New 2022 Rules for Buying a House in Mauritius.

New 2022 Rules for a Foreigner Buying a House for Sale in Mauritius.

The Immigration Act 2022 amended the Non-Citizen (Property Restriction) Act and brought in some key changes in relation to foreigners buying property in Mauritius. Now that the bill is law, we look at some of the most relevant changes for non-citizens buying property in Mauritius.

Who can buy a property in Mauritius outside the current schemes?

Any foreigner can buy a property in Mauritius but historically this was only in certain approved developments such as a PDS or a Smart City. The new rules allow a non-citizen who is resident in Mauritius according to the Immigration Act 2022 to buy a property in Mauritius outside the current schemes.

Who is resident in Mauritius?

Any foreigner that has been issued with a permit under any of the following options:

  • a temporary residence permit;
  • a residence permit;
  • a permanent residence permit;
  • an occupation permit;
  • a short-term occupation permit; or
  • a family occupation permit.

Can a Foreigner buy an apartment in Mauritius?

A foreigner has been able to buy an apartment in Mauritius for many years. To buy an apartment in Mauritius, the apartment block must be at least 3 floors, i.e. Ground plus 2 floors. The minimum price for entry to buy is MUR 6 million. Over the last two years, if a foreigner buys an apartment in Mauritius at a price of USD 375,000 or more, they will receive permanent residence.

Can a Foreigner buy a villa in Mauritius?

Foreigners have been able to buy a villa in Mauritius in certain schemes such as the PDS or Smart Cities for many years. The new rules enable a foreigner to buy a villa in Mauritius outside these. A foreigner cannot buy a villa on the beach unless special dispensation has been given. One can buy a villa in Mauritius as a “standalone residential property constructed on an extent of land not exceeding 0.5276 hectare (1.25 arpent)” according to the latest rules.

Can a Foreigner buy land for sale in Mauritius?

A foreigner can buy land for sale in Mauritius. They were permitted to buy serviced land for sale and land in a smart city in certain circumstances. A foreigner can now buy land for sale in Mauritius as per the latest rules, “bareland or serviced land not exceeding 0.5276 hectare (1.25 arpent)’

What are the conditions for a foreigner to buy a house for sale in Mauritius outside the current schemes?

For a foreigner to buy a house for sale in Mauritius outside the current schemes, they must have a residence permit and the property must be worth at least USD 350,000. You will need approval from the Prime Minister’s Office to buy the property. It is worth nothing that to buy a house for sale in Mauritius outside the current schemes, there will be a 10% Government fee to the Solidarity Fund. This is in addition to the 5% land transfer tax/ Registration Duty on any property sale, and any Agent and Notary fees.

Can more than one investor get permanent residence from buying Mauritius Property for Sale?

Yes, the concept of fractured ownership from more than one investor buying Mauritius property for sale become law in 2022. The rule is for when for example a husband and wife, or two business partners want to buy a Mauritius property for sale together. If they both invest at least USD 375,000 each into the Mauritius property for sale, then they both independently receive permanent residence. This is a very welcome change to encourage foreigners to invest in houses, apartments, and villas in Mauritius.

What TBI Business Advisors can do for you:
  • We will have a Zoom/ Teams call or email exchange to understand your requirements.
  • We can assist with the finding and purchasing of property, and setting up of an entity to purchase through.
  • TBI will advise on the appropriate permit or visa for coming to Mauritius.
  • We will send a detailed proposal with clear costs, timeframes and explanations.
  • We will assemble the documents and make the application on your behalf.
  • If you need assistance with setting up companies whether as an investor or just creating a business here.
  • We can assist with relocation tasks such as helping with schools, accommodation, insurance, choosing locations.
  • The directors can act as Commissioner for Oaths.
  • We can assist with other business advice and can bring in law firms as and when required.

Please contact us via our website or via email to info@tbimauritius.com.

While every effort is made to ensure that the information given is accurate, the information on this site does not contain legal, tax or any other professional advice. We accept no responsibility or liability due to any information or representation, whether accurate or not, relied upon in the contents. It is an information guide to provide the reader with a useful general, but basic understanding of the different considerations. You must seek local legal, tax or other professional advice before relying on the contents of this site.

Analysis of the Mauritian Budget 2022

Mauritius Budget 2022/23 – Real Estate for Foreigners

We provide our summary of the Mauritius budget 2022/23 below. Bear in mind that some of the measures in the budget will not necessarily come into force. That is because they will be debated in Parliament, and some will be amended/ delayed/ omitted before being promulgated into law. The Mauritius Budget 2022/23 is always expertly analysed by the big 4 so take a look at PWC in particular, to assess it from a purely financial perspective. We have met with the EDB and asked a few questions, especially about the real estate provisions.

