IT appears there is something of an exodus taking place from Mauritius these days as locals flee the paradise island for the sheeting rain, dark skies and general gloom that is the island of Ireland.
The Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform, Dermot Ahern has confirmed that one in 250 of the Republic of Mauritius’s inhabitants have opted for life on these altogether greyer shores.
A total of 5,000 of the island’s 1.25 million Mauritian nationals are registered with the Garda National Immigration Bureau.
So great is the lure of Ireland that the Mr Ahern has been forced to clamp down on Mauritians’ visa requirements.
“At present, nationals of Mauritius are not visa required as set out in Statutory Instrument No 239 of 2009. However, with effect from January 1, this position will change and nationals of Mauritius will require an entry visa,” Mr Ahern told the Dáil following a parliamentary question by Fine Gael’s Charlie Flanagan.
“Visa and pre-entry clearance systems are at the core of immigration controls and the inclusion of nationalities on lists of persons who require visas is usually the result of experience regarding the nationalities concerned. There are currently over 5,000 Mauritian nationals registered with the Garda National Immigration Bureau, mostly as students. Taking the population of Mauritius as being approximately 1.25 million this means that one in every 250 Mauritian nationals is in Ireland.”
The European Union has an agreement with the Republic of Mauritius whereby Mauritians can travel around the 27 countries on a holiday visa for a maximum of three months.
This agreement is only binding on the countries that, unlike Ireland, are signed up to the Schengen accord and that is why the Irish can set new rules.
Last year, the British Government warned that they too were monitoring the influx of Mauritians to Britain due a perceived increase in abuse and illegal immigration attempts.
The British High Commissioner in Mauritius, John Murton said there were problems concerning the security of official documents and also with supposed holidaymakers working illegally.
The Department of Justice confirmed last night that the Mauritian authorities have been informed of the change to visa requirements.
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