence permit, may purchase apartments.

Thus, there is no restriction for non-citizens who wish to acquire:

  • A residential unit developed under the IRS, RES and PDS
  • A residential unit developed in a smart city
  • An apartment located in a building comprising at least two floors above the ground floor.

In 2002, the Investment Promotion Act was legislated in Mauritius, so as to allow foreign citizens to acquire real estate.

It is to be noted that there are other existing schemes which allow non-citizens to purchase immovable property in Mauritius namely the now defunct Integrated Resort Scheme (IRS) and Residential Estate Scheme (RES) which have been replaced by the Property Development Scheme (PDS).

Non-citizens are also entitled to purchase a residential unit under the Smart City Scheme.

Acquisition of Apartment- Eligibility

The following non-citizens are eligible to submit an application to acquire one or more apartment(s) for use as residence:

  1. A non-citizen
  2. A holder of Permanent Residence Permit under the Immigration Act
  3. An investor who has made an initial investment exceeding USD 100,000 or its equivalent in any freely convertible foreign currency, is registered with the Board of Investment and holds an Occupation Permit
  4. A professional who earns a monthly salary exceeding USD 3,000 or its equivalent in any other hard convertible foreign currency, is registered with the Board of Investment and holds an Occupation Permit
  5. A retired non-citizen who has transferred a sum of at least USD 120,000 or its equivalent in freely convertible foreign currency or who has transferred a sum by instalments, the aggregate of which is at least USD 120,000 or its equivalent in freely convertible foreign currency, during a period of 3 years, and holds a residence permit.
  6. A holder of a Residence Permit under the IRS/RES/PDS/SCS
  7. A company incorporated or registered under the Companies Act and registered with Board of Investment
  8. A societé, where its deed of formation is deposited with the registrar of companies and registered with Board of
  9. Investment
  10. A limited partnership under the Limited Partnerships Act and registered with Board of Investment
  11. A trust, where the trusteeship services are provided by a qualified trustee and registered with Board of Investment
  12. A Foundation under the Foundation Act registered with Board of Investment

1. Which immovable property can be purchased by a non-citizen in Mauritius?

A non-citizen may buy or otherwise acquire or lease an immovable property or a right to immovable property or part of a building for business purposes.

According the Board of Investment, authorization will be provided to business where their business activity is involved in:

  1. The development of shopping mall, office building or warehouse, for own use, sale, rental or lease;
  2. The development of residential properties under the Property Development Scheme; and
  • Any other activity undertaken for reward, gain or profit but apart from the acquisition for resale or lease or rental of any bare land or serviced land.

However, a non-citizen will not be allowed to buy an apartment where such apartment is found in a building built on State Land which comprises of the defence lands, Pas Geometriques or projects developed under the Housing Estate Scheme (which is a scheme reserved for middle-income households Mauritian Citizens).

2. Will the acquisition of immovable property by non-citizens in Mauritius give the right to reside in Mauritius?

Only the purchase of a residential unit acquired under the IRS, RES, PDS or Smart City Scheme give a right to residency in Mauritius to such purchaser and his family, provided that such residential unit’s purchase price is above USD 500,000.

We remain at your disposal for any information should you require regarding the application of an Occupation Permit, Residence Permit or Acquisition of a Residential Unit.

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