As an American Expat, you need to understand US Expat Taxes. Even if you are a tax resident in your new home, you may still have tax obligations to th
Living in Mauritius: How to make a move to the perfect island life
Expat surveys show that life as an immigrant in Mauritius is a wonderful experience. As a result, more and more people are moving to Mauritius each year. Why do people love living in Mauritius? It is much more than just the perfect tropical island beaches and mountain ranges. A booming economy and a safe and secure society remind many people of times gone by. Great schools, quality healthcare, and a warm island welcome round out the amazing package. The government also encourages a move to Mauritius with an awesome range of visas and residence permits to suit any stage of life. There are options for students, parents, professionals, investors, and retirees.
Mauritius is an island nation in the Indian Ocean, about 1800 kilometers from the African mainland. The green mountains of the island and its white beaches arise from clear blue waters. Setting foot on the shore is like stepping into a dream. But Expat Mauritius is more than just tropical beaches.
We love this video, which helps you get a feel for Mauritius.
You’ll hear English (the official language) often, and on the streets, people commonly speak Creole and French. Also, Afrikaans, Asian languages, and other Expat languages are not unusual.
Where to live in Mauritius as an Expat
The best place to live in Mauritius depends on your preference. But this amazing country has something for everyone.
Mauritius city life
Port Louis is the capital of the country and the largest city. Around 150,000 people live in this vibrant hub. Port Louis is the country’s economic, cultural, and financial center. Because of this, a significant Expat population is drawn to the opportunity it offers. And, Expat satisfaction surveys consistently find happy Expats here.
The city has some beautiful architecture and shows traces of its colonial history. The Dutch, French, and British at various times held the country.
Foodies will love the city as each of these colonizers left some trace of their cuisine. And immigration from Asia and local influences combined to make for an exciting local foodie scene.
Port Louis is a happening place from the cinemas and top-end boutiques of Caudan Waterfront to the buzz of the central market.
Other popular cities in Mauritius include Beau Bassin-Rose Hill, Moka, Curepipe, and QuatreBornes. They range in size and facilities, but all have some Expat presence.
For many Expats, a smaller town is what they are after. Trou aux Biches, Flic en Flac, Calodyne, and Tamarin all have their fans.
Luxury and gated communities of various sizes offer everything from private beaches to championship golf courses.
Mauritius has five official mountain ranges. The highest peak of 828 m is Piton de la Petite Rivière Noire. These areas offer cooler weather and regular breezes. And, for the energetic, they also offer fantastic hiking and trekking.
The Mauritius government has a strong focus on education. There is free primary and high school for Mauritians, and academic attainment is at a high level. This is shown in the excellent youth literacy rate of 98.1%.
Mauritius bases its education program on the British system. Both English and French are mandatory in schools in Mauritius.
There are international schools (predominantly British system and English medium) for all ages. Some international schools also offer the international baccalaureate.
The country has two local universities, the University of Mauritius and the University of Technology. The Open University of Mauritius offers distance learning for undergraduate and postgraduate programs. International Universities, like London’s Middlesex University, also have local campuses. In addition, tertiary study is available at a range of Technical and Vocational Educational and Training (TVET) institutions.
For information on Student Visas in Mauritius, please click the link.
Working in Mauritius as an Expat.
The Legatum Prosperity Index ranks Mauritius 44th in the world! Investors and highly- skilled professionals are encouraged to do business on the island.
Mauritius is doing great in many ways. Employment is rising, and with its open economy, the country aims to continue the increase of the economy. The government’s policies have born fruit – this small nation punches above its weight.
The World Bank ranks Mauritius as the 13th best place to do business in the world. This recognition results from government policies to encourage investment, innovation, and entrepreneurship.
Large companies in Mauritius include:
- Air Mauritius
- Mauritius Commercial Bank
- State Insurance Company of Mauritius (SICOM)
- Shell Mauritius
- Conglomerates like Ireland Blythand the Ciel Group
- Accounting / Consultancies like Accenture, PWC, EY, and BDO.
Almost 70% of jobs are in the services sector, with 25% in industry and 5% in agriculture. The biggest employers are:
- Financial Services
Mauritius offers a great selection of work permits. The Mauritian Immigration department calls them Occupation Permits, and they cover everything from starting a business to a multinational headquartered here employing you.
Where once there was a reputation for red tape and roadblocks, Mauritius is now open for business.
Opening a company in Mauritius
If you want to start a business, you have a number of opportunities. In Mauritius, the incorporation of a company is managed by the Registrar of Companies. For the new company, at least one director should be a resident of the country.
