How to live and work in Mauritius in 2023

Eyeing Mauritius for 2023 and beyond? You’re not alone.

There was a time not so long ago when the majority of South Africans only considered holidaying in Mauritius with its pristine beaches, palm trees, and crystal-clear waters. This perception is quickly changing as Mauritius becomes an ever more attractive relocation option for business owners, families, and retirees. And in most cases, it’s easier than you think to set in motion your plan of a future in a tropical paradise.

And the options are not only there for High Net Individuals (HNIs), according to Shawn Thompson, who has moved his business to Mauritius. “There’s a whole range of tiers in terms of people coming out, and the island does need all of them. There are companies with global operations in Mauritius with hundreds of employees, down to professionals and consultants operating independently like me,” says Shawn.

Why Mauritius?

Climate, culture, history, and proximity to South Africa (a four-hour flight from Johannesburg and five hours from Cape Town) make living in Mauritius an obvious choice.

“Mauritius is an ideal destination for South Africans,” says Shawn. “It has excellent infrastructure; it’s safe, and just look at the natural beauty and wonderful cultural mix. It’s a combination that’s hard to beat, especially so close to home.”

Mauritius offers four primary residency options for individuals to work and live in the country, each with its own eligibility criteria.

Investing in Mauritius for residency

Investors have four avenues through which they can enter Mauritius in order to live and work there. The first is simple and straightforward: Establish a new business in Mauritius and transfer a minimum of USD50 000 into the company’s account.

If you already own or are set to inherit a business that is based in Mauritius, you will be eligible for a Residence Permit providing the company has a minimum net asset value of USD50 000 and can show a minimum turnover of MUR12 million (+/- USD260 000) over the three years preceding the application.

Alternatively, you can import high-tech equipment to the value of at least USD25 000 with a parallel investment of USD25 000 into the same company account.

Lastly, investors can apply for an Innovator Occupation Permit. This holds no minimum investment criteria but requires applicants to submit details of their innovative project to the Economic Development Board (EDB). In addition, at least 20% of the project must comprise a Research & Development component.

All of the above cases will secure an Investor Permit that is valid for 10 years, after which the permit can be renewed or extended.

Retiring in Mauritius

Moving to Mauritius from South Africa for retirement is a relatively straightforward means to acquire residency. To be eligible, you must be a non-citizen and at least 50 years of age. In addition, a minimum of USD1 500 must be transferred into a Mauritian bank account with a minimum monthly payment of USD1 500 or a minimum of USD18 000 per year for the 10-year validity period of the Residence Permit.

Buying property in Mauritius

There are six different schemes for buying property in Mauritius as a South African.

  • The Property Development Scheme (PDS) allows investors to develop and sell high‑standing residential units primarily to non-citizens. The development must be worth at minimum USD375 000, and comprise at least six residential properties and must offer the amenities and services expected of a luxury establishment.
  • The Smart City Scheme (SCS) offers residential units in special innovative regions. As the name suggests, SCS developments are large-scale, mixed-use estates that combine work, life, and play with an emphasis on smart technology. Investment options here include townhouses, villas, apartments, penthouses, and duplexes, and the property must be worth at USD375 000.
  • The Invest Hotel Scheme (IHS) requires a minimum investment of USD375 000 into a luxury unit in an approved new or existing Mauritian hotel. The unit is yours to use for 45 days in any 12-month period, and income can be derived through leasing the unit.
  • The Ground +2 Scheme (G+2) allows you to invest a minimum of USD375 000 in part of a condominium development of at least two floors above the ground floor. Providing the property remains yours, your Residence Permit will be valid.
  • The Integrated Resort Scheme (IRS) allows you to acquire a residential property like villas, townhouses, penthouses, apartments, duplexes and serviced plots of land in existing IRS projects, at a minimum amount of USD375 000.
  • The Real Estate Scheme (RES) offers residences like villas, penthouses, duplexes, and apartments located within exclusive albeit smaller residential developments. As with other options, the minimum investment amount is USD375 000.

Business opportunities in Mauritius

Working in Mauritius will also make you eligible for an Occupation Permit, providing you fall under one of two categories.

The first is via employment in Mauritius where the basic monthly salary is MUR60 000 (+/- USD1 300). However, if you work in the ICT or BPO industries or in the pharmaceutical manufacturing or food processing sectors, the minimum basic monthly salary is MUR30 000 (+/- USD675).

The second category is for self-employed individuals who work in the service sector, operating a one‑person business and working exclusively for their own account. To be eligible, a minimum transfer of USD35 000 must be made into your Mauritian bank account.

For shorter-term stays, the Premium Visa allows remote workers to live and work in Mauritius for up to one year, with an option to renew. It is issued free of charge and there is no processing fee applicable.

According to Shawn, the individuals who choose to move to Mauritius are diverse: “Some choose to move to Mauritius because they’re looking for a career change or want to make the shift out of working in corporate into working for themselves in a new environment. There are so many more options now that working from home has become popular and Mauritius is ideal for this. They have good, cheap fibre connectivity across the island and we’ve seen quite a lot of self-employed people making this choice.”

Mauritius—the perfect swallow’s nest

If you’re looking for a taste of the island life, but not ready to make the big leap, Mauritius is an excellent option. With one foot at home in South Africa and the other in the soft sands of the island, you get the best of both worlds. And, if down the line you decide to make the move permanent, you’re already halfway set up. When you’re ready to start exploring your options, Safyr Utilis will be there every step of the way. We have walked this path with countless clients who are now happily settled on a tropical island off the coast of Africa, and you could be next.