A new Premium Visa for visitors to Mauritius means remote workers can stay on the island for up to a year. It’s renewable too. Olivia Palamountain reports

A new Premium Visa announced by the cabinet in Mauritius will allow visitors to spend a period of one year on the island working from paradise. It’s hoped that the initiative will encourage longer stays in order to help offset the damage caused to the travel and tourism sector in the wake of Covid-19.

The Premium Visa is designed to attract digital nomads, retirees seeking a a safe haven from the virus and professionals who are looking for a change of scene for themselves and their families. It’s also renewable, so that once visitors are settled, they have the option to extend their stay further.

The government is keen to promote the island as a Covid-safe destination with modern infrastructure and the highest sanitary standards and protocols to ensure the safety of visitors as well as nationals.

All arrivals to the island must undergo a 14-day quarantine combined with a pre-departure PCR test, arrival test and follow-up tests on seven and 14 days.

In order to qualify for the Premium Visa, visitors must provide evidence of their long-stay plans and must have adequate travel and health insurance for the initial period of stay.

The visitor’s main place of business and source of income should be outside Mauritius as otherwise they will not be entitled to enter the Mauritius labour market. All other entry requirements for Mauritius will also apply.

According to the website: “Mauritius ranked first in Africa in the last World Bank’s Doing Business Report, the country provides unparalleled support to work remotely including a transparent financial ecosystem, state-of-the-art telecommunications infrastructure and a reliable ICT connectivity with high capacity undersea fiberoptic network (SAFE and LION) linking Africa to Asia and Europe via Middle East.”

It also says: “An arrival concierge service helping new residents find homes, cars, banking services and telecoms will be in place and Premium Visa holders will also no longer need to leave the country at the end of their visa to renew their temporary visitor status, which will help keep the island more Covid-secure for the longer term.”

Mauritius is not the first exotic island destination to entice visitors with extended visas. Barbados introduced the 12-month “Barbados Welcome Stamp” on July 24 to allow visitors the option to work remotely from the island for a year at a time, at a cost of US$2,000 per person or US$3,000 for families.

Bermuda introduced a year-long residency scheme for digital nomads aged 18 to work or study in a bid to help kickstart the economy. Applications via the government’s website opened on August 1 with stipulations that include health insurance and proof of employment or enrollment in higher education, plus a one-off fee of US$263.

Antigua’s new visa program, “Nomad Digital Residence” (NDR) allow visitors to “live and move freely” across the territory and benefit from Antigua and Barbuda’s personal income tax-free status.

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