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MAURITIUS

Climate in Mauritius

What type of climate does the area around Azuri have?

The local climate is tropical, modified by southeast trade winds; there is a warm, dry winter from May to November and a hot and humid summer from November to May.

In Mauritius, there are no extreme temperatures either summer or winter. In summer months, from November to April temperatures range from 23’C to 33’C, while winter, lasting from May to October, registers temperatures ranging between 17’C to 23’C Dry and wet seasons are not clearly defined although one can experience occasional cyclones during the wettest months from December to March. Annual rainfall ranges from 900 mm on the coast to 1,500 mm on the central plateau. Sea temperatures in the lagoon vary from 22’C to 27’C. The central plateau is much cooler than the surrounding coastal areas and can experience as much as double the rainfall. The prevailing trade winds keep the East side of the island cooler in the hot summer months.

Anti-cyclones affect the country during May to September. Cyclones affect the country during November – April but are fairly rare. Hollanda (1994) and Dina (2002) were the worst two last cyclones to have affected the island.

General working and trading hours

What are the general working and trading hours?

Banking hours
Monday to Thursday: 9.15 am - 3.15 pm
Friday: 9.15 am - 3.30 pm
Saturday: 9.15 am - 11.15 am.

Retailing Hours
Monday to Friday: 10.00 am – 7.00 pm
Saturday: 10.00 am – 7.00 pm
Sunday: 10.00 am - 1.00 pm.

Working Hours

Private Sector :
Monday to Friday: 8.30 am - 5.30 pm
Saturday: Off

Public Sector :
Monday to Friday: 9 am - 4 pm
Saturday: 9 am – noon

Basic facts on Mauritius

Some basic facts regarding Mauritius

Mauritius, a volcanic island of lagoons and palm-fringed beaches in the Indian Ocean, has a reputation for stability and racial harmony among its mixed population of Asians, Europeans and Africans.
It is situated in the South West Indian Ocean (20S/57.5E) approximately 2,000 kms from Durban, 1800 kms from Mombasa, 6,000 kms from Perth and 4700 kms from Bombay.

The island has maintained one of the developing world’s most successful democracies and has enjoyed years of constitutional order.

Area *Land: 1,850 sq km
*Water: 10 sq km
*Total: 1,860 sq km
*Coastline: 177 km
Population: 1.2 million (UN, 2005)
Capital: Port Louis
Major Religions: Hinduism, Christianity, Islam
Life expectancy: 69 years (men), 76 years (women) (UN)
Monetary unit: 1 Mauritian rupee=100 cents
International dialing code: +230
Time Zone: GMT/UTC + 3h
Voltage: 220 volts (European or UK plug)
Driving: On the left with priority to the right.

Major languages spoken in Mauritius

What are the major languages spoken in Mauritius?

The main languages spoken in Mauritius are English, French and Creole.

English is the official language of the country with the majority of official actions carried out in English. The most commonly spoken language however is French with the newspapers and television programmes usually in French. Creole is a minority language and is spoken in certain parts of the country only.

The country is composed of several ethnicities, including Asian, African, Chinese and French.

The first European explorers found no indigenous people living on the island.

Transportation in Mauritius

How available is Transportation?

Taxis are readily available and are relatively cheap to hire. Most hotels have dedicated taxi stands together with most shopping centers and major public buildings. Taxis are licensed to these specific taxi stands and as such can be relied upon to be available most of the day. Taxi’s can also be stopped in the street.

Holders of an international driving license can rent cars whilst on the island. Purchasing cars for long term residents is more expensive than in many countries due to the levying of a tax of between 45-100% of the factory price dependent on engine size. This tax is intended to reduce the total potential number of cars on what is a small island. Second hand car prices also appear high in comparison to other countries.

Petrol and diesel prices tend to be 40-50% cheaper than comparable prices in Europe.

Using the bus to go around the island is fun and cheap. There is an extensive network of buses to take you all over the island.

Scooters are available in many hotels and shops and they can be rented out.

Sporting activities around the island

What sporting activities are available?

