The Mauritian smile, lethal stuff !

Scrolling through my blog, I came across this piece, written in 2011. It still seems relevant !

It’s spontaneous, takes you by the soul and wraps your heart in the comfort of human kindness.  Makes you believe in humanity.  This is the legendary Mauritian smile; a trade mark of its own.  The Mauritian smile is so powerful that it has helped the tourism industry blossom, up to being the major pillar of the economy, and it keeps on selling paradise-island on the world market.  Of course, our beaches and natural beauty do play a role, a significant one – but we cannot deny the part played by the local smiles.  Beware! A powerful tool in bad hands can harm the world (hmm, feels like Donald Rumsfeld speaking!).  Tourists or businessmen, many a foreigner has seen himself trapped within the spell of a Mauritian smile.  Many lost their fortune and went back home in total disillusion, while others got married and then divorced… and are now paying alimony!  The smile…

Well, let’s first see why the common Mauritian is always smiling to foreigners.  That’s my observation and I’m not inviting any reader to adhere to the views expressed here. If you do, then it’s fantastic. Else, take it as another B-S blog.  To understand local population behaviour, we first need to note that Mauritian population is a mix of different cultures of the world: Indian labourers, African slaves, Chinese traders…etc.  Our ancestors were brought here by European navigators and explorers.  Respect (and fear) of the European race (no negative connotation here!) has, since then, prevailed.  I remember my grandfather (an untamed macho beast) who would always refer to his boss (a French sugar estate owner) as ‘Missié’ (translate ‘Sir’ in English) even in the absence of the latter.  My granddad treated his boss with incomparable respect and acknowledged the fact that without ‘Missié’ his family would maybe die of hunger.   Granddad had faith in ‘Missié’ and nothing could challenge his loyalty.

From there, came also the perception that people like ‘Missié’ are in fact superior.  You wouldn’t want to argue with my granddad on that one! Like any other descendants of Indian origin, he had a sacred faith in people within the same category as his boss.  This notion of superiority was transmitted to my dad… And then came the independence, and free education and emancipation.  So here you have an idea why foreigners were initially perceived as superior.  Believe me, this is not a racist comment, but an observation of the social reality of the country.

Even with education and emancipation, the Mauritian still, in his subconscious mind, has a complex of inferiority.  Tourism further sustained the perception.  When the tourism industry was officially launched, a sensible government campaign explained the importance of tourists.  The latter obviously got every attention possible.  We didn’t want to fail in our demonstration of respect and sense of hospitality.  Tourists brought additional social elements to enforce the feeling of foreigners’ superiority.  The first element is what I call the E.T effect.  Blame that on Mr Spielberg if you want, but I define it as follows:

‘If they travelled over to your world before you could even realize their existence,  then surely they are  of a superior class.’

The average Mauritian, during the 80s did not even have a motorcycle!  Now imagine him in front of people who have just landed from an airplane.  You got me?  Ok, ok, I’m coming to the lethal smile thing, I promise.

Yes, so the poor local guy makes himself visible and gentle, he smiles on every occasion. What else can he do? Once again, with the tourism (five-star hotels, luxury cars, beautifully clad people, etc) the superiority of foreigners is affirmed.  He smiles in the hope of getting under the wings of a superior race, he smiles to say that he’s ready to serve…and we all became known for our smile!  Frustration is lurking around…

We all know that in this material world, superiority is most commonly measured by the amount of money one has.  Who has more money?  Ok, we dig further : Euro1 = Rs40 and USD1= Rs30.  Got it? Read on.

Today the Mauritian is using his smile for a different objective. Not all of us, thank God! If you are from a different country, then you need to know that not every local smile is authentic.  Some of us have learned the tricks of the trade; we know that a tourist can be hypnotized and ordered to imitate a money tap (LO!).  By the time you’ve started to understand the fake smile, you’ve gone over your holiday budget. Tourists are short-term victims.  They leave the country with a sour after-taste, and that’s it.

