Mauritius is one of the big success stories of the region, with a robust economy that has consistently performed well in recent years, despite the global, economic downturn, with growth of 3.3%, expected to rise to 3.5%. The local currency is the Mauritian rupee (MUR). GDP for 2012 was 19.3 billion USD, with a GDP per capita of 15,595 USD. Home ownership is remarkably high, with approximately 87% of Mauritians being home owners (contrasting with approximately 65% in the USA, for example).
Just a few decades ago, sugarcane was the country’s major industry, but it has experienced some decline and now makes up 25% of total income from exports. An estimated 9% of the workforce is employed in agriculture and fishing. The textile industry is another significant contributor to the local economy.
Given the natural beauty of the island it is no surprise that tourism makes a major contribution to the country’s economy, but the government has recognized the importance of other sectors, and financial services have become a growth area, largely targeting markets such as India and parts of Africa. It is understood that Mauritian business needs to feature further up the value chain, and efforts are being made to achieve this.
Establishing itself as an offshore tax haven has allowed Mauritius to become a popular base for foreign businesses. In recent years, thousands of companies have chosen to take advantage of its favorable tax incentives, combined with a strong business infrastructure, and a sound legal system. In the World Bank’s Doing Business 2015 report, Mauritius was recently ranked at number 28 globally. Private property investment is another growth area, with incentives for individuals from overseas to purchase residences on the island.
Mauritius has many opportunities for expats in many areas including banking, accounting, marketing, IT, architecture, and business consulting. If you’re interested in employment in Mauritius, there are several dedicated recruitment specialists and career sites, such as Ministry of Labour's website, Orange Mauritius, and MyJob.mu. Some employers also advertise positions in Mauritius on African recruitment sites such as MichaelPage. When attending an interview for a position in Mauritius it is worth bearing in mind that the dress code in the workplace is usually formal.
Whilst Mauritius is a duty-free haven for tourists and other non-residents, VAT at 15% is payable on relevant goods by residents of the island. The fiscal year in Mauritius runs from 1st July to 30th June.
Residents of Mauritius are required to pay income tax starting from 10% and rising to a maximum of 30%. For tax purposes, you are classified as a resident if you spend a minimum of 183 days in the country in any tax year. It should be noted that those with fiscal resident status in Mauritius will incur tax there on their total global income, while non-residents will only be taxed in Mauritius on their local income.