South Africans seeking a golden visa opportunity in Mauritius
More and more wealthy South Africans are using offshore investments as a means to secure either residency or citizenship in foreign countries. Some are relocating their families and starting new lives abroad while others are using it with an eye towards their retirement. Whatever the motivation is, investors looking to use these ‘Golden Visa’ opportunities, now have more options available than ever before.
One of the top preferred destinations for South Africans investing in Golden Visas, is Portugal. The Portuguese Golden Visa programme offers a variety of benefits including residency in the European Union, which allows you and your family visa-free visa-free travel to 26 Schengen countries through Europe. The country also offers an improved and safer lifestyle, access to quality healthcare and education, safe stable economy, as well as an extremely vibrant and fertile real estate market. Make no mistake, Portugal is a fantastic Golden Visa option.
However, Mauritius is currently challenging Portugal’s number one position when it comes to South Africans looking for Golden Visa opportunities. This article explores why the island of Mauritius, which has so long been a favourite for South Africans looking for a holiday destination, has now risen to be in the top two destinations when considering Golden Visas.
One of the main reasons investors are considering Mauritius above Portugal, can be found in the fine print of Portugal’s Golden Visa program. For South Africans who want to invest in real estate in Portugal, a minimum investment of €350,000 is required. However, this allows investors to only invest in properties for which the construction has been concluded at least 30 years ago, or for predetermined properties in urban rehabilitation areas. Of course, this means the cost of renovation becomes a significant factor that has to be calculated and added to the final amount.
Investing in property in Mauritius does not have this drawback and when this fact is added to the multiple additional benefits of investing and relocating to Mauritius, for many South Africans, it becomes the preferred option.
Another clear advantage of Mauritius over Portugal is its close proximity to South Africa. Not only do most expats still maintain and cherish their South African connections, but it also allows business professionals the ease of traveling between SA and Mauritius regularly.
Mauritius also offers a high quality of life, a thriving business environment, quality healthcare and education, and the cost of living is on average 5.3% cheaper than in Portugal. Tax rates in Mauritius are extremely favourable with rates of only about 15%, and as a country where English is the predominant language, you will not have the extra stress of learning a foreign language just to be able to find work or enjoy an education.
The Mauritian government also seems to be pro-actively and constantly evolving the Golden Visa system in order to make it as attractive as possible to foreign investors applying for Permanent Residency. Some of the most recent adjustments include:
- In order to gain a Mauritian Occupation Permit as an investor, the minimum investment amount has been halved from $100,000 (R1.470 000 million) to $50,000 (R735,000). This permit allows you to live in Mauritius as a non-citizen. (R 14,70 to the US Dollar)
- They have also extended the validity of Occupation Permits from 3 to 10 years.
- Occupation Permit holders are allowed to bring their parents to Mauritius as dependents.
- Holders of Occupation Permits will now also be allowed to purchase up to 2100sqm of land for residential use in one of the ‘Smart Cities’ being developed by Mauritius.
- Occupation Permit holders do not have to obtain additional work permits for a spouse.
- The required amount to gain immediate Permanent Residence has been lowered from $500,000 (R7,350 million) to $375,000 (R5,512 million), property and business investments. (R14,70 to the US Dollar)
- Work and Residence permits are also now combined into one document and anyone who has held a Residence Permit for 3 years will be allowed to apply for Permanent Residency.
- The validity of a Permanent Residence permit has also been extended from 10 to 20 years.
Added to all the practical and financial benefits of choosing Mauritius, is also the fact that Mauritius is an island paradise. There is a good reason it has remained as one of the top destinations for South African travelers. The island nation is idyllic and residents can enjoy a tropical island lifestyle most of us only ever dream of. Water-sports, scuba diving and snorkeling, sailing, endless pristine beaches, island hopping, and exotic foods are just another day in the life of Mauritians.