Is a New Wave of SA Expats on their way?

Our sister site, Dodo Relocations, just told me that SA removals companies are experiencing a sharp increase in the number of enquiries about moving to Mauritius.  They say that this is a reliable predictor for an actual increase in business.  Coupled to that, we have a new Minister of Finance. The head of the Board of Investment, Prakesh Maunthrooa has also left.  The Board of Investment falls under the Ministry of Finance, and is responsible for the coordination of all applications for residence / work permits, as well as requests to purchase property.   So there are lots of new people doing things that directly affect people wishing to move to Mauritius.

What does this mean to those South Africans thinking of relocating?  I can’t say for certain.  But I am fairly sure relocation will not be as easy as it was in the past.  Before these personnel changes, a number of adjustments were made to the criteria for acceptance of expat applications.  I wait with baited breath to see what changes, if any, will come under the new regime.

Four years ago, Mauritius opened its doors to foreigners.  A flood of expatriates hit our precious shores.  We had a bit of a shock to the system as the expats in general but the South Africans in particular, brought their brand with them.  By brand, I mean their culture, tastes, values, communication style, languages, flags etc. A number of Mauritians felt threatened by these different brands.

But this is what South Africans are about.  It is a bit silly to expect them to immediately morph into a Mauritian.  And look at Mauritians:  They enjoy pieces of their their French, Indian, African or Chinese heritages without being un-Mauritian.

There are a whole lot of earlier posts and comments on this subject elsewhere in this blog.

As a result of these negative experiences the admission criteria have been tightened.  The $1000 per month salary minimum has been increased to $1500.  By the way, Singapore has just increased theirs to $3000.  Retirees now have to be at least 50 years old, and have to bring a Morality Certificate with them.  Professionals now have to validate their expertise with documentary proof, rather than just a CV.

Get the latest criteria for admission to Mauritius here.  This document only covers Occupation Permits (work combined with residence), it does not cover Retirees (residence only).

I am sure these criteria will change as the days pass, and the officials get replaced.   Future expats should prepare for high levels of frustration.  It is a testing experience for anyone to tangle with our officials.  This is the nature of Mauritian bureaucracy.  The more things change, the more they stay the same.  Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose.

But once you have made it through the barriers, you will find yourself in a warm, welcoming country, filled with people who have only help in their hearts.  Embrace us and we will return the favour many times over.  We may do things differently, but this does not mean we do them any worse.

On our side, I am happy to hear that interest in Mauritius has been rekindled.  Perhaps our flagging Foreign Direct Investment will pick up.  Expats bring a new energy to a stagnating economy.  Ideas and capital coupled with the ability to learn quickly and work hard can only mean good things are on their way for all of us.

Finally, I have a message to those few but vocal Mauritians who don’t like South Africans in our country.  You should learn a bit from how Mauritian expats act and are treated in other countries.  It boils down to the same old thing:

Treat others and you would have them treat you.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s