For many years Mauritius has run a variety of investment schemes such as the IRS and RES schemes. These schemes provided that a non-citizen invested some $500 000 into various approved property schemes that the individual, their spouse, and dependents could obtain a right of residence in Mauritius.
The Investment Promotion Act of 2015 has now gone further. Any non-citizen who has been resident in Mauritius for a continuous period of 2 years, and who invests a sum of $5m or other hard currency equivalent in Mauritius, is entitled to apply to be registered as a citizen. The citizenship only applies for so long as the amount remains invested in Mauritius.
Although the applicable legislation is part of an Act aimed at creating “Smart Cities”, it does not appear that the investment has to be linked to such a “Smart City”.
Although the introduction of the scheme is welcome in that an investment of that magnitude is significant the scheme is expensive. It is competing against for example the Portuguese “golden passport”, which requires an investment of €500 000 and a fairly benevolent residence requirement, which after 6 years leads to a Portuguese passport. Or the UK which allows for the obtaining of a UK passport in return for an investment of some £1m. It is therefore unlikely that the scheme will attract much new investment. However, it will reward those that were attracted to investment in Mauritius in any event.
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