The thing gets more serious when it comes to expatriates and foreign businessmen.  They are long term residents and have more at stake.  Their presence has created a new sort of back-stage profession in the country:  Professional swindlers, specialized in foreigners ripping-off.  The smile is the perfect accessory of the learned swindler.  Your wish is his command, well at first. He’s there to transform your wildest fantasies into reality.  You want to setup a business? He’s got the expertise, even if he’s only a taxi driver or a hairdresser.  He knows people, Ministers if not the Prime Minister himself! You want to try? Ask your taxi driver, his uncle should be a Minister.  If you’re lucky he will tell you that the Prime Minister was his classmate and best-friend.  How can you not believe him?  Are you insensible to that smile?  Once your soul is captured, you are aspired in a whirlpool.  With the same smile, your new brother will convince you that he is an expert in business and immigration, he’ll prove his business management skills to you and you won’t resist putting all your faith in him.  His wife will be the managing director of your company (He’s not interested in business and money, he’s just helping you out).

Consultants and accountant become mere money eaters and you’ll keep yourself away from professional advice. You’ll soon be having your Mauritian citizenship (remember the Prime Minister was a schoolmate!?)

Now, if mix that smile with the right dose of other tasty elements, you get something explosive.  An absolute banker!  That’s where the smile is the most effective and dangerous.  You will be invited for dinner at home, or at the nephew’s wedding ceremony.  You’ll be in a trance; you’re be part of the family… Life is beautiful, champagne is good!  Payback time is not far.

The Mauritian is not naive.  The biggest mistake foreigners make is taking the locals for granted.  You should never lower your guard and never hesitate to seek professional advice whenever there is legal or financial aspects involved.  We are not different human beings, and we did not fall in any ‘naive-rendering’ magic potion in our childhood.  Material gain, greed and easy money are the sons of a super power Devil and we all need to agree that the Devil also loves the sea and sun of paradise-island.

 

The Smile is one of the things that differentiate humans from wild animals, my dad once told me!

 

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The Mauritian experience, how not to fail it (Part 1 – The Road kills)

The magazines, YouTube videos and internet contents have seduced you. Mauritius is where you want to be. After all, how can we resist to such a place; it has got it all: climatic and political stability, stunning natural beauty, welcoming people… to list a few. Yet, some do fail their Mauritian experience and leave the country with a sour after-taste. There are certain things that are not told or exposed publicly, which means you only get a feel of them once you are hit.

I’ll try to give you some hints on what not to do on the island to ensure that you enjoy the paradise-like feeling. Expect a series of short articles following this one soon.

The road kills

Mauritius is known for its bad drivers. We have some nice roads, latest vehicles (all the top brands & models are here) but strangely things are not working that fine.

Reasons are many and here is not the appropriate platform for a debate. The Traffic offense signgovernment is trying to introduce policies to tackle this evil from its roots. True that they removed the penalty points system and this hasn’t helped a lot. If you’re driving a Porsche, then you can afford the fines (that has been the philosophy of careless drivers so far). A new set of rules and fine rates have just been introduced – deliberately high to really affect your pockets and your brains.

Beyond the civic instinct of observing law is the human instinct of preserving lives, yours and others. Mauritian roads have witnessed many human dramas, most of them unnecessary and silly. You don’t want to be part of this sad thing.

Bikes

accident clipart40.2% of road victims are bikers. There are many modified motorcycles and the licensing systems are very blurred, both for the bikes & bikers. To correct this, aspiring riders now face a tougher learning & licensing framework. In the past, you could ride any bike you wanted with a ‘Learner Permit’. It meant that a very few found it useful to pass and get a real permit. Many riders are circus stuntmen riding wild on open roads and many of them end up in nice coffins. Don’t be one of them.

You want to live in Mauritius, not die here.

To enjoy riding in Mauritius, putting your knee down from time to time, do it in groups (there are many of them I can introduce you to).

If the bike is your everyday transport, invest in appropriate gear. We have specialized shops now and they can provide you with the latest in terms of safety gear. Intra-town lanes are quite narrow, there’s still room for lane-splitting but many blind spots… and blind drivers – bear that in mind.

