Immigration to Madagascar

Living and Working in Madagascar

Baobabs Tree, MadagascarThe Republic of Madagascar is located in the Indian Ocean off the coast of southern Africa, about 450 km (280 miles) east of Mozambique.  Also known as the Red Island, it’s one of the four largest islands in the world.  It has a narrow coastal plain with a high plateau and mountains in its center. The highest point on this Island is Mountain Maromokotro at 9,435 feet (2,876 meters) and the lowest is the Indian Ocean at 0 feet (0 meters). The land area. Most of Madagascar is undeveloped and wild, with lush forests and vibrant coral reefs still to be touched by human hands.  So, for people who love to live in a calm isolated yet beautiful place, Madagascar is the perfect place.

People who would love to move to this beautiful Island must be familiar with the political and economic conditions as well. Over a period of time, Madagascar has experienced repeated political instability. Madagascar is among the world’s poorest countries where around 70% of the Malagasy people live below the world poverty line. The population of Madagascar is around 25 million people with various ethnic groups. In spite of the political situation and the condition of the people, Madagascar has shown significant improvement and stability in the economic conditions with the help of foreign aid. Madagascar has an excellent climate for agriculture, like clove and vanilla. It is also rich in natural resources including graphite, coal, quartz and salt.

Madagascar offers a unique and appealing destination for immigration due to its diverse range of opportunities and experiences. For immigrants and foreigners seeking a new place to call home, Madagascar provides a captivating blend of natural beauty and cultural richness. The country’s stunning landscapes, from pristine beaches to lush rainforests, offer an unparalleled quality of life. Moreover, Madagascar’s welcoming communities embrace immigrants, making it easier to adapt and integrate into the local society. Whether you’re drawn to the vibrant capital of Antananarivo, the relaxed coastal towns, or the remote countryside, living and working in Madagascar can be a fulfilling adventure. Additionally, the thriving tourism industry creates job prospects, especially for those in the hospitality sector. With its warm climate, affordable living costs, and growing economy, Madagascar is an enticing choice for those seeking a fresh start and a chance to experience a truly unique way of life.

Traveling information

The Government warns visitors and travelers to Madagascar to exercise increased caution due to expected crime, assault and armed robbery.  Certain areas are specially targeted and hence travelers need to get advance information about the city they are visiting. It is good to avoid night-time travel as suggested by local police as well.   

The CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) recommends that vaccines not only for COVID-19, but also the routine vaccines for Polio, Chickenpox(Varicella), Flu(influenza), Measles-Mumps-Rubella(MMR), Shingles, Diphtheria-Tetanus-Pertusis must be taken at least one month before you travel.  Hepatitis A & B vaccine is recommended for unvaccinated people of all ages.  If you are traveling from a country with a risk of Yellow Fever only then you need to be vaccinated with Yellow Fever Vaccine. Rabid animals including Dogs are found in Madagascar and are very limited and no rabies treatment is available in many areas in Madagascar, so is highly recommended to consider taking rabies vaccination before traveling here.  

Regardless of the COVID-19 vaccination status, all travelers to Madagascar get a pre-departure PCR test, and antigen test on arrival. The test will cost (€15/US$20/65,000 Ariary) in cash. If the test result is positive then you are required to be quarantined for 7 days at a selected hotel at the traveler’s cost. Medical treatment if required will also be at your cost. 

The best and most practical way to get into Madagascar is by Air. There are direct flights from Johannesburg to Madagascar. The Ivato International Airport in the capital city of Antananarivo servers main Airliners from major destinations like Paris, Bangkok, Nairobi, Milan, etc.

How to Immigrate to Madagascar

There are two types of categories under which Visas are divided.  One is the Non-immigrant Visa and the second is the Transformable type Visa. The Non-immigrant visa is for 90 day stay with 1 or 3 entries.  The Transformable Visa is valid for 30 days and once the person is in Madagascar they can apply for a long-term visa. 

The Transformable Visa is issued for any one of the following valid categories:

  • Investors
  • Employees
  • Family Members in Reunion
  • Executive officers/managers of companies established in the country
  • Religious Missionaries
  • Retired People
  • Students
  • Volunteers
  • Natives
  • Scientists

Tourist Visa: 

The Tourist Visa is an eVisa, and can only be applied online. It is usually processed in a few days and sent to the applicant to a valid email address.  There are no restrictions to visit Madagascar, people from all nationalities can apply for tourist visas for tourism purposes. 

The passport must be valid for at least six months to a year and must not be more than 10 years old. The fees can be paid online or pay at the airport upon arrival in Madagascar. It is mandatory that the applicant must be financially adequate to support themselves during their visit to Madagascar. 

