Given the deteriorating socio-political and economic situation in SA, the number of South African families securing a Plan B in Mauritius is increasing exponentially in 2020. The following changes announced by the Mauritian Government as part of their Coronavirus budget speech makes it far easier for South Africans to emigrate to the island nation:1. REDUCED INVESTMENT REQUIREMENT: In order to obtain an Occupation Permit, investors will now only have to invest $50,000 (R869,000 as at 22 June 2020); previously, the requirement for obtaining a long-term residence permit in the island nation was $100,000 (R1.74 million).
2. VISA DURATION: The validity period of the Mauritius Occupation Permit (OP) has been increased from 3 years to 10 years.
3. PATH TO PERMANENT RESIDENCY: Going forward the work and residency permits will be a single consolidated document. Those who have held a Mauritius Residency Permit for 3 years will become eligible to apply for Permanent Residency Status, with the PR permit being issued for 20 years (previously 10 years) in future.
4. NO SPOUSAL WORK PERMIT APPLICATION REQUIRED: Subject to the primary applicant holding a work permit for Mauritius, their spouse will be eligible to work in the country without an additional work permit application being required.
5. PARENTS NOW ELIGIBLE: Subject to migrant investors being able to prove adequate means for economic self-sufficiency, the Mauritian government also allows them to bring their parents to the island as dependents.
6. NEW PROPERTY INVESTMENT OPTIONS AVAILABLE: Whereas investors formerly had to invest in either the Real Estate Schemes (RES), Integrated Resort Schemes (IRS) or the Property Development Schemes, leaving a lot less scope for personal tastes and development requirements, foreign investors now have the option of purchasing a plot of land of up to 2,100m2 in a new “Smart City” and developing it for bespoke residential use. They also now have the option of purchasing a pre-owned apartment in buildings with at least 3 storeys.
7. REDUCED PROPERTY INVESTMENT REQUIREMENT FOR PERMANENT RESIDENCY: Another key regulatory change pertains to the Mauritius Permanent Residency route: Whereas previously investors seeking immediate permanent residency (PR) status in Mauritius had to invest a minimum amount of $500,000 in a government approved property development, the minimum investment amount has now been lowered to only $375,000, placing second permanent residency within reach for a far larger percentage of South African families.
8. MAURITIAN MORTGAGES FOR SOUTH AFRICANS LAUNCHED: As of July 2020, Mauritian banks will also make home loan facilities available to South African investors, subject to a deposit of 60% being made. The prime lending rate in Mauritius is currently only 3.35%.