Good news for Expats in Mauritius

The Mauritius Budget 2020 has arrived and the good news for expats is that it is going to be much easier to move to Mauritius, to live and work here, and to stay here for longer. There is a potentially large pothole in the road if the Solidarity Levy is applicable to non-Mauritian residents but at face value it is not for now. The first thing that must be borne in mind is that some measures announced in Mauritian budgets do not see the light of day. The second thing is that there will still be some amendments before the bill becomes law, so don’t make any decisions based on the new provisions quite yet.

This list of proposed changes below are simply a sample of many changes brought in, that we view will be most relevant to those already on the island, or looking to come here. There are three main ways that the budget will impact expats in Mauritius.

  1. The requirements to get a permit in Mauritius
  2. The benefits of getting a permit in Mauritius
  • The requirements for investing in property in Mauritius
  1. The Requirements to get a Permit

Investor Permit
The Mauritian Investor Permit is currently one of a number of ways that a non-citizen can live and work in Mauritius. A new provision would allow the Investor to make only an initial USD 50,000 investment into the Mauritian company rather than the current requirement of USD 100,000.

Professional Permit
The new law would allow someone to get a permit to work in Mauritius in certain specified sectors for a basic salary of at least MUR 30,000 per month, extending the provision currently in place for the ICT sector, as opposed to the MUR 60,000 minimum requirement that exists now. More details will follow for this.

  1. The Benefits of getting a permit

Retirement Permit
Retirees will get a 10 year permit rather than 3 years.

Spouses of permit holder
This is one of the most important changes in our view as currently a spouse of a permit holder in an expat couple is not allowed to work in Mauritius without having their own occupation permit. The new rule automatically allows the spouse of a permit holder to work and invest in Mauritius without having a permit in their own right.

Parents of permit holders
Parents of an occupation permit holder will now be able to come and live in Mauritius.

Permits through property investment
Currently, by investing in a property in a PDS scheme or equivalent, one can get residence for the investor and their family but this did not give them the right to work. The proposed law removes the requirement for the investor to need a further permit to work.

Permanent Residence
After 3 years in Mauritius on an occupation permit it looks like it will be much easier to get a Mauritius Permanent Residence Permit. The Permanent Residence Permit itself is going to be increased from 10 years renewable to 20 years.

  • New Property criteria

Minimum threshold
The minimum investment threshold in approved property schemes that give an automatic right to live and work in Mauritius, have lowered from USD 500,000 to USD 375,000.

Smart Cities
Non-citizens who hold a permit, can now buy serviced land for residential purposes within a Smart City up to a maximum size of 2,100 m2. There are various conditions attached but ultimately this is the first time that foreigners can actually own land like this in Mauritius in such a way.

Conclusion
There are a lot of positives that will give more confidence to non-citizens who currently are in Mauritius or looking to come over. Having the longevity of permanent residence more easily as well as grandparents being able to stay, and the dependent spouse being able to work, really opens up Mauritius to many who were on the fence. Wait before making any bold decisions on relocation, and be sure that the final laws enacted are the ones that you are relying on. If you would like updates on any of these points as the changes become law then please get in touch.

About the author
Philip Tsalikis is a practising UK barrister based in Mauritius and registered there as a foreign lawyer. He is the founder of TBI Mauritius, a consultancy firm based in Mauritius but with a global reach and network. TBI assists individuals and businesses with their investment, relocation, setup and operations in Mauritius, and throughout Africa.

Disclaimer
Our aim with our articles is to make them digestible. We keep them short and relevant but we do not update them. They are not designed to be legally relied upon. This article contains no legal, tax or financial advice, all of which should be sought from relevant professionals.

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