Unlike previous years, there are very few measures that directly affect expats relocating to Mauritius. The exception is if you happen to be in a business that is affected or the property measures below. The last two Mauritian Budgets were relatively focused on permits, visas, and other incentives for those relocating to Mauritius.  There are however a few measures below that are centred around foreigners moving to Mauritius, one of which is potentially very significant relating to real estate in Mauritius.

1 –  Foreigners to be allowed to buy houses in Mauritius outside the current schemes

Residence Permits holders to be eligible to acquire a residential property of a minimum of USD 350 000 outside existing schemes, subject to a 10 % contribution made to the Solidarity Fund

The first provision we discuss is perhaps the most controversial although maybe not wholly unexpected as we lay out below. We have discussed this measure in person with senior management in the EDB. Looking at the history of foreigners buying real estate in Mauritius, there has been a slow erosion of restrictions. This is because foreigners investing in real estate in Mauritius has been an important part of the investor-friendly strategy to make Mauritius more appealing to the international expat community.

How we understand the new Property Investment Scheme Would Work

    1. Who can utilise this scheme?

This measure only applies for those with a residence permit. This therefore includes those in Mauritius with an occupation permit. It includes those that are in Mauritius as a retired non-citizen. It would also naturally include anyone with a Permanent Residence Permit. This includes those that had received permanent residence from investment in real estate. Those in Mauritius on a Premium visa or tourist Visa would not be able to enjoy this scheme.

    1. Which Body will supervise and approve?

This would likely be a scheme that would go to the Economic Development Board and/or the Prime Minister’s Office for permission. These are the Government departments generally responsible for giving permission to foreigners buying real estate in Mauritius.

    1. How will it work?

Much like all the schemes to buy any real estate in Mauritius as a foreigner, you will need to seek permission from the authorities. This is always before the sales deed is signed. Normally a Reservation (CRP) document would be signed before this. You would need to provide the requested documents. It normally takes around 4 weeks with other schemes but can take much longer.

The History of Mauritian Real Estate Schemes for Foreigners

Initially there was the Integrated Resort Scheme starting over 20 years ago. Next came the Real Estate Scheme which enabled foreigners to buy properties at lower prices. Moving forward, investors could buy an apartment from as little as MUR 6 million. The Property Development Scheme replaced the IRS and RES with simplicity and defined guidelines. The limit of USD 500,000 for permanent residence was lowered to USD 375,000.

The Ground + 2 Scheme then allowed multiple purchases for investors that could be rented out. Not long after the permanent residence benefit was given for apartments for USD 375,000. Alongside this you had land for sale in Mauritius, specifically in a Smart City once someone already had a permit. With the background above, the permission to buy a house in Mauritius as a foreigner outside the current schemes is not such a giant leap.

What will be the Effect for Local Mauritians and house-prices?

Most Mauritians live in properties worth considerably less than USD 350,000. It is unlikely that a local who wanted to buy a house in Mauritius worth less than MUR 10 million is going to be affected by a number of foreigners investing over USD 350k. The rules on Ground + 2 apartments allowing access to foreigners over the last few years do not appear to have had a strong effect on the house prices in Mauritius. Even allowing permanent residence for apartments over USD 375,000 still did not seem to affect the local property market. Our view is that there will not be a significant effect on the house prices in Mauritius. An exception may be for those opportunistic house owners who will put their house for sale in Mauritius at increased rates to foreigners to hit the USD 350,000 minimum.

What will be the effect on the existing Property Schemes for foreigners buying real estate in Mauritius?

This is perhaps where the greatest disruption will come. Our views are very much preliminary. They are based on the limited information we have so far that we have read in the Mauritius budget and from our conversation with senior personnel at the EDB.

i) The large residential estates in Mauritius

For those buying in large residential estates where they have golf courses, spas, huge areas of communal land, and lots of shared facilities, it is our view that the property value in Mauritius will not be greatly affected. The reason is that many foreigners want to avoid the stress of filling their own oil in their backup generator, calling lorries for extra water during CWA works. They want the security of a large complex with facilities, maintenance, guards, and other neighbours. Additionally, they want to live without stress if a cyclone hits. They are happy paying a premium to live in a larger complex.

ii) The small residential estates in Mauritius

Some of the same justifications above apply for the small residential estates in Mauritius. Although, people enjoy shared facilities such as guard, power and water these smaller developments we believe will be more prone to be affected. Certainly, we have had many clients who are after older properties with more character and more land. These are not possible through the current schemes. Investors aiming for permanent residence at the lower end usually get an apartment. Currently, USD 375,000 does not give you many options for a villa.  This we believe will now change.

One big concern is the quality of the properties if there are less controls, and the potential latent defects, especially if the property is over 10 years old. Our view is again however, the number of properties that even the small residential estates will lose out on will be relatively negligible as set out in the Mauritius budget.

