Smart City Scheme (SCS)

The Smart City Program (SCS) in Mauritius is an initiative by the Mauritian government aimed at transforming the urban landscape through innovative and sustainable developments. The program seeks to create smart cities that integrate residential, business, and leisure spaces into cohesive and efficient urban ecosystems. These smart cities are designed to promote economic growth, enhance the quality of life, and attract foreign investment​ (Residency in Mauritius – RIM)​​ (Property24)​.

What is the Smart City Program (SCS)?

The Smart City Program (SCS) is a development scheme launched by the Mauritian government to foster smart, sustainable, and integrated urban areas. The program encourages the creation of cities that combine residential, commercial, and industrial zones with modern infrastructure and smart technologies. The primary goal is to develop mixed-use projects that support sustainable living and economic activity​ (Residency in Mauritius – RIM)​​ (Property24)​.

The SCS initiative was introduced to replace and improve upon previous schemes such as the Integrated Resort Scheme (IRS) and the Real Estate Scheme (RES). It aims to attract a diverse range of investors by offering flexible investment opportunities without minimum investment restrictions for certain types of property purchases​ (Property24)​.

Benefits of the Smart City Program

Advantages for Foreign Investors Investing in SCS properties offers several benefits for foreign investors. These include the opportunity to acquire freehold property, which provides long-term security and potential for capital appreciation. Additionally, investors can benefit from Mauritius’s stable political environment and favorable business climate​ (Property24)​ .

Economic Impact on Mauritius The Smart City Program has a positive impact on the Mauritian economy. It stimulates foreign direct investment (FDI), creates jobs, and boosts various sectors such as construction, real estate, and services. The development of smart cities also enhances the overall infrastructure and technological capabilities of the country​ (Property24)​ .

Lifestyle Benefits and Amenities Provided SCS developments are designed to offer a high quality of life with a range of amenities and services. These include modern residential units, business and commercial spaces, educational and medical facilities, and recreational areas. The integration of green spaces and eco-friendly infrastructure promotes sustainable living and improves the overall well-being of residents​ (Property24)​ .

Eligibility Criteria for SCS

To invest in Smart City properties, potential buyers must meet specific eligibility criteria. These criteria ensure that the scheme attracts genuine investors who can contribute positively to the Mauritian economy.

Who Can Invest in Smart City Properties?

  • Non-citizens: Individuals, companies, trusts, and foundations are eligible to invest in SCS properties. This inclusivity aims to attract a diverse range of investors from different backgrounds​ (Property24)​ .

Minimum Investment Requirements

  • The SCS scheme offers flexibility with no minimum investment requirement for certain property purchases, particularly for residential units. This makes it accessible to a broader range of investors​ (Property24)​.

Legal and Financial Prerequisites

  • Investors must comply with all legal and regulatory requirements set by the Mauritian government. This includes obtaining necessary permits and approvals for property acquisition, ensuring transparency and legal soundness of transactions​ (Property24)​ .

Types of Properties under SCS

The Smart City Program includes a variety of properties designed to meet diverse needs and preferences of investors and residents. These properties are built to high standards and come with a range of modern amenities.

Residential Properties

  • Villas and Apartments: SCS developments offer luxurious villas and modern apartments with features like private gardens, swimming pools, and advanced security systems. These properties provide comfortable living spaces with easy access to urban amenities​ (Property24)​ .

Commercial and Business Spaces

  • Offices and Retail Spaces: Smart cities include commercial areas with office buildings and retail spaces. These zones are designed to support business activities and provide convenient shopping and dining options for residents and visitors​ (Property24)​ .

Educational, Medical, and Leisure Facilities

  • Schools and Hospitals: SCS projects incorporate educational institutions and healthcare facilities to serve the needs of residents. This integration ensures that essential services are readily available within the smart city​ (Residency in Mauritius – RIM)​​ (Property24)​.
  • Parks and Recreational Areas: Green spaces, parks, and recreational facilities are integral parts of smart cities, promoting a healthy and active lifestyle for residents​ (Property24)​ .

How to Invest in Smart City Properties

Investing in Smart City properties involves a detailed process that ensures compliance with legal and financial requirements. Here is a step-by-step guide to the investment process:

Step-by-Step Guide to the Investment Process

  1. Initial Consultation: Potential investors consult with real estate agents and legal advisors to understand the SCS scheme and identify suitable properties.
  2. Property Selection: Investors select properties that meet their preferences and budget. This step includes visiting properties and reviewing their features and amenities​ (Property24)​ .
  3. Legal and Financial Preparation: Investors gather necessary documents, such as proof of identity, financial statements, and source of funds. They also undergo due diligence checks to ensure compliance with regulatory requirements​ (Property24)​ .
  4. Purchase Agreement: Once a property is selected, a purchase agreement is signed, and a deposit is paid to secure the property. This agreement outlines the terms and conditions of the purchase, providing legal protection to both parties​ (Property24)​ .
  5. Final Payment and Transfer of Ownership: The final payment is made, and ownership of the property is transferred to the investor. This step includes registering the property with relevant authorities and obtaining necessary permits and approvals .

