Foreign nationals who want to work, live or retire in Mauritius can choose between an occupation, a residence or a permanent residence permit.
Mauritius Occupation Permit
Foreign nationals wishing to work in Mauritius can apply for an Occupation Permit (OP). This permit includes a work permit and a residential permit and is valid for ten years (renewable) and allows you to work and live in Mauritius under the conditions explained below.
Spouses (or a partner from the opposite sex), parents and children (including adopted children under the age of 24) can also apply for an Occupation Permit for a period not exceeding the length of stay granted to the main holder of the Occupation Permit. As of 2020, following the new budget plan, spouses no longer need a specific permit to work or invest in Mauritius.
Statutes allowing foreigners to obtain a Mauritius Occupation Permit
- They invest an initial amount of USD 50,000 and their commercial activities must generate a turnover of at least Rs 12M over the first three years of operations.
- They invest part of the mandatory initial investment fee of USD 50,000 in facilities and high tech equipment. A minimum of USD 25,000 must also be deposited in the bank account of the company under which the application has been made. The remaining amount can also be invested in high tech equipment, the value of which will be estimated from the supplier’s bill, and a report from an approved evaluator from the equipment’s country of origin. In the event that the facilities and equipment must be shipped to Mauritius, the investor must send the bill of lading along with the OP application to the Occupation Permit Unit. Finally, the investor must operate in a specialised sector such as agro-industry, aquaculture, the medical field, ICT-BPO, fintech, natural sciences, biotechnology, industry, blue economy and renewable energies.
- An investor wishing to carry out R&D projects in highly innovative sectors may apply for an Innovator Occupation Permit provided that the amount of money spent on R&D constitutes at least 20% of the total operational costs during the research phase. This permit does not require a minimal amount to be invested.
A salaried professional wishing to obtain an Occupation Permit must earn a monthly base salary equal or superior to Rs 60,000. However, this does not apply for the following sectors, which require a base salary of Rs 30,000: Information and Communication Technologies (ICT), Business Process and Outsourcing (BPO), Pharmaceuticals, and Food Processing.
Salaried professionals may also apply for a short term Occupation Permit for a period not exceeding nine months. This Occupation Permit can be extended for a period not exceeding three months.
A self-employed professional must make an initial transfer of USD 35,000 or an equivalent amount in freely convertible foreign currency, to their Mauritian bank account. Their commercial activity is required to generate an annual revenue superior to Rs 800,000 over their first three years of activity.
Apply for an Occupation Permit
All application requests must be lodged online through the Economic Development Board’s E-Licensing System.
Retirement Residence Permit
Foreign nationals above the age of 50 wishing to enjoy their retirement in Mauritius may obtain a retirement residence permit. To do so, they must transfer an initial fee of at least USD 1,500 (or the equivalent in a freely convertible foreign currency) and commit to the continued transfer of at least USD 1,500 per month until an accrued value of at least USD 18,000 is reached yearly. The Residence Permit for retired foreign nationals is valid for ten years and is renewable.
Residence Permit Attached to Real Estate
Foreign nationals who purchase real estate in Mauritius of an equivalent or superior value to USD 375,000 are eligible for a residential permit, provided that the real estate is an IRS, RES, PDS or SCS development. A residential permit attached to real estate remains valid for as long as the buyer remains the property owner, and that said property is transferred from owner to owner.
The spouse, and children under the age of 24, of the residential permit holder attached to real estate, are also eligible for a residential permit. However, a non-married partner will not be eligible for a residential permit attached to real estate but will be eligible for a residence permit that can be renewed every year.
Is the Residence Permit same as obtaining Mauritian Citizenship?
A Residential Permit is not a Mauritian Citizenship. Even if the residential permit holders are allowed to live in Mauritius, it does not grant them the right to work or own other property in the country. To work in Mauritius, the Residential Permit Holder must make a request for an Occupation Permit (which is usually granted quite easily).