Speed limits

speed-cameras-mauritius16The maximum allowed on the island (on highways) are at 110KmH while you can enjoy 40 to 80 KmH in town. Most of the speed-prone areas are equipped with camera & radar systems. They are usually painted in yellow and quite visible, announced by sign boards.

 

Their effectiveness is another debate; the Mauritian driver fails to understand the concept of ‘speed zone’ – they slow down near the camera and accelerate abruptly after passing it. New devices, capable of measuring average speed over a zone, will be introduced soon to help educate those who still haven’t grasped the concept of speed limit.

Speed limits are not for birds. You have to respect them

Lane Discipline

Do not stay on the fast lane (right side of highway) if you think you’re not driving fast laneenough. There’s always a psycho-driver behind you, driving with a knife between his teeth. His car will shout at yours, flashing violently their lights or swearing at you through their honks. Keep to your left, except when overtaking. Do not respond to aggressive behavior. Keep calm… if you sense real danger, stop at the next police station. I’m not saying the country is dangerous but remember that psychos do not have any specific habitat, they can be found anywhere in any form.

Road rage exists in Mauritius, but you don’t want to learn it the hard way.

To cut it short, you might have a go at someone and win your battle of the moment, then after 2 days get yourself greeted at your own gate by a lorry packed with furious X-men. The island is small, you are traceable. Full stop.

Seat belt

Do not start your car if you do not have your seat belt on. I don’t think I need to say more on this subject. It is now common human knowledge that seat belts save lives. They can also save you from paying big fines. There’s a certain tolerance for passengers on the back-seat but by law they need to have their seat belts on.

Buckle-up ! Full-stop.

 

Drink driving

Drink & Drive is a definite No No. The alcohol limit has been reduced and literally you cannot have more than a glass of whisky if you are behind the wheels. Police squad (fully equipped) can surprise you anytime, anywhere. There is a strict policy on drunk driving – and there’s probably no escaping the wrath of authorities if you are on the bad side. Zero tolerance at this level and it is fully justified. For decades we thought we had responsible drinkers, but it doesn’t go along responsible driving.

 It is always good to have that one clean and sober friend with if you feel the night’s wilderness is irresistible.

Mobile phones

Park your car if you have an urgent call to make or attend to. I repeat, park your car. The roads are too small, and you cannot trust other road users. An abrupt change of lane or speed variation (often when using a communication device while driving) will most probably lead to your vehicle French-kissing another one. Using mobile phones is prohibited, whether you have hands-free system with your latest in-car Bluetooth technology.

No, mobile phones are simply not allowed while driving.

Renting a car

Many foreigners go for car rental for short, medium or long periods. You have to be very careful while dealing with this. There can be nice offers coming from non-registered individuals renting out cars. These vehicles do not have insurance cover for rental and in case of accident, you might be in trouble. In addition, there’s no guarantee on the safety of such vehicles – they may have been repaired after heavy damage, etc.

To be safe, use only registered car rental companies. Do not hesitate to ask for their documents. Check for the papers on the windscreen, look for the validity of insurance, fitness certificate (if applicable) and validity of road tax. Make sure your rental contract has all information required. Check the car thoroughly if you don’t want claims for damage you didn’t do.

Gibson & Hills

We have, for the past 2 decades (and more) been helping foreigners relocate to auritius. Part of our responsibilities is to ensure that the local culture is understood by those who have chosen the island as their new home. We feel it is our duty to give as much information as possible to non-Mauritians and help them get the best out of paradise-island.

Our team is availabe to answer any of your questions. Feel free to contact us.

FULL PACKAGE

http://www.gibsonandhills.com

 

 

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Business opportunities in #Mauritius

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Mauritius employment laws & regulations, the Remuneration Orders

The base law

HRM3Employment laws in Mauritius are defined as the Employments Rights Act. The Act lays the basics of employment laws of the country and covers, in a global fashion, the basic rights of the employee and the employer. The Law is quite elaborate and provides information on applicable rules, obligations and right of both parties: the employer and the employee.

