Mauritius launches new visa that will allow South Africans to live and work there long-term

In a country that boasts favourable personal tax rates and relaxed emigration requirements, the Mauritian government has announced a new ‘Premium Long-Stay Visa’ programme.

Zainab Bouzaine, an immigration specialist at XpatWeb, said the new visa programme will likely appeal to South Africans who want to work remotely on the tropical island.

It also offers an escape from rising Covid-19 numbers locally or those who want to get a feel for the tropical island to determine whether they would like to retire there eventually, Bouzaine said.

“The Mauritian government isn’t charging for this visa, and there aren’t any commitment fees associated with it.

“South Africans may enter Mauritius on a tourist visa and apply for the Premium Long-Stay Visa once they are there, or you can apply through the economic development board before departure. If you are eligible, can apply for the visa from 16 November 2020,” said Bouzaine.

Some of the requirements for this long-stay visa include not being able to enter the Mauritian labour market, and applicants will need to prove that they have enough income from a source outside of Mauritius to remain there.

Apart from the standard emigration requirements, additional documentation needed includes health insurance and proof of accommodation for the duration of your stay.

Long-stay visa holders will be able to stay in Mauritius for 180 days. It is also important to note that after 183 days, visa holders will become a tax resident of Mauritius, said Bouzaine.

Mauritius and Covid-19

At the beginning of the pandemic, the World Health Organisation identified Mauritius among 13 African countries as being at high risk due to the high volume of international travel, high population density, and long life expectancy (due to the elderly being at greater risk),.

In as little as five weeks, Mauritius brought down its Covid-19 inflection cases from a cluster of local cases to zero cases, becoming the first in Africa to contain the virus’s spread having reporting its first case in March.

The country’s well-developed healthcare system, combined with a timely and decisive national response and strict measures to detect and stem the virus’s spread, has led to the country becoming an African Covid-19 success story.

“The Premium Long-Stay Visa is ideal for retirees who want to get distance from the pandemic, as well as people who do business remotely and have kids that can study remotely.

“We also foresee that people who aren’t quite ready to commit to moving to Mauritius will make use of this extended stay Visa to get a better feel of what life on the island could be like,” said Bouzaine.