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All you need to know on how a foreigner can buy property in Mauritius

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The Government of Mauritius has proposed various schemes in which foreigners can choose to invest in real estate in Mauritius. Since the island has many business and tax incentives, foreigners are motivated to move to Mauritius for business and relocation purposes.

Buying a property, as an investment or for a family or secondary home, is easily available and highly sought after. The different schemes / programmes have been designed to facilitate the acquisition of residential and commercial properties by non-citizens or companies in Mauritius.

Integrated Resort Scheme (IRS)

In 2002, The Government of Mauritius created a legal framework for developers in order to offer luxury properties to non-citizens, namely the Integrated Resort Scheme (IRS). Integrated Resort Scheme (IRS) properties can be found within large resorts (golf estate, marina…) mostly on coastal regions (North, West, South and East) and offer a variety of luxury and high-end freehold property types: -
• apartments, duplexes or individual villas, sold at not less than US$ 500,000 by law.
• They offer luxury facilities to the residents.
• These may include a golf course, a marina, nautical and other sport facilities, shops, restaurants, wellness centres and other “à la carte” services.
• As the owner of an IRS, you will receive residence permit for as long as you remain owner of the property, as well as your spouse and your dependants (up to the age of 24 years old).
• The residence permits once obtained does not give the right to then buy a property in Mauritius, but you do have the right to buy other properties under the IRS, RES, Smart City, Ground + 2 apartments or Senior Residences.
• You may rent out your property once acquired.

Real Estate Scheme (RES)

In 2006, the Real Estate Scheme (RES) was introduced and would allow developers to develop smaller resorts, accessible to non-citizens.
Real Estate Scheme (RES) properties are usually smaller residential developments (they can only be built on land areas ranging between 4,220 and 100,000 m2), which can be sold at no minimum price: -
• The acquisition of a RES property will not entitle you to a residence permit, unless you purchase a RES property worth at least US$ 500,000.
• You will find a variety of property types within this scheme (individual villas, duplexes, apartments…) in various regions (coastal regions and inland).
RES properties are mainly targeted at investors, professionals or retirees who have chosen Mauritius to live, work, invest or enjoy as a holiday retreat.

PDS (Property Development Scheme)

In 2015, the IRS and RES legislations were reviewed under the new PDS legislation.
The PDS has been designed by the authorities to facilitate the acquisition of property by a foreigner in Mauritius in an integrated real estate project, with a social dimension imposed on every developer for the benefit of the neighbouring community. The PDS regulates the development and sale of high standing residential units, mainly to foreigners.

The Property Development Scheme provides for the following:
• Development of a minimum of 6 luxurious residential units on freehold land of an extent of at least 0.4220 hectare (1 arpent) but not exceeding 21.105 hectares (50 arpents).
• High quality public spaces that helps promote social interaction and a sense of community.
• High-class leisure, commercial amenities and facilities intended to enhance the residential units.
• Day-to-day management services to residents including security, maintenance, gardening, solid waste disposal and household services.

The residential properties may be a mix of:
• Luxury villas with attending services and amenities
• Luxury apartments with attending services and amenities
• Penthouses with attending services and amenities
• Other similar properties used, or available for use, as residences with attending services or amenities
• In case of villas, the extent of each plot of land attributed to each unit may not exceed 2,100 square meters, excluding common areas.

The Smart City Scheme

The Smart City Scheme is an ambitious economic development programme aimed at consolidating the Mauritian international business and financial hub by creating ideal conditions for working, living and spurring investment through the development of smart cities across the island. The development of smart cities in Mauritius is opening a plethora of investment opportunities. The smart city project is an initiative to stimulate innovative scientific and technological activities, provide technology-driven facilities to the business community and create a vibrant city lifestyle.

The Government of Mauritius has set up the Smart City Scheme to provide an enabling framework and a package of attractive fiscal and non-fiscal incentives to investors for the development of smart cities across the island. The smart-city concept is about providing investors, nationals and foreigners, with options for living in sustainable, convenient and enjoyable urban surroundings. These new cities will be built around the work-live-play lifestyle in a vibrant environment with technology and innovation at their core.

The concept paves the way for investors to develop and invest in:
• a mix of commercial, leisure and residential uses that, as a whole, achieves physical and functional integration and creates a pedestrian-oriented urban environment
• a combination of office, light industrial, education, medical and tourism clusters
• high technology and innovation cluster
• infrastructure to service green-field sites with roads and inspiring landscaping
• clean technology aimed at carbon and waste reduction, efficient transport, low-energy-consumption buildings
• digital solutions, urban sensing technologies and big data analytics
• energy production and water management and utilities
• high-end residential estate
• real estate investment management

The Smart City Scheme provides an enabling framework and a package of attractive fiscal and non-fiscal incentives to investors for the development of smart cities across the island.

Incentives for developing and investing in a project under the Smart City Scheme include:
For a company investing in the development of a smart city and/or its components is exempted from payment of:
• Income Tax for a period of 8 years from the issue of the SCS Certificate provided that the income is derived from an activity pertaining to the development and sale, rental or management of immovable property other than an activity in respect of the supply of goods and services.
• Value Added Tax paid on capital goods (building, structure, plant, machinery or equipment).
• Customs duty on import or purchase of any dutiable goods, other than furniture, to be used in infrastructure works and construction of building within the Scheme
• Land Transfer Tax and Registration Duty on transfer of land to a SPV provided that the transferor holds shares in the SPV equivalent to at least the value of the land transferred
• Land Conversion Tax in respect of the land area earmarked for the development of non-residential components (office and business parks, ICT and innovation clusters, touristic, leisure and entertainment facilities including hotels and golf courses, renewable energy and green initiatives)
• Morcellement Tax for the subdivision of land.
Other tax incentives for the buyers
• First-time Mauritian buyers and buyers under the Mauritian Diaspora Scheme acquiring a residential unit will be exempted from registration duty
• Full recovery of VAT in terms of input tax allowable in terms of capital goods (building structure), plant, machinery and equipment
• Accelerated annual allowance granted at a rate of 50% of the costs in respect of capital expenditure incurred by any company operating within the Smart City Scheme on energy-efficient equipment and green technology.