There are other rules and regulations, compiled under Remuneration Orders, to further complement and enforce, with precision, certain additional conditions based on the industry / activity sector of the employer. For instance, a watchman’s conditions of work may not totally be contained under the Employments Rights Act, being a global set of base rules that govern employment conditions. A watchman will be required to work longer hours and generally has a different working environment compared to an office secretary.

Enter the Remuneration Orders

As in the example of a watchman the general employment laws cannot respond to the varied and specific nature of certain jobs. The Remuneration Orders take care of specific aspects of certain job in certain industries.

There are 30 Remuneration Orders covering areas which cannot be under general rules. These orders should be consulted and always complied with by the employer regardless of the disposition of the main law.

exclamIt is good to note also that employees earning more than Rs30,000 are not TOTALLY governed under the Employments Rights Act, their contract of employment is more of a contractual agreement between two parties. The contractual relational is based on the contract of employment and even if it departs from the main law, the contract has the upper hand – with the exceptions to certain section.

To consult any Remuneration Order, click on the link

Remuneration Orders of Mauritius, 2018

The main areas under Remuneration orders

As the name suggests, the Remuneration orders provide for minimum wage scales for specific employment positions. As employer, one has the obligation to check whether his activity falls into any of these orders and thereby to comply with its prescription. Going against the order is going against Law.

They are ‘Orders’ after all and even specify that

Any agreement by a worker to relinquish his right under these regulations shall be void.

The title of Remuneration Orders may sometimes not be fully evocative or exhaustive in itself. Care should be taken to consult the definitions as contained in the order. For instance the CATERING AND TOURISM INDUSTRIES REMUNERATION REGULATIONS 2014 defines activities falling under its Remuneration Order as follows:

  • a bar, café;
  • a fast food outlet, restaurant for consumption on, or on and off, the premises, (with variation on number of covers + or – 40 covers)
  • table d’hôte, (with variation on number of covers + or – 40 covers)
  • a boarding house;
  • a hotel (with variation on number of covers + or – 40 covers)
  • inland tourists’ attractions, including domaines and recreational or leisure parks, with restaurants (with variation on number of covers + or – 40 covers)

A carpenter, for example, working for any company classified under this Remuneration Order will have a different set of rights as compared to a similar worker in a different industry.

Usual subjects and conditions falling under these orders are:

  • Rate of pay and/or minimum salaryBenef
  • Gratuity
  • Normal working hours & breaks
  • Extra working hours & extra pay in connection
  • Transport benefits, allowances & facilities
  • Occupation health & safety (uniforms & protective equipment, for example)
  • Leaves

Mauritius has a well-developed legal framework and it always on the lookout to modern dynamics of employment. With the increasing influx of foreign labour (both at the skilled and non-skilled level), there are regular adjustments and fine-tuning. It can be quite a daunting exercise for an employer to stay updated on changes; more so when the communication of new orders or updates is not that effectively carried out by the authorities.

TL Logo PNG (For Survey)As a recruitment agency and specialist HR management services provider, our subsidiary company Talent Lab Ltd stands as your watchguard with regards to compliance with HR rules in Mauritius.

We provide our clients with updates on changes and help them stay 100% compliant at all levels. As your specialist partner in HRM we are able to provide a complete range of solutions with regards to talent acquisition and management.  Talent Lab is supported by other member companies of Gibson & Hills Group and therefore able to go the extra mile though extensive resources, which include:

  • Business setting-up
  • Fiscal and social registrations for employers & employees
  • Immigration procedures for expatriate workers
  • Call center support working beyond office hours
  • Digital solutions for recruitment & HR management

Talk to us for any aspect relating to your HRM or more !

(c) www.gibsonandhills.com

 

 

 

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Investment in a Tourist enterprise in Mauritius

cropped-mauritius-151.jpgWhat could be a better business than tourism in a world-class tourist destination? At first sight, investing in this sector is a banker choice. The rationale behind every country’s progress is the improvement in the lives of its population. Through this logic, a foreign investor has to understand that many of the tourism-based businesses are very selective when it comes to foreign participation. Some are completely inaccessible to non-Mauritians.