Documentation and Legal Requirements

  • Investors must provide comprehensive documentation to prove their eligibility and financial capability. This includes identity proof, financial statements, and evidence of the source of funds. Compliance with these requirements ensures the transparency and legality of the transaction​ (Property24)​ .

Costs Involved

  • Initial Investment: The minimum investment requirement for certain property purchases under the SCS is USD 375,000.
  • Additional Costs: Investors should consider additional costs, including taxes, legal fees, and maintenance fees. These expenses vary depending on the property and its location and should be factored into the overall investment budget​ (Property24)​ .

Residency Benefits of SCS

The Smart City Program (SCS) in Mauritius offers significant residency benefits for investors and their families, making it an attractive option for those seeking to establish a long-term presence on the island.

Permanent Residency for Investors and Their Families

  • Automatic Residency: By investing in a Smart City property, foreign investors can obtain a residence permit. If the investment exceeds USD 375,000, the investor and their immediate family (spouse and dependent children) are eligible for a Permanent Residence Permit. This permit allows them to live, work, and study in Mauritius indefinitely, provided they maintain ownership of the property​ (Property24)​ .
  • Long-Term Stability: The residence permit remains valid as long as the investor owns the property, providing long-term stability and the ability to renew residency without additional bureaucratic hurdles​ (Residency in Mauritius – RIM)​​ (Property24)​.

Tax Benefits and Incentives

  • Favourable Tax Regime: Mauritius offers an attractive tax regime for SCS investors, including no capital gains tax, no inheritance tax, and a low corporate tax rate of 15%. These benefits are particularly appealing for high-net-worth individuals and business owners​ (Property24)​ .
  • Double Taxation Agreements: Mauritius has double taxation agreements with several countries, which can help investors avoid being taxed twice on the same income. This is beneficial for those with international business interests​ (Property24)​ .

Long-Term Residency and Citizenship Options

  • Path to Citizenship: While the SCS initially provides permanent residency, it also opens pathways to citizenship. After maintaining residency for a specified period (typically five years), investors may apply for Mauritian citizenship, subject to meeting the necessary legal requirements and criteria set by the Mauritian government​ (Residency in Mauritius – RIM)​​ (Property24)​.
  • Quality of Life: Mauritius is known for its high quality of life, excellent healthcare system, and top-tier educational institutions. Residents enjoy a safe and stable environment with a pleasant climate and beautiful natural surroundings​ (Property24)​ .

Comparison with Other Property Schemes

Mauritius offers several property schemes for foreign investors, each with its unique features and benefits. Here’s a comparison of the SCS with other prominent schemes:

Integrated Resort Scheme (IRS)

  • Scale and Investment: The IRS focuses on large-scale luxury developments with a minimum investment of USD 375,000. It grants automatic permanent residency to investors and their families, offering extensive luxury amenities and services​ (Residency in Mauritius – RIM)​​ (Property24)​.
  • Residency Benefits: Similar to the SCS, the IRS provides permanent residency but requires a higher minimum investment. The IRS projects often include golf courses, marinas, and other high-end facilities​ (Property24)​ .

Real Estate Scheme (RES)

  • Flexibility and Scale: The RES allows for smaller-scale developments with no minimum investment requirement, making it accessible to a broader range of investors. However, only investments above USD 375,000 qualify for permanent residency​ (Property24)​ .
  • Residency Benefits: Unlike the SCS and IRS, the RES does not automatically grant permanent residency. Investors must meet specific criteria and investment thresholds to obtain residency permits .

Property Development Scheme (PDS)

  • Flexibility and Social Impact: The PDS allows for the development of mixed-use projects that include residential, commercial, and leisure facilities. It emphasizes environmental sustainability and social integration, requiring developers to contribute to the local community​ (Property24)​ .
  • Investment Requirements: Similar to the SCS, the PDS requires a minimum investment of USD 375,000 and offers similar residency benefits. The PDS focuses on creating integrated projects that support sustainable living and economic activity​ (Property24)​ .

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Smart City Program (SCS) in Mauritius?

The Smart City Program (SCS) in Mauritius is a government initiative aimed at developing integrated, sustainable, and smart urban areas. The program encourages the creation of cities that combine residential, commercial, and industrial zones with modern infrastructure and smart technologies to promote sustainable living and economic growth​ (Residency in Mauritius – RIM)​​ (Property24)​.

Relevant Resources

  1. Mauritius Economic Development Board – “Mauritius Economic Development Board”
  2. Mauritius Citizenship Act – “Mauritius Citizenship Act”
  3. Mauritius Financial Services Commission – “Mauritius Financial Services Commission”
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