IS MAURITIUS CALLING YOU?
As worldwide travel bans are being lifted, many South Africans are reassessing their views on their own country, while contemplating the idea of working abroad. Many dread the notion of moving far away from their home country, especially those who would be leaving family or friends behind. Ultimately, they look at emigrating to Mauritius, which is just a four-hour flight away.
Resting in the heart of the Indian Ocean, Mauritius has a land area of 2,040 sq km. It is nearly the same size as Luxembourg, which makes it roughly 5 times larger than the Seychelles, but nearly 5 times smaller than Jamaica. Where Mauritius has a population of 1.4 million people, South Africa is nearing on 56 million.
This multicultural country has a stable economy with an island lifestyle that includes endless beaches, idyllic scenery, a fantastic tropical climate, and year-round warm water. As lovely as that sounds, there is also the need to properly research the country you wish to emigrate to. Here are some points to consider before making your choice.
Mauritius generally has a low unemployment rate, around the 7% mark. However, this could still be negatively impacted by the pandemic-induced lockdowns and the subsequent economic pressures. South Africa, on the other hand, just hit a record-high unemployment figure of 34.4%, which makes us one of the countries with the highest unemployment rates.
As a rapidly developing country, Mauritius relies heavily on skilled foreign nationals to bring in specific skills. South Africa is only a stone’s throw away, which makes Mauritius a favoured expatriate destination. The ease of obtaining work permits in Mauritius, means that you only need a job offer to be able to apply. Self-employment permits are valid for 10 years and will cost only $35,000. Whether you will be working on the island as a digital nomad, a small business entrepreneur or a skilled expat, it is always advised to consult an expert before applying for a visa.
Quality of life
According to My Life Elsewhere, an online quality-of-life comparison community, Mauritius has many elements working in its favour. Statistics might have changed during the lockdowns, but on average Mauritians are 61.8% less likely to be obese, 74.2% less likely to be unemployed and live 11.7 years longer.
It is a well-known fact that Mauritius is one of the safest African countries in which to live and travel. Local authorities pride themselves in maintaining this outstanding reputation, which contributes largely to the lifestyle. If statistics doesn’t do much for you, then some of the island activities should bear testimony to the expected quality of life. Horse riding, trail running, scuba diving, sailing, surfing, and loads more await the eager sports enthusiast.
Most residents speak French or a variant thereof. However, English is the primary business language on the island, which makes it inviting for South Africans and Europeans hoping to expand their business interests or for those looking for a new start.
If French is new to you, it might be a good idea to learn the basics of speaking the language. Not only will it open doors for you when dealing with locals, but it will also allow you to immerse yourself in the culture. Many South Africans choose to send their children to Mauritian public schools because that would introduce children to French as a second language.
Education and schooling
|Over the years Mauritius have become incredibly family focused and accommodating for immigrants. As a result, they have dedicated themselves towards an improved schooling infrastructure. Mauritius now boats a mix of both private and public schools, including a well-established network of international schools that have operated on the island for several decades.
Higher Education is accessible on the island, and while 70 to 80% of placements are reserved for locals, international students are offered space based on their academic achievement. Students who wish to attain their degrees or prepare for their careers, should consider the study visas on offer.
Finances and Taxes
Mauritius is a finance industry hub. With leading investment specialists and a reliable banking sector, you will find peace of mind in the soundness and stability of the Mauritian financial system. The country also offers various tax breaks and incentives such as a flat corporate and income tax rate of 15%; tax-free dividends; no capital gains tax; up to 100% foreign ownership; exemption from customs duty on equipment; free repatriation on profits, dividends, and capital and no minimum foreign capital requirements.
Mauritius offers irresistible investment opportunities to attract foreign investors, young families or retirees. Property acquisition provides an avenue to obtain a 20-year permanent residency permit with only a minimum property investment of $375 000, previously set at $500 000.
Whether you need to apply for a work permit, a study visa or an occupancy permit, it is always best to consult a professional immigration specialist to guide you through the challenges of emigrating to a new country.