Some examples: in a tour operator business, foreign investment should be at least MUR 5 million and in the case of commercial exploitation of a boat, the price of the boat should be at least MUR 10 million.

The selective strategy seems to have worked fine ever since it was introduced. Unless the foreign investor meets a minimum investment criteria or abides to certain specific conditions, he will not be allows to open a tourism business in Mauritius. Conditions include innovation, technology, international brand name & franchise of repute, services / products on international demand and which are difficult to supply by Mauritians.

The underlying condition is to allow Mauritians the first rank in terms of opportunities whilst maintaining an open-door to non-Mauritians who can afford higher investments. Under this strategy locals are not overtaken in what may otherwise be an unfair competition against the power of foreign currencies.

Businesses which are classified as Tourism and which require a Tourism Enterprise License (TEL) are :

  • Restaurant with 40+ seating
  • Night Club
  • Private Club
  • Guest Houses
  • Pub
  • Tour operator
  • Travel agency
  • Sea-based entertainment (excursions, sight-seeings, dolphins watch, etc)
  • Nautical sports
  • Eco-tourism
  • Diving centre
  • Aquarium
  • Boat house
  • Golf course operation

The tourism industry is a sensible area and thus it falls within a highly regulated framework, from the application phase up to management and compliance. Application procedures require the intervention of various authorities; fire department, police, Ministry of Health and the Tourism Authority.

The applicant has to present the following documents in his application:

  • Duly filled in & signed application forms
  • Details on the exact location of activities (site plan, building permits, letter of authorization from owner in lieu of rental agreement, etc.)
  • Precise details on the proposed activity (foreigners have to submit a full business plan)
  • Identity documents of the company and its promoters
  • Application fees of Rs1000

On receipt of the full application, the Tourism Authority will activate its internal procedures and solicit the other concerned bodies in the process. On-site checks will be carried out by the Police, Fire Department and Ministry of Health. They will provide their reports through internal correspondence to the Tourism Authority, which will then issue a Letter of Intent. This document will list the conditions that the promoter has to abide to, and includes a go-ahead to proceed with all expenses and investments (bringing the space to norm, acquisition of assets, etc.). To note that the Tourism Authority recommends that no investment be carried out prior to issue of this Letter of Intent. This Letter is an agreement in principle to the project, based on certain specific conditions that the promoter must meet, for instance for every 8-meter square of dining space, a restaurant has to provide one parking space.

Setting up of Tourist Enterprise

Besides the conditions for a Tourism Licence, a foreigner should note that any intention to stay in Mauritius under a permit shall also meet the criteria of such permit. If the promoter wishes to obtain an Investor Occupation Permit, then he has to abide to a minimum investment of USD100,000 and present a business plan meeting the require minimums for annual turnover.

 

In any case, our team handles such assignments for years now. If you have any question or would like the assistance of an experience team, talk to us today.

www.gibsonandhills.com

 

 

 

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How to create a company in Mauritius

brunch (1)

Mauritius is a very business-oriented jurisdiction, and as such, it offers simplified and streamlined procedures for those who want to open and manage their businesses on the island.  Company formation is the first step in every business venture as the company is the legal existence of the business. This applies to any business and any entrepreneur, local or not.

A foreigner who wants to invest in Mauritius has to first proceed with the incorporation of a company, in the same spirit.

Through this article, we take you around the main features of a company and give a brief description of points to consider while registering your company. Mind you, this article is meant to be user friendly and not a highly sophisticated piece of scientific or technical research paper !

We are all in the festive mood… so let’s play it light and easy.

Setting-up Business

Types of companies

There are different types of companies, but we will focus on the most essential, common and simple one: Domestic Company. The other types (just for the sake of mentioning some) are Limited Life Companies, Global Business Companies, Companies Limited by Guarantee, etc. There’s no use complicating your life at this stage. Let’s rather focus on the type of company you would require to open a classic business whether you deal in products or services, import / export, retail / wholesale, etc. The Domestic company covers almost all areas of business.