Sports become an integral part of Mauritian lifestyle for many visitors. The availability of sports is very diverse with more pedestrian activities such as hiking, snorkeling or swimming to adventure sports including scuba diving, sport fishing, kayaking, kite surfing and mountain biking.

Mauritius has always been one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world where the island’s fabulous sporting opportunities complement its fascinating scenic beauty and myriad beach activities to make it an ideal lifestyle destination.

There are a wide variety of sports clubs on the island including protagonists of rugby, football, equestrian activities, running, golf and cycling.The availability of a diversity of water sports is one of the main attractions of the island. These include surfing, scuba diving, deep sea fishing, water-skiing, kayaking, catamaran sailing etc.
Trekking, mountain biking, horse riding and horse racing are some of the other adventure sports that are widely practiced in Mauritius.

Medical services

Are there readily available medical services?

Free public medical facilities are widely available at hospitals and regional health centres but expatriates and their families will generally opt for paying for private medical services in private clinics which maintain a very good standard. No matter where you are located you will find a good quality medical clinic close by.

Domestic help

How available are maids and domestic help?

Domestic help is widely available. Language might be a problem if you cannot speak French or Creole and it might take some time for you to find someone that suits your specific needs.

Discuss the job description of your employee in detail with him/her and make sure that both parties have a clear understanding of services that will be provided. Don’t assume, for example that cleaning the swimming pool is included in a work contract; discuss it clearly to avoid misunderstandings.

You are, by law, liable to pay the transport costs of your employee to and from their house either on a daily, weekly or monthly basis as discussed and agreed between you and your employee.

The Domestic Remuneration Act determines the basic wages for domestic employees.

Legally this is the minimum you must pay workers in your service. Salaries are low. As a general guideline speak to your fellow expatriates and find out what is the going rate in the area you are residing in – as an initial guide a maid for 3-4 hours a day for 5 days a week will cost around US$ 150 per month.

Poisonous animals and insects

Are there any poisonous animals or insects?

There are no poisonous reptiles or dangerous animals on the island. But nature being what it is, some small creatures can inflict painful stings. The local wasps have a particularly painful sting but this is as bad as it gets.

There are a few fish, namely sea urchins, stonefish and lionfish, which are poisonous and it is advisable to enquire of their existence before swimming. They tend to be located around rocky areas and avoid sandy beach areas.

Tap Water

Is it possible to drink the tap water?

Yes – the domestic water supply is of very high quality although water treatment systems and water cooler systems are readily available.

IRS SCHEME

What is an IRS?

What is an IRS scheme?

IRS is short for the Integrated Resort Scheme. Residences sold under the IRS regime must form part of an approved development of properties, built to international standards, with world-class amenities and facilities.

The acquisitions of a property for residential purposes by a foreigner under the IRS rules allows the purchaser, and his/her dependant family, to reside in Mauritius for as long as they retain ownership. The minimum selling price of a villa is set at USD 500,000by law.

Under the IRS regulations, a minimum of USD 500,000 investment is required for the acquisition of freehold
immovable property, inclusive of land. However the majority of the properties developed to date have been targeted
at a very high price level and as such the average price for an IRS property on the island is currently USD 1.6 million.

Any of the following will qualify to acquire property under the IRS regulations:

  • A non-citizen of Mauritius (including his or her spouse and dependants)
  • A citizen of Mauritius
  • A foreign company registered under the Companies Act of 2001

 

A person who intends to acquire immovable property under the Scheme for residency, and who is a non-citizen, must make an application for the status of resident (in accordance with the Immigration Regulations 1973) in respect of himself/herself and his/her spouse and dependants. When such an application is approved, a residency permit will be granted.

There are two straightforward applications that buyers will need to complete:
Authorisation to purchase (after signing the Reservation Agreement and depositing 5% which is held in escrow)

Residency and Occupation permit after signing the Deed of Sale and paying the taxation; levied at USD 70,000 or 5% of the purchase price – whichever is the higher.

What are the benefits of the IRS Scheme?