Applicants also need to reserve a hotel for a minimum two nights and pay the fees in advance. A receipt of the reservation must be submitted when applying for eVisa. 

For minor children an identity document along with a handwritten authorization letter to leave their country has to be submitted, irrespective of whether the child is traveling with or without parents. In case if the child has a single parent or a deceased parent, then a divorce or a death supporting certificate needs to be submitted.

To apply for a visa, please log on to and create an account with a valid email address.

Work Visa:

All expats seeking employment in Madagascar need a Work Permit. Self-employed individuals must apply for a work permit themselves. 

Employers sponsor the expats arrange the stay in the country and arrange for the work permit. Once the work permit is issued and signed by the Ministry of Work, you need to apply for a transformable visa.  The documents required for the Transformable Visa are as follows: 

  • Employment Contract issued and stamped by MFPTLS (Ministry of Public Service, Labor Administration Reform and Social Laws)
  • Work Permit
  • A certificate of employment issued by the employer
  • Registration certificate of the company employing the expat. The certificate must be issued by the Registrar of Companies.
  • Company’s Tax Identification Number (TIN)
  • Company’s statistics cards.
  • Two recent passport-size photos of the employee
  • A copy of the passport with at least one year of validity.
  • A criminal record from the employee’s country of origin.
  • Letter from the applicants indicating the reasons for moving to Madagascar
  • Vaccination certificates (required vaccination is mentioned in Travelling Information above)

The application along with documents and fees must be submitted to the Malagasy embassy or consulate. A visa interview or meeting is scheduled at the embassy which will ask questions regarding working in Madagascar and may ask to show other documents. Sometimes it may take time to process the visa, which you need to pick up from the embassy or they send it to you.  The work visa is a short-term Visa, maybe for a month or so, which allows you to enter Madagascar. The visa is labeled “Extended and Transformable”, which means that during this period a Residence Permit must be obtained which allows you to stay in the country. A Residence Permit allows you to work in Madagascar till your work contract permits.


The people of Madagascar, known as Malagasy, are an incredibly diverse and hospitable community. They are primarily of Malayo-Indonesian descent, with influences from African, Arab, and European cultures. The Malagasy people are organized into various ethnic tribes, with the Merina being one of the largest and most influential groups. Each tribe has its own unique traditions, languages, and customs. Traditional Malagasy dress often includes brightly colored woven garments, reflecting the rich cultural heritage. In nature, the Malagasy people are known for their warmth and friendliness, making visitors and immigrants feel welcome. They often treat foreigners with curiosity and kindness, eager to share their traditions and learn from others. The main religion in Madagascar is a unique blend of animism and ancestor worship, known as Malagasy mythology, although Christianity and Islam also have a significant presence in the country. This cultural diversity and openness contribute to the vibrant tapestry of Madagascar’s society. 

Family ties in Madagascar are exceptionally strong and play a central role in the lives of the Malagasy people. The concept of family extends beyond just immediate relatives and includes extended family members, creating a close-knit network of support and relationships. Families in Madagascar often live together or in close proximity, fostering a sense of unity and cooperation. Elders are highly respected and hold a significant role in decision-making within the family. Additionally, the practice of filial piety, where children honor and care for their parents and grandparents, is deeply ingrained in Malagasy culture. These strong family bonds provide emotional, social, and economic support, making family gatherings and celebrations important aspects of life in Madagascar. Malagasy cuisine is characterized by its use of rice as a staple and incorporates a wide variety of flavors and ingredients, often featuring seafood, meats, and vegetables in their traditional dishes.The traditional dance of the Malagasy people is known as “Hira Gasy,” and one of the main festivals is the “Aloalo” Festival, celebrated with music, dance, and vibrant cultural displays.

Job offers in Madagascar

Madagascar is a developing nation and job opportunities are scarce. However one can get jobs mainly in the agriculture and tourism sectors. If you a native English speaker, you have lots of “Teaching English” opportunities.  For people who who like to work in health/nursing, the Mercy Ships are a good place to go. Mercy Ships are stationed in Madagascar almost constantly. There are a number of opportunities in Engineering, IT, Construction work, and telecommunications as well. Larger embassies like the United States also have job opportunities from time to time, so it’s good to check with the embassy as well. The average salary ranges from 333,000 MGA lowest) to 5,870,000 MGA.  This may include housing, transport, and other benefits. A typical earning of a person is around 1,310,000 MGA per month.

Expats with more job experience from 2 to 5 years earn 32% more on average than freshers across all industries.   For professionals with more than 5 years of experience will earn more than 36% more than those with less experience. You can visit to find the salaries in companies in Antananarivo and other locations in Madagascar. 