Basic requirements at start

Companies are governed under the Companies Act 2001. All provisions of this Act have to be followed at all times.

Every Domestic company needs to have the following (as per the Companies Act 2001):

  • At least one director who is ordinarily resident in Mauritius
  • A registered office address on the island (not a PO Box)

A foreigner who wants to open a business in Mauritius needs to first go around incorporating (the technical word for registration) a domestic company. He can only apply for residency permit once the company is registered. Therefore at the time of registration, he needs to have an additional director to act as the resident. Once the foreigner receives his residency, he qualifies as ‘ordinarily resident’ and therefore can be the sole director.

There’s normally no restriction on shareholding except where the proposed business is under additional regulations (eg: Tourism Enterprise). This is a different story and not the subject of our present article.

 

Other requirements

Every company incorporated in Mauritius has the obligation to:

  • File its accounts / financial summary for every financial year
  • The first financial year can be a maximum of 18 months after date of incorporation
  • File its tax return, a maximum of 6 months after financial year
  • Hold an Annual meeting of shareholders to approve the accounts and file the Annual return accordingly

 

How to register your company in Mauritius

Now that you have understood the basic points above, let’s move towards the procedure to register your company. There are two ways to undertake this:

  • Call at the Registrar of Companies (Port Louis), fill in forms / request and come back to check the status & come back again if there are errors / mistakes, come back again to have the approval and pay fees… and come again to collect the certificates (sorry, I tried to be as simple and brief here, couldn’t do better)
  • Register yourself on the online system (Cbris) and proceed with online application / correction and payment. Then undertake one visit to collect your certificates
  • Contact a professional who is registered on the system. You don’t move at all… well, our clients do not.

The steps are as follows:

  • Apply for name check. Send a list of three names as suggestion. You might have several runs like this until you get a correct name.
  • Pay Rs100 to reserve the name for a period of 2 months. In meantime you can prepare your documents for the actual registration
  • Documents you should produce for incorporation
    1. Copies of passports for all foreign directors & shareholders
    2. Copies of ID for locals
    3. Proof of address of local directors
    4. Certificate of Reservation of name, see point (b) above
  • Fill in the required forms, have the signatures of all directors and shareholders on the respective forms (if doing online, you need to print, sign, scan and upload on the interface). Send to the Registrar of Companies. Make sure that you tick appropriate boxes to receive signed Certificate of Incorporation (this is now optional) & other documents. It is always good to have official paper documents for other procedures you might undertake (bank account opening, licenses, etc.)
  • You will be notified to pay if the processing is successful or called to modify / correct the documents where there are mistakes.
  • On final clearance, you will be called to pay incorporation fees. The next day you have your company incorporated and ready to kick-off your business.

I’ve tried to be as concise and precise as possible – not filling up your brains with complicated and jargon-type of information. If you require more information, do not hesitate to drop me a line. I’ll be more than happy (as usual) to answer you.

The way it seems, this is going to be our last article for 2017. I therefore wish all readers and visitors a Merry Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year 2018. May all your dreams come true !

(c) Gibson & Hills Group

http://www.gibsonandhills.com

 

 

Posted in Business, Business Facilitation Act, Investment, Mauritius, Residence Permit, Residency, Uncategorized | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Acquisition of business in Mauritius – how to avoid the traps.

I believe it is crucial to understand the ins and outs while thinking of taking over a business in a foreign land. Here’s a reblog of the original post for those who missed it.

Invest & relocate to Mauritius. All you need to know, from the experts

Business scamWhile reading the news or browsing through online forums and other social media, one often comes across sad stories of foreigners getting trapped after buying what promised to be a lucrative business venture.  Victims are often investors who want to invest and settle down in Mauritius.  And often they end up with little choice than to pack up and return to their home country empty-handed.  Once home they start from scratch all over again as all funds and assets have been spent up while pursuing their Mauritian dream.

For such people Mauritius then, with reason in some cases, becomes a land full of evil-minded businessmen.  It is of course unfair to generalize and categorize Mauritius as crook-island, but the blow can be so hard at times that such negativity can be understood.