An IRS is a novel investment opportunity which allows foreigners to have ownership by allowing them to acquire luxury residences and apartments on land, in specific projects, approved by the Board of Investment (BOI). As well as the many benefits life in an IRS project can bring one unique attraction is that the purchasers gains Resident status in Mauritius.

The IRS provides for the development of luxury residential units of international standing as well as extensive and high-class leisure and recreational facilities.

  • Eligibility for purchase of residences:
  • Non-citizens of Mauritius;
  • Foreign companies under the Companies Act (of Mauritius) 2001;
  • Citizens of Mauritius;
  • Companies incorporated under the Companies Act 2001.
  • The amount of investment should not be less than USD 500,000.

 

A residence permit and work permit can now combined into a single permit, named the Occupational Permit

The application has to be submitted to the BOI (Board of Investment), who will assist a qualifying foreign investor to secure an occupation permit for himself and residence permits for his spouse and dependents.

The occupation permits for investors and professionals and residence permits for their dependents will be issued within three working days. Within one working day BOI will forward the applications to the immigration department, which will provide a document acknowledging the date and time of application. If after two working days the immigration department has not raised any objection the document will become automatically an occupation and residence permit valid for three years from the stamped date, in line with the silent agreement principle.

The spouse of a holder of an occupation permit can take up any job paying more than Rs 30,000 a month (approx USD 1,000), set up a business or work as a self-employed professional earning at least Rs 600,000 (approx USD 20,000) a year according to the same provisions as investors and skilled professionals.

After a minimum of three years of activity in Mauritius, consistent with the terms of entry, the foreign national and spouse and dependents can apply for permanent residence. The Permanent Residence

Permit will be valid for ten years and allow unrestricted work and residence as well as the purchase of any real estate in the country.

When will construction start?

When will construction start?

Construction is targeted to start in April 2012 dependent on initial sales targets meeting expectations.

Construction is due to complete 16 months later.

What is the process of buying a property in Mauritius?

What is the process of buying a property in Mauritius?

(This is covered more fully in the legal sections of the website)

Under the Non-Citizen Property Restriction Act, a non-citizen cannot hold, acquire or purchase property in Mauritius. However there are certain exceptions where foreigners are able to acquire Mauritian property. These are listed below:

  • The spouse has mauritian nationality.
  • Acquisition of property for business purposes
    (more information on the website www.investmauritius.com).
  • Acquisition of property under the Integrated Resort Scheme (IRS) as at Azuri.

Purchaser’s off plan will make staged payments in line with the Government implemented VEFA system. Once the project goes unconditional a “Deed of Sale” will be signed between the purchaser and the promoter.
Thereafter payments are staged through to the completion of construction.

Stage Total
First stage Initial Deposit 5% 5%
Second stage Deed of Sale / start of construction 20% 25%
Third stage: Completion of the foundations 10% 35%
Fourth stage: Start of the masonry work 15% 50%
Fifth stage: Completion of Roof 20% 70%
Sixth stage: Fitting and decoration (furniture) 25% 95%
Seventh stage Key handover 5% 100%

The promoter provides a Construction Completion Guarantee (GFA) to the purchaser’s mortgage bank to ensure that the project can be completed no matter what.

Do I need a Mauritian bank account?

Do purchasers need a Mauritian bank account?

This is not needed, but the non-Mauritian banks need contacts with a Mauritian bank. There are a number
of international banks located in Mauritius such as:

  • Barclays Bank
  • Standard Bank.
  • HSBC
  • Bank de Mascareignes
  • Investec
  • State Bank of India

How do I obtain a mortgage?

Is it possible to obtain a mortgage?

AZURI brings to you a dedicated independent consultant to find and negotiate the best terms and conditions to finance the purchase of your unit … and this service is brought to you FREE OF CHARGE.

The Service

  • Personalised service with tailor made mortgage plans in line with the buyer’s specific needs.
  • High level of competency and financial expertise to negotiate and secure the best mortgage and insurance cover on behalf of the buyer.