Land purchase
• A smart city will be developed over an area exceeding 21.105 hectares (50 arpents).
• Foreign companies can acquire land under the Smart City Scheme to develop projects and their key components.

Residency
• Any person / any entity including foreign companies and trusts can acquire residential units in a smart city
• Any non-citizen acquiring a residential unit above USD 500,000 under the scheme is eligible to a residence permit for himself and his family
• No restriction on rental or resale of residential units
• Possibility for a retired person to acquire life rights under the Smart City Scheme.

Mauritian Citizenship
• A non-citizen having held a residence permit for a minimum period of 2 years and having made an investment over USD 5 million in Mauritius may apply for Mauritian citizenship.

Apartments (in a Ground + 2 complex)

The Non-Citizens (Property Restriction) Act has been amended on 20 December 2016 to allow foreigners to:
• purchase apartments in condominium developments of at least two levels above ground (G+2) with the prior approval of the Economic Development Board (EDB).
• The amount payable for the acquisition of an apartment must not be less than MUR 6 million or its equivalent in any other freely convertible foreign currency.
• Any non-citizen, with or without an occupation permit, residence permit, permanent residence permit, may acquire apartments or penthouses in a Ground + 2 residence anywhere in the building.
• The previous legislation for the acquisition of apartments outside of the IRS, RES and PDS schemes only allowed non-citizens holders of an occupational permit to buy ONE apartment, in a Ground + 2 building, and for his own use, not for rental.
The new amendment allows non-citizens with or without an Occupational Permit in hand to acquire more than one unit and allows for the renting out of the apartments for rental return.
• In October 2019, a new amendment has been announced granting a 10 year Long Stay Visa to any buyer purchasing an apartment in a qualifying Ground + 2 apartment residence above USD 500,000.

Invest Hotel Scheme (IHS)

The Invest-Hotel Scheme (IHS) allows: -
• hotel developers to finance the development of a hotel project by allowing them to sell villas, suites, rooms or other components that form part of the hotel to individual buyers including non-citizens.
• The unit is to be leased back to the seller and may be used and occupied by the unit owner or any person on his behalf for a total of not more than 45 days in any period of 12 months.
• The amount of investment in the acquisition of a stand-alone villa should not to be less than US$500,000 (excluding taxes) or its equivalent in any freely convertible currency.
• For units other than stand alone villa, no minimum investment is required to acquire such units.

Guesthouse

The EDB (Economic Development Board) will be the 1st point of contact for investors regarding the acquisition of an existing or new guesthouse or tourist residence, as well as the lease of such properties and the acquisition of shares in a company that holds such an immovable property.

For investors wishing to acquire shares within a company that does not hold any immovable property, the minimum investment shall be at least Rs 10m.

The ELIGIBILITY CRITERIA are as follows :

A non-citizen cannot submit an application to acquire or lease a guesthouse or tourist residence unless:
a. the non-citizen is a company incorporated under the Companies Act 2001
b. the non-citizen holds a letter of no objection in respect of the project proposal from the Ministry of Tourism
c. the minimum investment, excluding land cost, in the acquisition or lease of an existing guesthouse or tourist residence, shall be at least Rs 10 million
d. the minimum investment, excluding land cost, of developing a new guesthouse or tourist residence shall be at least Rs 30 million.

Regarding the concept and the design of the guesthouse or tourist residence, the Ministry further adds:

Amenities and facilities of the guesthouse/tourist residence must be in compliance with the guidelines of the Tourism Authority for Guesthouse and Tourist Residence and target the high-end market segment.

The guesthouse/tourist residence shall boast a unique and exquisite charm, comfort and atmosphere. The project proposal must be of a high architectural design depicting the local tropical cachet. Artistic impressions or 3-D sketches describing the design character of the proposed development must be approved by the Ministry of Tourism.

Regarding the Management, it must be tied up with the investment. However, in case the investor has no managerial expertise, a local Manager shall be appointed and in case the investor will also act as the manager, he must show a track record in management and show evidence of previous managerial positions held in similar establishments abroad for at least 5 years.

All employees, except for the owner/Manager, should be locals.

The guesthouse/tourist residence must comply with the Safety and Security measures as provided for by the Tourism Authority and be equipped with safety and security devices installed by an approved security company.

Applications, guidelines and Conditions can be seen on the EDB page.

Commercial or Business Developments

Information about investment in business or business development in Mauritius for foreigners: -
• A non-citizen investor must apply for the acquisition of immovable property or part of a building for business purposes, or for the lease of immovable property or part of a building for a period exceeding 20 years for business purposes.

Business purpose means the acquisition or holding of property by non-citizens for: -
• the development of high activity commercial use building including, but not limited to, shopping mall, office building or warehouse, for own use, sale, rental or lease.

Please visit our projects open to foreign acquisition to discover what is available at: -
http://www.parklane.mu/en/projects/foreigners.html