2 – Fractional Ownership of real estate in Mauritius

A residential property acquired by more than one non-citizen under ‘fractional ownership’ will provide eligibility to apply for the status of residency provided that the investment by each non-citizen exceeds USD 375,000”.

The assumption for this is for when a husband and wife, or two friends/ investors, buy a property together. For example, they invest in a USD 750,000 villa in Mauritius, and they would both get permanent residence which is a positive option for real estate in Mauritius. This is a very sensible offering and a clever way of giving the spouses of investors the ability to work in Mauritius without an extra permit. For two investors with fractional ownership in real estate in Mauritius, it is a similar principle to two partners setting up a company in Mauritius as an Investor and each putting in USD 50,000 and both getting an Occupation Permit.

3 – Premium Visa in Mauritius for expats

It will be clarified that the foreign employer of the holder of a Premium Visa will not, in respect of that employee, be subject to the payment of – (i) corporate tax under the Income Tax Act; and (ii) social contribution under the Social Contribution and Social Benefits Act.

For the Premium Visa Scheme, this measure is just confirming what the interpretation was before the Mauritian budget. There are many benefits to the Premium Visa.  Those retirees, remote workers and investors who want to try Mauritius out before committing too much can do so.

4 – Foreign Students in Mauritius

“We will support businesses by enabling them to recruit talents under the young professional occupation permit. And we will enable entrepreneurs and students completing their studies to benefit from the premium visa.”

Anything that encourages talented young students and graduates to choose Mauritius is positive. We think that those in the ICT sector will find the best opportunities. The Young Professional Occupation Permit is certainly under-utilised and needs to be promoted. The Mauritius budget attempts to help with this. It is unclear how the premium visa would be used by graduates here.  We assume that they would get a job outside Mauritius whilst remotely working in Mauritius which would seem a strange combination. Time will give more insight.

5 – Other notable measures.

The Freeport of Mauritius

An 8-year income tax holiday will be granted to a newly set up freeport operator or developer making an investment of at least Rs 50 million. Bear in mind that a company operating in the Freeport already has duty-free and VAT-free imports, 3 % corporation tax and many other benefits, there is a firm vision to encourage investment and participation in this.

Retired Non-citizens

The Mauritius budget indicates that there will continue to be a focus on the Silver Economy in Mauritius. This relates to those coming to retire in Mauritius and a festival will happen to encourage retirees to try Mauritius as a destination. The provision above concerning investing in real estate above, contemplates the retiree who wants to buy somewhere outside the estates.

Bank Accounts

One of the measures in the Mauritius budget is for bank accounts to be opened within 1 week. It is hard to see how this would work in practice, but anything to encourage efficiency is always to be encouraged.

Summary of Mauritius Budget

All of the schemes from the previous Mauritius budget that were in place relating to permits and visas are all still in place. This means that Mauritius remains a very friendly place to come to work, retire, live, and invest. Unfortunately, the Solidarity Levy remains in place. Although clearly a good way of picking up tax from high earners, we hope the next Mauritius budget corrects this. In any event, Mauritius remains a top destination for many expats and investors.

What TBI Business Advisors can do for you:
  • We will have a Zoom/ Teams call or email exchange to understand your requirements.
  • We can assist with the finding and purchasing of property, and setting up of an entity to purchase through.
  • TBI will advise on the appropriate permit or visa for coming to Mauritius.
  • We will send a detailed proposal with clear costs, timeframes and explanations.
  • We will assemble the documents and make the application on your behalf.
  • If you need assistance with setting up companies whether as an investor or just creating a business here.
  • We can assist with relocation tasks such as helping with schools, accommodation, insurance, choosing locations.
  • The directors can act as Commissioner for Oaths.
  • We can assist with other business advice and can bring in law firms as and when required.

Please contact us via our website or via email to info@tbimauritius.com.

While every effort is made to ensure that the information given is accurate, the information on this site does not contain legal, tax or any other professional advice. We accept no responsibility or liability due to any information or representation, whether accurate or not, relied upon in the contents. It is an information guide to provide the reader with a useful general, but basic understanding of the different considerations. You must seek local legal, tax or other professional advice before relying on the contents of this site.

Please get in touch to find out more.

Analysis of the Mauritian Budget

Mauritius Budget 2021 changes for expats relocating to, and investing in Mauritius

There were a number of measures announced in the latest budget on 11 June 2021 which have now made their way into law. There were a significant number of measures proposed. The EDB has a useful summary at this link, which is their newsletter on the budget. We have listed below a few of the changes most relevant to our clients and those looking to relocate to Mauritius.

Child Dependents of Permit Holders

The maximum age for a dependent child of a permit holder, currently 24, will be removed.