Buyers’ Benefits

  • One stop shop with several options to choose from.
  • Tailor-made offers from major financial institutions.
  • Time-saving.
  • Hassle free process.
  • Dedicated assistance to handle any complication and clear explanation from the consultant who has an in depth knowledge of the local mortgage process.
  • Follow up on the administrative procedures and coordination with all stakeholders (bank, notary, agent, and promoter) until disbursement of funds.

Financial Package negotiated for Azuri buyers*:

Rate of interest: As from 6.65%
Loan tenure: Up to 30 years, with no penalty on early repayment
Maximum loan amount: Up to 100%

Special loan scheme available for the initial 10% reservation deposit
*Terms and conditions apply

“When it comes to finance, it isn’t just about interest rate, it is also about the features, the benefits, the fees and the service delivery, so we look for the best home loan and insurance plans that suit the borrower’s requirements and we ensure an overall positive customer experience”- Emma Ah Nien, Mortgage & Insurance Consultant.

For more info or if you wish to submit an application to check your eligibility, please contact: [email protected]

Can the property be bought in a company name?

Can the property be bought in a company name?

The registered Purchaser can be a Local Company or a Foreign Company (not a Category 1 or Category 2 Global Business under the Financial Services Development Act (FSDA) 2001, nor a Qualified Trustee under the Trusts Acts 2001).

We have engaged with the Geneva Management Group in Mauritius (www.gmgtrust.com) to provide additional advice to purchasers who are interested in this route.

Will there be a hotel and who is the operator?

Will there be a hotel on the development and who is the operator?

The 5 star boutique hotel component will be branded as the “Centara Grand Azuri Resort and Spa” (details on Centara and the project are contained in other sections of the Azuri website).

Centara Resorts are an award winning international Hotel Chain with their roots in Thailand and over 7,000 hotel rooms internationally. The group’s portfolio covers locations as exotic as the Himalayas, the Maldives, the Philippines, Bali and now Mauritius.

Purchasers in Azuri, whether as second home owners or investors, will be able to take advantage of Centara’s expertise to secure a return on their own properties through the projects Rental Pool programme.

Will there be a warranty provided on the properties?

Will there be a warranty provided on the properties?

The team at Azuri will acquire a Decennial Insurance Policy for the IRS properties. This will provide 10 years of cover for the purchaser in respect to major defects occurring on the property.

Is there a service charge?

Is there a Service Charge?

Yes there will be a service charge. This will cover upkeep, cleaning and maintenance of all the public areas
and details are available on request.

TAX & RESIDENCY

What is the tax regime in Mauritius?

What is the Mauritian tax regime?

  • Registration, stamping and transcription duties of Rs 1,200 (approximately £18) are payable on signature of final contracts, with a further USD 70,000 currently payable on the completion of the IRS purchase and transfer of title.
  • USD 50,000 land transfer tax is payable on the re-sale of the IRS residence by the seller (the subsequent purchaser being required to pay USD 70,000).
  • Having paid the USD 50,000 land transfer tax outlined above, there is no withholding tax applied on the repatriation of funds to a seller outside of Mauritius.
  • No withholding tax is payable by a company registered in Mauritius holding global business license (GBC1 or GBC2) to non residents (provided non residents do not carry on business in Mauritius). Withholding taxes are payable however by mauritian domestic companies in certain specific instances.
  • Income tax is payable at the flat rate of 15%. No tax is payable on income received as dividends from companies resident in Mauritius.
  • Corporation tax is payable by all domestic companies at a rate of 15%.
  • VAT is payable at 15%.

Double tax treaties with Mauritius

Do any countries have taxation treaties with Mauritius?

The following countries are among those which have double-tax treaties with Mauritius (an * indicates that the treaty is awaiting ratification):

Bangladesh* Nigeria*
Barbados Oman
Belgium Pakistan
Botswana Qatar*
China Singapore
Croatia Romania
Cyprus Russia*
France Rwanda
Germany Senagal
Hungary Seychelles
India Singapore
Indonesia (suspended) South Africa
Italy Sri Lanka
Kuwait Swaziland
Lesotho Sweden
Libya Thailand
Luxembourg Tunisia*
Madagascar United Kingdom
Malawi* Vietnam*
Malaysia Zambia*
Mozambique Zimbabwe
Namibia
Nepal

* The rules governing the deduction of tax from outgoing payments of interest from Mauritius are complicated, depending on the type of interest, the type of company paying it, and the terms of the tax treaty in question; the rates given here are broadly correct, but individual treaties and circumstances need to be taken into account also

Other treaties are being negotiated with: Canada, Czech Republic, Egypt, Greece, Portugal and Republic of Iran, Burkina Faso, Algeria, Yemen, Ghana.

