The Cabinet of the government of Mauritius approved, on 25 February, measures to further streamline the procedures regarding applications made for Occupation Permits (OPs) and Young Professional Occupation Permits (YPOPs) in line with the business facilitation strategy.
OPs, which were previously only granted to applicants arriving in Mauritius on a Business Visa, are now to be extended to foreigners on a Tourist Visa. Prior to this decision, OP applicants were required to complete all applications online and then, upon receipt of an approval in principle, travel to Mauritius on a Business Visa to complete the formalities.
Under the new procedures, YPOPs holders will be allowed to switch to the OP category within the same company during the validity of his contract of employment. They will also be allowed to switch to the OP category with another company, but only after the termination of their current contract of employment. Applications for OPs by students will be considered after completion of their studies, provided that the employment is related to their field of studies.
Foreign nationals wishing to apply for an OP to work and reside in Mauritius can do so under three categories – Investor, Professional and Self-Employed. Investor and Self-Employed OPs are issued for a maximum period of ten years. A Professional OP is issued for a maximum period of three years depending on the duration of the contract of employment.
An Investor is required to be a shareholder and director in a company incorporated in Mauritius under the Companies Act 2001 and is eligible to apply for an OP via the following options:
- Standard – An initial transfer of USD50,000 (or its equivalent in freely convertible currency) in the bank account of the company making the application.
- Net Asset Value – NAV of at least USD50,000 for existing (or inherited) businesses and a cumulative turnover of at least MUR12 million (USD300,000) during the three years preceding the application.
- High Technology Machines and Equipment – Initial investment of USD50,000 of which:
- A minimum transfer of at least USD25,000 to the bank account of the company under which the application will be made; and
- The balance to be invested in high technology machines and equipment in a qualifying activity that includes, but is not limited to, agro-industry, aquaculture, healthcare, information and communications technology (ICT), business process outsourcing (BPO), fintech, life sciences, biotechnology, manufacturing, ocean economy and renewable energy.
- Innovative Start-Ups – Applies to companies conducting R&D in a qualifying sector that includes, but is not limited to, life and health sciences, technology, ICT, fintech, biotech, nanotech, light manufacturing, pharmaceuticals and design. No minimum investment is required but an investor is required either to:
- Submit an innovative project to the Economic Development Board for approval; or
- Register with an incubator that is accredited with the Mauritius Research & Innovation Council.
The business plan should depict all expenditures related to R&D activities and the R&D expense component should constitute at least 20% of total operational expenditure during the research phase.
For renewal of an Occupation Permit in the Investor category, the company should generate a minimum gross income of MUR4 million per year from the third year of registration.
For an Investor to convert their OP into a Permanent Residence Permit, they are required to have held their OP for at least three years and the company in which they invested is required to generate a turnover exceeding MUR15 million per year or the aggregate turnover must exceed MUR45 million during this period before applying in respect of each shareholder of the company.
A Professional is an expatriate employed in Mauritius under a contract of employment earning a basic monthly salary of at least MUR60,000. For Professionals in the ICT, BPO, pharmaceutical manufacturing and food processing sectors, the basic monthly salary must be at least MUR30,000. Professionals may also apply for a short-term OP for a period not exceeding nine months, which can be extended once for a period not exceeding three months.
For a Professional to convert an OP into a Permanent Residence Permit, they must have held their OP for at least three years and must draw a basic monthly salary of at least MUR150,000 over the three-year period before application.
A Self-Employed Person is a foreign national engaged in a professional activity in the services sector who operates a single-person business activity and is registered with the Registrar of Businesses under the Business Registration Act.
A Self-Employed person should make an initial transfer of USD35,000 (or its equivalent in freely convertible foreign currency) to his / her local bank account in Mauritius. For renewal, the business activity should generate a business income of MUR800,000 per year as from the third year of registration.
For a Self-Employed person to convert their OP into a Permanent Residence Permit, they must hold their Occupation Permit for at least three years and have income exceeding MUR3 million every year during each of the three years before application.
Spouses, common law partners of the opposite sex and children under 24 years – including stepchildren or lawfully adopted children – of OP holders may also apply for residence permits for a duration not exceeding that of the OP holder. If dependents wish to work in Mauritius, they are required to apply either for an OP or a Residency Permit, as the case may be.