Let me reassure you that Mauritius is far from being as bad.  Our island is not full of…

View original post 1,506 more words

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Invest in Mauritius, there’s lots more than real-estate.

While researching the keywords ‘invest in Mauritius’, one is flooded with real estate offers so much that it misleads people to understand that this is the only option for investment on the island. Investing in real estate is one thing but investment in general is another. Mauritius offers a much wider choice of investment opportunities for those who want to fructify their funds. The strategy to attract foreign capital and expertise revolves around quite a complete framework which includes active investment (business creation) and passive investment (real-estate, retired permit schemes). The global objective is to transform the island into a dynamic and performing economy. It’s quite painful to see real-estate being promoted under the word ‘invest’ – which clearly is not, I’ll explain my perspective below.

The aggressive use of the term investment in Mauritian real-estate context is quite misleading, more so when it is targeted towards foreign capital. The real-estate sector of Mauritius is accessible to foreigners under certain conditions and schemes as regulated under the Non-Citizens (Property Restrictions) Act. By extension, the market and the opportunities for ‘business’ are therefore limited. It is quite obvious that the natural beauty of the island (mixed with the general socio-political & climatic stability) adds to the appeal. Still these features do not justify the high priced properties available under the schemes designed for foreign acquisition. We are not to the level of major cities where life is complemented with high-level facilities (casino, night-life, road infrastructure, exclusive brands, etc.). So now, betting on the beauty of our beaches, for instance, to level real-estate prices to Paris or Malibu, does not make sense. Not at all ! Given the price, I wouldn’t even consider this as an investment. It’s annoying, passive and excessive commercial stunt.

There seem to be a global acceptance among real-estate professionals to bet on the word ‘investment’ – and this, in my humble opinion, is wrong and misleading. Buying a villa in the foreigners’ schemes cannot be an investment in the real sense of the word. First, cashing out is a very unlikely event. What is the real purpose of holding an ‘investment’ which cannot be converted into liquid asset at a profit? It is indeed quite difficult to sell at a profit seen the number of ‘new’ projects on the market. A second hand property won’t be sold at the same price as a new (if you want to add a profit on your villa for sale, it comes close to the price of a new one). Cast a look around, it seems that every single village on the island has a luxury villa site. The supply far exceeds the demand.

Add to the above, a restrictive market. The prices of these villas are not accessible to Mauritians. So if you are holding a property in those schemes; first you cannot literally sell with a profit and second, you need to mostly target a non-Mauritian. There are so many villa owners in quite a desperate situation, trying to cashout on their ‘investment’, in vain.

In these circumstances, where is the concept of ‘investment’ ? Holiday rentals of the property will never be able to match the services of our highly performing hotel industry, with all its resources. Some promoters have been promoting short-stay rentals as a major profitability argument, and clearly it is not.

In terms of profitability and dynamism, there are many other more ‘interesting’ options. Mauritius is above all a business friendly country; the overall legal and fiscal frameworks have been designed to promote entrepreneurship initiatives. Company formation is completed within 5 working days. Business incentives are numerous: 15% tax on profits (not on income), social charges are kept to a reasonable low (10% approximately of basic salary, topped at Rs16,655 max salary), training costs refunded by the government, no capital gains tax and tax-free dividends. The list can be extended where proposed business falls within the ‘encouraged’ industry sectors. The Freeport sector, for instance, allows for 0% tax, important duty-free concessions and cutting-edge logistic support, all in one of the best and safest ports in the region. Besides business incentives, the island in itself offers major advantages to those who want to invest and/or set-up their business. Stability (political, social and climatic), absence of exchange control, IT infrastructure and connectivity, air and marine access, presence of international financial institutions or the multilateral preference trade zone agreements – these are some of the reasons why Mauritius is an ideal business destination.

