‘High net worth’ migration in Mauritius: A critical analysis
Keywords:Mauritius, investor migration, Permanent Resident Scheme, Integrated Resorts Scheme, Real Estate Scheme, Invest Hotel Scheme.
As a small island African nation, Mauritius is famed for its economic success, democratic governance and political stability. The Mauritian government recently embarked on a migration scheme geared towards attracting ‘high net worth’ migrants to the country. The scheme offers foreigners the possibility of obtaining permanent residence and naturalizing as citizens under specifically designed investment and residential programmes devised to attract private investment. While it is undeniable that this scheme has brought considerable foreign direct investment into the country, it has also caused discontent among the local population. Using media reports and interviews of key stakeholders in the press as well as qualitative date gathered from semi-structured interviews of key stakeholders, this paper examines the implications of the long term and often, permanent presence of ‘high net worth’ migrants on the local population. Public debate on this matter includes issues such as culture clash and diminished access to the beach for Mauritian citizens. Moreover, given the smallness of the country and the fact that land is already scarce, there is fear that facilities granted to foreigners to purchase property will have inflationary consequences and make property unaffordable to the local population.