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Why Mauritius has become even more attractive for expats

(The Southern African Times) – Mauritius has created a range of incentives that will effectively make it cheaper and easier than ever for investors and expatriates to live and work in the country, including reduced minimum investment limits and extending residency permits from three to 10 years.

The changes, announced in the Mauritian national budget on 4 June 2020, have been designed to encourage foreign talent and investment to boost the country’s economy.

They will see existing residency permits and related procedures simplified and extended, and more flexibility provided in terms of investments.

Sovereign Trust consultant Ralph Wichtmann said one of the highlights of the new measures was the reduction of the minimum investment required to acquire an occupation permit as an investor, and live in Mauritius as a non-citizen, to $50,000, from $100,000.

The validity of an occupation permit has also been extended from three to 10 years, and the spouses of occupation permit holders will no longer require a separate permit to invest or work in Mauritius.

The holders of occupation permits will also be allowed to bring their parents and dependents under 24 to live in Mauritius.

Work and residence permits will be combined into one document; people who have held a Residence Permit for three years will be allowed to apply for permanent residence; and permanent residence permits will be extended from 10 to 20 years.

Wichtmann said the Mauritian government’s decision to allow occupation permit holders to buy up to 2,100 sq m of land for residential use within smart city schemes, subject to certain conditions being met, was a ‘major concession’.

Previously, non-citizens could only buy homes in schemes specifically designated for foreign buyers.

“The changes to the requirements for the various permits and acquisition of land are clear incentives to make Mauritius more attractive to prospective investors, talented individuals and expatriates wishing to base themselves in Mauritius,” said Wichtmann.

South Africans looking to acquire immediate Permanent Residence in Mauritius by investing in a property scheme will also benefit, with the minimum purchase price being reduced from $500,000 to $375,000.

This permit is valid for an initial 10 years and is renewable for as long as the investor owns the property.

However, an important change that investors need to be aware of is the fact that the Mauritian Solidarity Levy will be applied to all Mauritian residents, and not just citizens, said Wichtmann.

The Solidarity Levy is an additional 25% tax on qualifying income exceeding MUR 3 000 000 per annum. However, the amount payable as a Solidarity Levy cannot be greater than 10% of the qualifying income.

The Mauritian government also announced several changes for companies based in Mauritius, including an eight-year tax holiday for companies that manufacture pharmaceutical products, medical devices or high-tech products, provided the company started operating after 8 June 2017.

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