Now, simply ignoring these to ‘hold your cash’ in selective property with a restrictive market does simply not make sense to the intelligent and avid investor. Of course, risk is proportional to reward and no one can deny the risk involved in a business venture. That having said, who can guarantee a profitable transaction on the sale of a villa years after, in a restrictive market and in the presence of overflowing offers. All these leads me to believe that ‘investment’ is not the appropriate word in the present circumstances. You are simply ‘buying’ a villa and surely not ‘investing’.

 

We recommend high caution when considering the purchase of a luxury villa for the purpose of investment.

If you are looking for a return on investment, talk to a financial consultant, not a real-estate agent !

(c) http://www.gibsonandhills.com

 

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Living in Mauritius, changes to residency permit schemes

In its quest of making Mauritius a destination of excellence, the government has brought changes to its already attractive residency permit schemes. The strategy of opening the doors of the island, in a selective way, has proven to be effective in bringing foreign direct investment and expertise to the country.  We all know that the country is constantly moving forward, always on the lookout to improve and plans to be a high-income earning nation in the future. Attracting foreign capital and expertise is part and parcel of an overall strategy to boost the island’s economy and uplift quality of life of its citizens.

The Board of Investment operates different categories under the Occupation Permit scheme; Investor, Self-Employed and Professional. There’s also a Residency Permit scheme for Retired Non-Citizens (aged 50 or more) who want to live peacefully under the sun. At first glance, the conditions leading to these permits, and their renewals, have been further relaxed – and therefore we expect to attract even more foreigners on the island.

What are the changes?

We provide you, in a concise format, the changes that have been brought to the existing residency schemes.

The Occupation Permit/ Residence Permit is granted for a maximum period of three years, renewable thereafter subject to established criteria.

A non-citizen can apply for an OP/RP under any of the following 4 categories:

Investor:

  1. Initial transfer of USD 100,000 and the business activity should generate an annual turnover of at least MUR 2 million for the first year and cumulative turnover of at least MUR 10 million for the subsequent two years.
  2. Existing investor with a net asset value of at least USD 100,000 and a cumulative turnover of MUR 12 million during the preceding 3 years with a turnover of at least MUR 2 million in any one year.
  3. Individual who has inherited a business in case of death or incapacity of the previous investor provided that the net asset value of the business is at least USD 100,000 and a cumulative turnover of MUR 12 million with a turnover of at least MUR 2 million in any one year.
  4. An Investor wishing to bring in high-tech machinery and equipment as part of the investment of USD 100,000, must transfer a minimum of USD 25,000 and the remaining balance in terms of high-tech machinery and equipment.
  5. Investors conducting Research and Development (R&D) in highly innovative sectors can apply for an Innovator Occupation Permit. The R&D expense component should constitute of at least 20% of total operational expenditure during the research phase.  Applicants eligible to apply under this scheme will be required to make an initial investment of USD 40,000.

Professional: Basic salary should exceed MUR 60,000 monthly. However, the basic salary for professionals in the ICT Sector should exceed MUR 30, 000 monthly.

Self-Employed: Income from the business activity should exceed MUR 600,000 annually for the first two years of activity with an initial investment of USD 35,000.

The annual income has been increased from MUR 600,000 to MUR 1,200,000 as from the third year of activity.

Retired Non-Citizen: The Retired Non-Citizen must undertake to transfer to his/her local bank account in Mauritius an initial transfer of at least USD 2,500. Thereafter, the Retired Non-Citizen should transfer at least USD 2,500 monthly or a sum by instalments amounting to at least USD 30,000 annually.

Dependents of Occupation/ Residence Permit holders, namely spouse, children up to the age of 24 and common-law partner, are also eligible to apply for a residence permit in Mauritius.

How can we help?

We have been providing business creation, management and immigration services to hundreds of people and businesses over the years. Immigration is a core service that is based on one philosophy: ensure the best physical, legal and moral disposition during a relocation project.

At the heart of our concern is the peace of mind of our client and his family.

Our services are not limited to paperwork. Find out more, contact us !

Posted in Business, Business Facilitation Act, Immigration, Investment, Mauritius, Occupation Permit, Residence Permit, Residency, Retired Permit, Uncategorized | Leave a comment