If you are looking to start a business and need a visa, there are two options for Expats.
- Self-Employed Mauritius Occupation permits – This is the visa for one-person self-employed companies.
- Self-Employed Mauritius Occupation permits – This is the visa for all other companies.
Mauritius has a simple and attractive tax system.
There is a corporate and personal tax rate of 15% (or 10% for low-income earners). VAT Is also 15%. There are possibilities for exemptions on international income.
Dividends from Mauritius companies are tax-free. Foreign dividends are taxable, but there are credits available.
There is no capital gains tax.
The country is a signatory to international tax treaties, meaning no double taxation for many Expats in Mauritius.
A range of visas for entrepreneurs and Investors in Mauritius businesses allow you to benefit from this tax system.
Can Expats buy property in Mauritius?
Yes, Expats can buy property in Mauritius with some restrictions. Happily, the government changed the law in 2016, making it much less restrictive than in the past.
The property must be part of the approved Property Development Scheme (PDS), which has replaced the old IRS and RES programs.
You can buy an apartment, villa, or house under the program. And, any property over USD$375,000 comes with a residence permit that allows you to live in the country. This simple residency-by-investment program is very attractive for Expats and retirees looking to move to Mauritius. The permit is valid as long as you own the property.
There’s a flat registration fee of 5% on all properties. The property can be your residence or an investment.
Importantly, you are the 100% legal owner of the property and hold all rights to the property once the purchase is complete.
The island’s location in the Indian Ocean means it is an excellent air travel hub. There are more than 300 direct flights per week to Europe, Africa, Asia, and the Middle East.
Since 2018 the government has funded infrastructure projects to improve roads and traffic issues. This investment includes the Metro Express, which started passenger services in 2020. As this light rail system expands, it should dramatically improve commuting in Mauritius. The aim is to link Port Loius and Cure Pipe in the coming years.
Mauritius has an excellent private healthcare system to complement the public system.
Internet speed can vary in quality. MyT offers packages of up to 100 MBS and 4 TB volumes, but that is a max download speed. Large investment in telecommunications means connectivity is acceptable and improving connections in most of the country.
Mauritius is secure and safe.
There is very little violent crime in Mauritius. It is the safest country in Africa and ranks highly on the Global Peace Index and the Legatum Prosperity Index above many European countries. In general, you can live a life without worrying about the safety of yourself or your family.
There is some petty crime in tourist areas, but standard precautions are all that are required.
Cyclones can impact Mauritius (the season is November to May), but most infrastructure has been built with this in mind. The country has an excellent phased early-warning system, so follow local advice.
Mauritius is malaria-free, but there have been a few isolated cases of Chikungunya. The excellent healthcare infrastructure in the country means that infectious diseases are not a significant threat as in other parts of the world.
Cost-of-living in Mauritius
Buying and renting a house or flat can vary across the nation. Desirable tourist hotspots will cost much more than smaller, more remote areas.
Be aware that the cost of goods can be expensive. Mauritius is an island which means they import many things. You’ll need to do some research to understand the actual cost of living here.
Cost-of-living is difficult to judge because everyone has different budgets and outgoings.
For example, costs would be higher than in South Africa but nowhere near that of London. You can use the US State Department per diem rate as a guide. Their rate for Mauritius is around 60% of that of the UK, while it is much the same as South Africa.
The Mauritian climate
This island paradise offers a subtropical climate with year-round sunshine (more than 300 days a year, on average). Summer (November – April) is hot, with coastal temperatures between 25° C and 33° C. Winter (May – October) is cooler and dryer, with temperatures from 17° C and 25° C.
Ocean temperatures are beautiful all year from January to December, ranging between 23° C and 28° C.
The coastal areas are generally warmer than the mountainous areas of the country.
How to emigrate to Mauritius
Living in Mauritius will provide you with tropical beaches and great weather year-round. Mauritius offers a safe environment that is perfect for an active, outdoor lifestyle. In many ways, life today in Mauritius can feel like a memory of a simpler, happier time!
The country welcomes Expats with communities from many nations. And many Mauritian visas and residence permit options lead to Mauritius citizenship and a passport. And if you don’t want a second passport, Mauritius Permanent Residency (PR) is a great option.
Check out all your options to immigrate to Mauritius and the immigration requirements in our detailed article.
With all it has to offer, South Africans are increasingly choosing to emigrate to Mauritius. And, it is not just a retirement destination with a brilliant retirement visa. People of all ages and life stages are moving here for a new life.
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