Permanent Resident Permits

In last year’s budget, Permanent Residence Permits were amended from 10 to 20 years. Those on existing 10-year PRPs will now automatically have their PRPs amended to 20 years and can switch between categories.

Professional Occupation Permits

Professional Permits have been amended from 3 years to 10 years. Currently both Investor Permits and Self-Employed permits give a 10-year permit, whereas a Professional permit gives 3 years. The main further change is that professional permit holders will be able to change jobs without a brand-new application.

Investing in Ground plus 2 Apartments in Mauritius

Those buying in any G+2 Development, i.e., an apartment, spending over USD 375,000 will automatically be entitled to a residence permit, for them and their dependents and they will not need a separate permit for work purposes, they will be automatically entitled.

What visa to use for an Occupation Permit

The current requirement for occupation permit applicants to arrive in Mauritius on a business visa to be issued with an occupation permit, is to be waived, i.e. anyone on a tourist visa will not have to leave the country to apply for an occupation permit.

Family Occupation Permit

There will be a new category of Occupation Permit called a 10-year Family Occupation Permit. This will be for anyone contributing USD 250,000 into the COVID-19 Projects Development Fund. More details will follow.

Self Employed Occupation Permits for Non-citizens

Non-citizens holding an Occupation Permit as self-employed will be allowed to incorporate a one-man company and employ administrative staff.

Premium Investor Certificate and Premium Investor Certificate

There will be some new EDB schemes to allow special incentives to be given to certain companies. An example includes a Premium Investor Certificate for those investing more than MUR 500 million in innovative activities allowing a technical committee from the Government to negotiate incentives. There will also be a general Investment Certificate for emerging sectors which will allow all sorts of benefits including an 8-year tax holiday, VAT exemptions etc.

Concierge services in Mauritius

There will be a Business Support Facility for the EDB which will help to advise and facilitate business in Mauritius. There will be a concierge facility to help with the large numbers looking to relocate to Mauritius, particularly retirees.

Young Professional Occupation Permit

International students enrolled in a recognised educational institution in Mauritius can potentially benefit from a 3-Year renewable Young Professional Occupation Permit upon graduation.

Fintech in Mauritius

The Government is very focused on Fintech and innovation and the measures announced include a digital Rupee and a centralised digital system for FSC licences. Using blockchain and digital currencies is certainly the future for business, so it is encouraging to see that the Government is continually trying to innovate with virtual asset legislation.

Business and Finance

There are numerous fiscal measures that offer advantages for different types of licences if you are registering a business in Mauritius. The tax holiday has increased from 5 years to 10 years for Family Offices, Asset Managers and Fund Managers, for example, and there are many other new incentives offered.

The Invest Hotel Scheme

The Invest Hotel scheme (IHS) has been bolstered with more benefits to help the hotel industry. The hotels can now sell up to 80% of their hotel units. The Investor can stay up to 6 months per year, and the minimum price for investing in a standalone villa giving the residence permit is now USD 375,000, to harmonise it with the PDS and Smart Cities.

Renewable Energy

There are lots of incentives for renewable energy on multiple fronts. We won’t go into any detail here but if this is something that is of interest then we suggest that you read up more on the link above.

Conclusion

There are countless provisions covering all sorts of areas from agriculture and the freeport to financial services and the Blue Economy. Overall it is a positive series of improvements to encourage foreigners to move to Mauritius and also invest in Mauritius.

About us

We are a boutique consultancy firm that provides a full spectrum of services for those coming to do business in, invest in, or relocate to Mauritius. We are run by British lawyers and are able to match the high expectation of global clients, with a professional service in a cost-effective and responsive way. We understand the needs of our clients who require discretion and confidentiality and can offer many ancillary services to assist with their needs.

What services TBI Business Advisors can do for you

  • We will have a Zoom/ Teams call or email exchange to understand your requirements.
  • We can assist with the finding and purchasing of property, and setting up of an entity to purchase through.
  • We will advise on the appropriate permit or visa for coming to Mauritius.
  • We will send a detailed proposal with clear costs, timeframes and explanations.
  • We will assemble the documents and make the application on your behalf.
  • We can assist with setting up companies if you are an investor or just creating a business here.
  • We can assist with relocation tasks such as helping with schools, accommodation, insurance, choosing locations.
  • The directors can act as Commissioner for Oaths.
  • We can assist with other business advice and can bring in law firms as and when required.

While every effort is made to ensure that the information given is accurate, the information on this site does not contain legal, tax or any other professional advice. We accept no responsibility or liability due to any information or representation, whether accurate or not, relied upon in the contents. It is an information guide to provide the reader with a useful general, but basic understanding of the different considerations. You must seek local legal, tax or other professional advice before relying on the contents of this site.

Please get in touch to find out more.