Tax rate on income derived from rental of property

What is the rate of tax on income derived from the rental of one’s property?

All rental income of nonresidents is taxed at a flat rate of 15%. Income-generating expenses are deductible when computing for the taxable income. By living in Mauritius, you have to pay income tax against worldwide income.

Annual property tax

Is there an annual property tax?

This tax is levied on residential properties in Mauritius. The current per annum rate of tax is based upon the total surface area for residential land, or the floor area for apartments.

Per square metre of surface area of land MUR 10 (circa USD 0.33/Euro 0.25 /GBP 0.21).

Per square metre of floor area of apartments MUR 30 (circa USD 1.00/Euro 0.75 /GBP 0.63).

What are the costs and processes of registration of title deeds to land with a government agency?

What are the costs and processes associated with registration of title deeds to land with a government agency?

Notary’s Fees 0.5% - 2% (+15% VAT)
2% on the first Rs 250,000 – subject to a minimum charge of Rs 1,000
11/2% on the next Rs 500,000
1% on the next Rs 1,000,000
1/2% on the remainder

Agency Fees Property agency fees at Azuri will be fully covered by the Promoters.

Registration Duty USD 70,000 fixed price or 5% dependent on which is the higher for IRS buyers.

Am I able to apply for residency in Mauritius?

Am I able to apply for residency in Mauritius?

The acquisition of a residence under the IRS tautomatically grants resident status to the investor, his/her spouse and dependents.

A residency permit granted under the IRS scheme shall remain valid until such time as the overseas buyer ceases to own a property in Mauritius. The residency permit does not allow citizenship and whilst it gives an owner the right to live in Mauritius whilst they own property within an approved IRS, it does not give the buyer the right to work in Mauritius, nor to own non-IRS property. An Occupation Permit gives a buyer the right to work in Mauritius.

How to relocate to Mauritius

Relocation to another country has never been easier. To live and work in Mauritius requires a work and residence permit, and there are currently three ways in which a person (and his/her dependants) can be granted a permit:

1 IRS (Integrated Resort Scheme) – these results in an immediate residence permit.
2 Occupational Permit (“OP” – which is valid for three years).
3 As a Retiree.

Three Year Permit Permanent – 10 years
Investor The proposed business activity should generate an annual turnover exceeding MUR 4 million An annual turnover for three consecutive years exceeding MUR 15 million.
Professional The basic monthly salary of a professional should exceed MUR 75,000 Not applicable.
Self Employed The annual income of the proposed business activity should exceed MUR600,000, with an initial investment of USD 35,000 An annual turnover of the business which exceeded MUR3 million for the first three years

What about tax residency in Mauritius?

What about tax residency in Mauritius?

This is only available for companies.

Mauritius GBC I Companies are resident in Mauritius and consequently subject to tax. However, they benefit from both tax credits and a longstop tax rate of 3%. Correctly structured and managed Mauritius GBC I companies may access Mauritius’ network of 28 tax treaties. Neither capital gains nor withholding taxes are levied. Consequently, Mauritius GBC I companies are used by tax practitioners and businesses to structure investments into Mauritius’ treaty partners, which include China, India, Luxembourg and Thailand.

Mauritius GBC I Companies are governed by The Companies Act, 2001 and regulated by the Mauritius Financial Services Commission.

They are subject to compliance and reporting regimes similar to those of Hong Kong or UK companies.

All companies seeking to benefit from this status are granted licenses on a case by case basis by the regulatory authorities in Mauritius. This procedure demands the submission of a detailed business plan and disclosure of beneficial ownership.

Normally it takes about three weeks to set up a Mauritius GBC I Company.