Purchasing Property in Moka
Properties in Moka Smart City are sold on a “Sale in Future State of Completion” or “off-plan” model (Vente en l’État Futur d’Achèvement or VEFA). VEFA properties allow for a staggered payment mode. They are governed by the French Civil Code and validated by a VEFA contract.
Based on articles 1601-3 of the French Civil Code (which applies in Mauritius), property developers are contractually obliged to immediately transfer rights to the land, and the rights to any existing structures, to the purchaser under the VEFA contract.
As construction progresses, the purchaser’s ownership extends to encompass any completed constructions as they are built and is legally required to pay to advance the construction project through its different phases. The developer retains his power as a project manager until the delivery of the construction project.
Following the 2020 budget, owners of an Occupation or Residential permit may acquire serviced land of a surface area not exceeding 2,100 m2 in a Smart City (for residential purposes only). The purchase must be completed by June 30, 2022, and construction must be completed within 5 years. It should be noted that foreign nationals have access to only 25% of the residential land in Smart Cities.
Acquisition phases of a VEFA (off-plan) sale:
In Mauritius, VEFA sale is carried out in three stages, two of which are sealed by a specific contract.
Contract of Preliminary Reservation (CRP)
This first contract – signed between the purchaser and the developer – reserves the rights to a particular property. Upon signing the contract, an agreed deposit must be made to a specified bank account, that is customarily opened by a notary.
The Letter of Approval From the Economic Development Board
The Economic Development Board (EDB) must issue a letter of approval before a foreign national is able to own an SCS-type property. To do so, purchasers are required to submit several documents to the developers of a project. Once all the documents are in order, developers will then submit an application, on behalf of the purchaser, for an SCS type property to the EDB. The EDB then studies the application and issues a letter of approval to finalise the purchase if satisfied.
The Deed of Sale (DOS)
Once the letter of approval is issued, both the purchaser and the developer must sign a Deed of Sale in the presence of a notary. Upon signing, the purchaser becomes the owner of the property.
To satisfy the requirements of the VEFA, developers must apply to a reputable banking institution for a “Guarantie Financière d’Achèvement” (GFA). The GFA is a financial guarantee which ensures that the purchaser is delivered their property as per the condition stipulated in their contract. Should the developer fail to complete the project, the banks will step in and guarantee the completion of the project.
Eligibility Criteria for a Long Term Mauritius Residence Permit
A long term residence permit allows a non-Mauritian citizen to live and work in Mauritius for 20 years. Anyone matching the criteria below is eligible for a permanent residence permit:
An investor in possession of an Occupation Permit of 3 years minimum
Provided an investor can generate a gross annual income exceeding Rs 15M or a total turnover of Rs 15M over three consecutive years.
An investor who has invested at least USD 375,000 in an activity
The activity must fall within the following sectors: Agro-industry, audiovisual, cinema and communication, banks, construction, education, green energy production, financial services, fishing and marine resources, freeport, information technology, infrastructure, insurance, leisure, manufacturing, tourism development, warehousing, development of marinas and IPO.
A self-employed professional with an occupation permit
Provided they earn an annual revenue that is equivalent, or superior to, RS 3M over the course of three consecutive years.
A Salaried Professional with an Occupation Permit
Provided that their monthly salary is superior to Rs 150, 000 for three years prior to the application of their Permanent Residence permit.
A retiree in possession of a Residence Permit for a period of 3 years
Provided they have transferred on their Mauritian bank account a sum equal, or superior to USD 54K (or the equivalent in a freely convertible foreign currency) over the duration of their 3-year stay.
A person in possession of an Occupation Permit or Residential Permit that is eligible for a Permanent Resident permit.
A person in possession of an Occupation Permit/Residential Permit for at least three years and whose Occupation Permit/Residential Permit is valid as of the 1st of September 2020 is eligible for a Permanent Residence permit of a duration of 20 years.
The conditions for eligibility are identical to those which govern the renewal of an Occupation Permit/Residential Permit. It’s important to note that investors, self-employed professionals, and retirees need not wait for their 10-year permit to expire before applying for a Permanent Residence Permit. They can apply after three years, provided they meet all the criteria for eligibility.