A postcard-worthy setting, the warm welcome of Mauritians, the widespread use of French, the recognition of the political stability of the island and an interesting taxation rate are some of the arguments that eventually convince many to expatriate on this tiny island of the Indian Ocean. To enhance this experience, some elements must however be considered.
To be able to enjoy the year-round comfortable climate and to enjoy the sweetness of life characteristic to the island, the applicant for expatriation must nevertheless be able to enter a category of profiles established by the Mauritian authorities. The very first step in obtaining the prominent permit is to make a request to the Economic Development Board, the organization which has the authority to issue residence permits to foreigners. The files submitted must contain numerous elements, among which the state of health of the applicant, his certificate of morality (which corresponds to the extract of French criminal record) and proof of his competences in the activity stated; documents on which the EDB will rely to make its decision.
The most coveted permit is that of permanent residence. But it can be issued only on the condition of acquiring a property, apartment or villa, amounting to at least 500 000 USD, registered in the specific real estate schemes of IRS, RES and PDS. To obtain it is then to be fiscally attached to Mauritius, provided that you live there for at least 183 days of the year. Nevertheless, being directly related to the property acquired, the owner deciding to resell it will immediately lose the joint benefits of tax status.
All other types of permits are valid for three years, with the possibility of renewing it beyond this deadline. The people concerned are the pensioner and the professional; whether the latter being a wage-earner (with the obligation for the company of paying him a salary of at least Rs 60 000), an independent worker (with a bank deposit of 30 000 USD to obtain a “work permit” and obligation to generate a minimum cumulative turnover of Rs 2.4M over 3 years), or an investor. Anyone wishing to set up their business on the island must apply for an investor’s permit, implying a starting bid of USD 100,000 excluding real estate purchase, with the obligation to produce a turnover of Rs 4M each year.
One of the things you need to know is that bringing your personal belongings as part of a move is free of customs duties, as long as you present your residence permit when you withdraw your business. Items must be already used and for domestic use: furniture, paintings, linens, hifi appliances etc … with a special regime for vehicles. Foreign nationals – resident or otherwise – can open a bank account upstream of their installation, through a consulting firm or accounting firm for example, and have a current account in rupees or in a foreign currency. Movements of funds are free as long as the source of the funds is justified. It is recommended to be referenced at the Embassy or Consulate of your country of origin upon arrival. In terms of health coverage, take insurance from your country of origin – the ‘Caisse des Français à l’Etranger’ for the French – with a local complementary health insurance, interesting in case of long-term hospitalization, heavy surgical procedures, or a series of expensive examinations, is also strongly advised.
Finally, if the cost of living is lower than in Europe, it is nevertheless higher than in the Maghreb or in Asia. But it remains variable according to its geographical area of attachment. Residing in land is cheaper than at the seaside, just like buying fruits and vegetables in markets rather than in supermarkets. In the case of schooling of children, the range of possibilities is wide. In addition to free Mauritian public schools, the Mauritian education system has a network of high quality French, English and international schools (from kindergarten to high school), but the costs remain high. To quickly get into the swing, many associations that flourished in support of newly arrived expatriates (such as Mauritius Home for the North, Tamarin Home for the West Zone) represent interesting alternatives to have access to the right information as soon as you arrive, and quickly build a new friendly social network.