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Termination of exemption of work/occupation permit for foreign spouses of Mauritian citizens

Amendments brought to the Regulations under the Non-Citizens (Employment Restriction) Act sees the termination of the exemption, for foreign spouses of Mauritian citizens, to have a work/occupation permit to be able to work in Mauritius.

Statistics Mauritius estimates the number of foreign workers at 29,400 in 2018 (i.e. 4.79% of the current workforce, which stands at 613,200). By promoting the island’s economic and living environment on a global stage during the last decade, the expatriate population within Mauritius (which has remained stable – 4.02% in 2011) plays an increasingly significant role in the local economy.

The law that applies to a non-citizen who marries a Mauritian citizen (and the couple chooses to live in Mauritius) is that the non-citizen is granted a residence permit. Before the 8th March 2019, they were exempted of the requirement to apply for a relevant work/occupation permit in order to work in Mauritius.

However, further to the Amendments No.1 and Amendment No.2 to the Non-Citizens (Employment Restriction) Act, non-citizens spouses of Mauritian citizens are no longer exempted and need to apply for the relevant permit. Those already working in Mauritius have a 3-month moratorium period to obtain the relevant work/occupation permit to be able to carry on the professional activities in Mauritius.

In addition to the documents that have to be submitted for the work/occupation permit, the foreign spouse should produce her/his Marriage Certificate and Residence Permit. Under Amendment No.2, an employer of foreigner, married to a Mauritian citizen, who plans to continue to employ non-citizens, shall apply for and obtain the permit on their behalf by 28th June 2019.

A grandfathering clause is expected to be added in this new regulation. This would mean that all non-citizen spouses of Mauritian citizens who were in employment before the implementation of this new regulation (i.e. 8th March 2019) will not be required to apply for a work/occupation permit to remain in employement.