Why Zanzibar joined Mauritius to lure expats with tax residency visa

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The African island state of Zanzibar is “looking for a bite of the action” after Mauritius introduced a Premium Long-Stay Visa for prospective investors, the well-known expert commentator Dianna Games has argued in a recent interview.

In conversation with Bruce Whitfield on South Africa’s The Money Show, the Africa @ Work CEO said the semi-autonomous government of Zanzibar had been “pro-active in looking at ways to develop economic opportunities”.

As reported by International Investment, Zanzibar recently launched a new tax and residency programme to encourage expats to invest in the island off Tanzania’s coast.

It’s good to see African governments thinking ahead about what they can do to compete and be much more on the radar for people with money.”
Real estate buyers are being offered a range of investor incentives and will be able to get residency without being a citizen.

Games, who is chief executive of an advisory company focusing on African business, Africa @ Work, pointed out that while “Zanzibar is not very developed” and “it’s not a Mauritius” she thinks “they are also looking for a bite of the action”.

“They do have a beautiful island”, she said, and “It’s on a direct trajectory to Asia, not far from South Africa”.

She added: “It’s good to see African governments thinking ahead about what they can do to compete and be much more on the radar for people with money.”

Whitfield presents The Money Show on South Africa’s 702 and CapeTalk, hosts Taking Stock, a weekly TV show on eNCA, and is a Contributing Editor for Financial Mail.

As for the Mauritius option, The Sovereign Group set out a clear briefing note on what this offers, namely a Premium Travel Visa for foreign nationals who intend to stay in Mauritius for a maximum period of one year as a tourist, retiree or a professional, and is willing to come with his/her family and carry out his/her business or work remotely from Mauritius in a Covid-safe destination.

“Applying for a Premium Visa is a simple online process, which opened on 16 November. An application will be processed within 48 hours and the e-visa will be issued via email. The Premium Visa is issued free of charge and there is no processing fee.

The Premium Visa is valid for a period of one year and is renewable. A Premium Visa is required by those who intend to stay in Mauritius for a period exceeding 180 days in a calendar year. For those staying for less than 180 days, a tourist visa can be granted on arrival to Mauritius. Foreign nationals staying in Mauritius under a tourist visa can apply for a Premium Visa during their stay in Mauritius”, it said.

Sovereign Group also said that in order to qualify for the Premium Visa, the applicant must have proof of his/her long stay plans and sufficient travel and health insurance for the initial period of stay.

The following criteria should also be met:
The applicant should not enter the Mauritius labour market;
The main place of business and/or source of income and profits should be outside Mauritius;
Documentary evidence should be provided to support application such as purpose of visit, accommodation etc.
Other basic immigration requirements:

A holder of a Premium Visa is permitted to apply for an Occupation Permit if he/she intends to work or invest in Mauritius or a Residence Permit as a retired non-citizen.
Foreign nationals may also acquire a residential property developed under the Integrated Resort Scheme (IRS), Real Estate Scheme (RES), Property Development Scheme (PDS) or Smart City Scheme (SCS).
A foreign national is also allowed to acquire an apartment located in a building of at least ground plus two floors.
Money spent in Mauritius through the use of foreign credit or debit cards is not liable to tax in Mauritius. A person becomes a tax resident and therefore liable to tax in Mauritius if he/she spends 183 days or more in the country.

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