There is a huge amount of confusion about what form of residence you can get. I will try to clarify this as best I can.
For those in a hurry, here is the short summary:
- Residence Permit – You can live but not work in Mauritius
- Occupation Permit – You can live and work in Mauritius but your spouse gets a Residence Permit.
- Permanent Residence Permit – You and your spouse may live and work in Mauritius unless you got this using the Retirement Scheme method, in which the retiree cannot work and the spouse needs a work permit.
- IRS and RES owners get a Residence Permit not a Permanent Residence Permit (sorry).
If we go back in time, anyone wanting to work in Mauritius required two permits, a residence permit and a work permit. You needed the former before the latter was issued. Both required renewal when they expired.
Then the government combined these two into an Occupation Permit. The holder can live and work in Mauritius for three years and only apply for one permit renewal on expiry.
The creation of the Occupation Permit did not replace the residence permit or the work permit. These two things still exist.
IRS and RES Residency
Now let’s have a look at owners of IRS and RES properties that cost more than $500 000. They, and their immediate family are provided with RESIDENCE for the duration of their ownership. Do not think for one minute that this is the same thing as a Permanent Residence Permit. If anyone (the husband or wife or children under the age of 18) want to work, they have to individually apply for a work permit. No Permanent Residence Permit is available under this scheme. I say this twice because nearly anyone trying to sell you a property will fudge this.
There is a provision in law that if the minister is satisfied that a non citizen can sustain himself from funds obtained from outside of Mauritius, a residence permit may be granted. The Retirement Scheme is simply an efficient version of this law. Any retiree who is at least 50 and who brings $40 000 into the country each year may get a residence permit for three years, and thereafter a Permanent Residence Permit.
For those who want to live like this but are under the age of 50, I suggest you make an application for residence because you can sustain yourself. I don’t know of any approvals of this nature, but I see no reason for them to say no.
Please note that while the spouse does not need to bring $40 000 in each year, she may not work either. For that she would need to apply for a work permit. The Principal Retiree cannot apply for a work permit. He would need to qualify from scratch for an occupation permit if he wanted to work.
As long as the bread winner meets one of the criteria for an Occupation Permit, then a permit for three years will be granted. The spouse and family under 18 each will be provided with a Residence Permit and will hence not be allowed to work. After three years, and on condition that the higher thresholds are sustained for each of those three years, then a Permanent Residence Permit may be applied for.
Permanent Residence Permit
This is an Occupation Permit on steroids. The breadwinner AND his wife may work except if this permit was granted under the Retirement Scheme Conditions in which case NEITHER can work. REVISION: My previous sentence, although in my opinion correct in terms of the law is not applied as I assumed. THE REALITY is that the spouse still needs to apply for a 3 year work permit. END REVISION.
The Permanent Residence Permit lasts ten years, and if you want to, you may purchase an apartment to live in. The annual standards for income apply each year for the next ten.
Any time spent in Mauritius under a residence permit (or occupation permit) will contribute towards the time required for an application for citizenship.
Is that any clearer now? If not, I have a newer post that adds some meat to the bones. It was posted on 18 April, 2012.