The Indian Ocean island of Mauritius attracts over 1.3 million tourists each year to enjoy its beautiful turquoise sea, lush tropical beauty and high end hotels.
But in recent years it has started to attract a high number of foreign retirees from all parts of the world, drawn there by its tax friendly regime, high standards of healthcare and good quality of life. And surprisingly, 40% of these retirees are involved in some kind of economic activity.
According to the Economic Development Board (EDB) the share of foreign retirees in Mauritius increased by more than 150% between 2007 and 2022 and the Mauritian government is keen to attract more. French retirees rank 1st with some 60%, then 2nd South African retirees with some 15% and then 3rd UK retirees with some 8%. From all British citizens living in Mauritius 25% are retirees, and they have increased by 278% since 2015. EDB claim that 40% of retirees involve themselves in some kind of business on the island- often in a sector opposite to their initial training or job in areas such as real estate, hospitality, financial services, ICT, health and education.
From 2014 to 2022 Mauritius issued a total of 1,198 residence permits to UK nationals of which 11% are retirees. They have chosen Mauritius not only for the lifestyle and 2,900 hours of sunshine a year but to benefit from the high-quality amenities, good infrastructure and services, and a hospital system that meets international standards.
There are also many favourable tax advantages such as no inheritance or wealth tax, no foreign exchange controls, no capital gains tax and foreign ownership of property is allowed. And income derived by a retired person or their spouse or common law partner outside of Mauritius for the past 5 years is exempted from income tax.
Another draw is a wide choice of property offering residents a safe and secure environment, plus onsite management of their homes, that gives them more time to either work or do the things they enjoy.
One example is Heritage Villas Valriche in Bel Ombre in the preserved south of Mauritius which has sold approximately two thirds of their homes to foreign buyers of retirement age and many in this group are still economically active either in Mauritius or internationally – keeping in touch with their businesses remotely from Mauritius.
Steve Argyle is a retired 66-year-old British citizen who bought a villa at Heritage Villas Valriche. He most recently worked as Supply Chain Director for Cadburys South Africa. He explains why he bought a villa in Mauritius: “We have had a holiday in Mauritius every year for the past 9 years. Heritage Le Telfair is our favourite hotel and Heritage Villas Valriche is a pristine and secure estate just next door offering a lifestyle that is hard to match. I chose Mauritius for the attractive tax position and because the Mauritian people are such genuine warm and friendly people.”
CEO of Heritage Villas Valriche Anton de Waal says: “At Heritage Villas Valriche the mundane household tasks of gardening, painting, pool maintenance, varnishing and other tasks are taken care of efficiently so that homeowners can focus on leisure or work. As part of the five star Heritage resort – they can enjoy the beach, the two international golf courses and spas at the hotels or there are wonderful hiking, and mountain biking experiences in the surrounding UNESCO Man and Biosphere nature reserve.”
Mauritius as an island is ranked first among African countries where life is good and where people feel happiest according to the World Happiness Report 2022 and in a recent ranking published by Le Figaro, Mauritius was recognized as the 4th best country in the world to retire.
To encourage seniors and support this efficient and attractive system, Mauritius, a bilingual French and English-speaking country, has set up a legal and administrative framework adapted to the profiles of young retirees, in particular with a Residence Permit accessible for a period of 10 years. To retire in Mauritius foreigners must receive a monthly income of just $1,500 (approximately £1200/month).