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Mauritius is making residency even more attractive to South Africans

Why the island is a viable emigration option.
Image: Bloomberg

Mauritius has officially reopened its borders to South Africans, ending the 18-month travel ban imposed on SA visitors. The Mauritius Tourism Promotion Authority (MTPA) openly welcomed South African tourists back to the Mauritius shores, which is a token of the relationship between the two countries.

This sigh of relief comes at a time when many South Africans are shopping for countries to emigrate or travel to. Whether expanding their businesses, hoping for a beach retirement or planning a new start with their families, the island already ticks all the right boxes.

If you are contemplating a permanent move, these points explain why Mauritius is a viable option.

Benefits of getting residency in Mauritius

Mauritius offers a stable and diverse economy, low unemployment, thriving business platforms and beach views that demand regular sundowner cocktails.

Investment requirements decreased

The prerequisites to obtaining any type of residency permit through investments have been adjusted to make residency more attractive. The minimum investment required to obtain an Occupational Permit (OP) has dropped from $100 000 to $50 000, while permanent residency permits through property investment have dropped from a threshold of $500 000 to $375 000.

Permit validity periods extended

Retirement permits were valid for only three years but have now been extended to ten years. The validity period of permanent residency permits, as well as work permits, have been extended from ten years to twenty years, which is a substantial adjustment.

Real estate on the island

The idea of owning a holiday villa can be infectious. Expatriates and holiday goers who visit Mauritius often succumb to the dream of living on the island. Ownership can be acquired by investing in a freehold property, or by applying for a renewable 99-year lease agreement where the title deed remains in the name of the applicant.

Self-employment or working remotely

Even self-employment permits will now only set you back $35 000 – with a validity of ten years from the date of issue. For the digital nomad who operates as a freelancer, this creates a dream remote working location, making it hard to pass up on.

These points make the visa application process a rewarding and seamless exercise.

The difficulty of leaving South Africa

While the Mauritian government has undertaken to simplify the immigration process, the difficulty arises when disentangling yourself from the South African tax net. Depending on the intricacies of your circumstances, the exit process can become unnecessarily complex.

For instance, on March 1, 2021, the three-year lock-in rule on retirement funds came into effect in South Africa. Those who were relying on the lump-sum encashment before maturity date of their preservation funds or retirement annuities to invest in Mauritian property, and so ‘buy’ their residency, must now be a non-tax resident of South Africa for three consecutive years before gaining access to their retirement savings.

The process of becoming a non-resident for tax purposes is not automatic, it is a formal declaration to be made to Sars. One needs to be fully compliant with Sars to achieve non-residency bearing in mind there are Capital Gains Tax (CGT) consequences with ceasing tax residency. Being able to objectively prove one’s permanent intention to remain abroad and not to return to SA is the most important requirement.

Making use of financial emigration or applying the Double Taxation Agreement between Mauritius and South Africa is the prudent approach in these circumstances.

Conclusion

Mauritius is not just a holiday paradise in the Indian Ocean, but it is also only a four-hour flight away, making it a hop-skip-and-a-jump from South Africa, to visit family and friends. Precisely for these reasons, Mauritius ticks all the right boxes from competitive business set up costs, a more discretionary immigration process rather than strict legal requirements to a quicker route to permanent residency than countries such as the UK, US and even Portugal.

As such, before embarking or exploring your options on your journey to Mauritius, where the end goal is to obtain permanent residency, it is vital to get clarity on your tax residency status and advice on how to minimise your tax liability when emigrating to Mauritius.

Zainab Bouziane is an expatriate solution specialist at Xpatweb; and Reinert van Rensburg is an expatriate tax specialist  at Tax Consulting.

COMMENTS   31

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There are no immigrants coming to South Africa due to cANCer policies! There are only emigrants. This will cut the tax revenue for SARS. Our govt just dont get it to change their mind set.

Spot on! Our children, lots of them highly qualified, are leaving in droves. It’s not that the government doesn’t know this. They don’t care.

It’s what they want

Absolutely

Is there no alternative? It is sad one cannot do a global citizen arrangement and earn usd while living local off zar. I feel that there are so many beautiful places in SA with potential for remote work, marred by crime and corruption.

You need to start being truthful and stop being naive. There are more people wanting to move into South Africa than out! So do your research.

Yes more people coming to SA by number but existing skilled people and tax base leaving. Not sustainable…

Yes you are correct but what can they offer South Africa in terms of skills etc. I think a lot less than the people leaving as many of the people concerned are simply trying to escape the rigors of living in the rest of Africa. Also once they are here they are exposed to xenophobia.

Yes! Those destitute people coming illegally across the Limpopo. Lots of them

@Dadape, Yes I agree there are more people emigrating to SA, those are the unskilled fence hopping Africans who are fleeing their home countries.

However, the skilled and educated South Africas are the ones that are leaving with their money.

There are far better opportunities that have half the risk and half the input costs that South Africa has.

The ANC clearly believe that BEE makes SA more competitive and attractive, it’s the exact opposite.

True that, def a huge surplus of car cards and …. car guards

I agree. From the rest of Africa. I wonder WHY?

Mauritius is boring. SA has way more action!

Anyone noticed that a “virus” has lately discovered MW

Each comment made against the regime by subscribers gets a few thumbs down

This seems to he a new trend of late

Bet my bottom dollar this comment will get a few

I received less thumbs down than expected

A worm has infiltrated our discussion community and is clearly pro everything we’re not

Not even worth guessing where they’re from

The new “Dada Ape” virus?

My comment got blocked by Moneyweb

C a d r e infiltration

Funny you mentioned this – I have noticed the same thing! Perhaps there are just more people of differing opinions reading MW now….but I sense this is not the case.

How good is the medical and social security in Mauritius?

Pretty good from what I read.

Just heard yesterday than acquaintances are re-locating from wind-swept Camps Bay to Mauritius. There goes another supertax payer.

… and now another two going to France.

Welcome in France. After having lived for 3 years and 5 months in France I have lots of information on how to ease the transition. Sunshine 300 day in the year! We do not miss the Namib. If we want to see the Karoo we just hop over the border to Spain. And uninterupted electricity and clean water. Vive la France!

Bye bye. Nobody is irreplacable. Somebody else will do that job or an entrepreneur will fill the gap.

how many entrepreneurs do you know who can repair an inguinal hernia? As far as inane comments go this must be one of the best this year.

Specialist doctors are easily replaced by Cuban doctors. Also, don’t forget that medical schools in SA are very careful about who they let in to study medicine. Certain groups who are not 100% committed to SA don’t get in.

@EFF gent….I have seen Cuban Doctors work..mmmmm. I’d rather let my local butcher repair my inguinal hernia, which is not a difficult op. SA doctors are sought after world wide, AND are leaving the republic of Disneyland in droves. You do not replace experienced people / brain drain with just any wannabee hopeful. But, you are entitiled to your views! And by the way sir…where is socialism successful..Venezuela? Cuba? Zimbabwe? Last I heard Venezuela had and infaltion rate of 130,000% in 2018 and is at 2,300% in 2020. Sad! I would leave if I had enough money. Note that we have the highest tax rates in all of Africa!

Specialist doctors are easily replaced by Cuban doctors. Also, don’t forget that medical schools in SA are very careful about who they let in to study medicine. Certain groups who are not 100% committed to SA don’t get in.

Bye bye. Nobody is irreplacable. Somebody else will do that job or an entrepreneur will fill the gap.

EFF COMMISAR at moneyweb, wonder what he want from capitalist, since he is a socialist

End of comments.

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