“JobnetAfrica” website helps expats find jobs in many sectors in Madagascar. Vacancies are updated weekly on this website. 

To find out different portals to find jobs in Madagascar, please visit:

Unemployment rate 

The unemployment rate was 2.6% in 2021, which is 2.5% increase from the previous year. The low unemployment rate is due to low living standards in Madagascar. The reason why the living standards are low is low income, inequality, poor health and inadequate education.

Economy of Madagascar   

Madagascar’s economy is built on a strong agriculture sector, textile, tourism and food industries. Madagascar produces of the best quality of Vanilla, which comes from an orchid and is used for flavoring. Madagascar became the 1st largest exporter of Vanilla in 2020 by exporting $539M in vanilla. Its other big exports include Gold ($187 M), Knit Sweaters ($126 M), Raw Nickel ($164 M) and Titanium Ore ($101 M). These products are mainly exported to the United States, UAE, France, Germany and China. Even though Madagascar processes a large number of natural resources which includes chromite, graphite, coal, fish and hydropower, it remains an agricultural-based economy. Agricultural contributes 25% of GDP out of the nation’s $37.5 billion GDP (PPP) and also gives 80% of employment on the Island.  Madagascar recorded sporadic economic growth from the year 2017 to 2019 and then the Covid-19 pandemic which caused 967 deaths as of 1st December ’21, put a brake on Madagascar’s economic growth and the country went into a recession in 2020. As of now, Madagascar’s economic freedom score is 58.9% making its economy the 98th freest in the 2022 index.

The economy of Madagascar is adversely affected by bad roads, deficient infrastructure, lack of material and technological resources, cumbersome unreliable & complicated registration system and natural disasters such as cyclones. In the past, Madagascar suffered political corruption for decades, which had much influence on the poor economy of this island. The anti-corruption efforts are weak in comparison to the pervasive corruption in the Police departments, tax authorities, customs & land administration, and many commercial sectors. 

To get detailed economic figures of Madagascar’s economy, please visit:

Renting and buying of real estates for foreigners


Foreigners have the same rights to buy or get a land on lease as the Malagasy nationals. Foreign nationals can enjoy real estate in Madagascar but cannot become owners of the land. No national or land belonging to Malagasy state or classified into public domain cannot be bought or purchased.  All foreigners wishing to buy land/property must file an application to the EDBM (Economic Development Board of Madagascar It is the decision of the EDBM and the Government to determine and grant the authorization according to certain terms and conditions.  

Any foreigner wishing to acquire real estate is required to file with the EDBM, giving the following details with supporting documents:

  1. a request from the interested party, prepared on a form provided by the Administration,
  2. a certificate of registration and legal status of the immovable property/land being acquired,
  3. a declaration on the honor of the immovable property held by the applicant in Madagascar;
  4. a certificate of nationality,
  5. an investment plan and program,
  6. a certificate of investment fund of contribution, equal to or greater than US $ 500,000 or any equivalent in foreign currency.

There are two available options for the foreigners

1. The emphyteutic lease, called emphyteusis – The Emphyteutic lease allows the foreigners to enjoy the rights of ownership during a period agreed and defined between 18 and 99 years, it has no sale value, however it is long term with certain advantages.

2. To purchase real estate as a company – In this option they have the same property rights in the same way as Malagasy citizens)


Madagascar has a tropical climate in the coastal region but varies on different locations at the island. Like other equatorial areas, it typically experiences an annual cycle of hot and dry weather from November to April, followed by cooler wet season from May to October.

The east of the Island is the warmest with temperatures regularly reaching 30 deg.c or more. The east also has far more rain brought in by the Indian ocean trade winds.  The west of the Island is cooler and drier with frosts at higher altitudes. The far south and southwest is a semi-desert and gets very little rainfall.  

Highlands becomes very cold with night temperatures descend below 5 deg.c especially between June to September. The rains starts in November and may last till April in the highlands. During this period the average temperature if 28 to 30 deg.C, making it the hottest time of the year. 

For the detailed climate in all the regions of Madagascar, please refer to


The official language of Madagascar is Malagasy, which is written in the Latin alphabet.  It is a standardized version of Merina, an Austronesian Language. The Austronesian people from the southeast Asia brought the language to Madagascar when they first settled in this island. The eastern and western regions speak distinct dialects of Malagasy.  

The Malagasy is closely related to the languages spoken in Malaysia, the Philippines and Indonesia and is must different than the languages spoken in the neighboring countries like Mozambique and South Africa.   

Madagascar is a Francophone nation. French is also an official language here is also widely spoken along with 300 native languages spoken throughout the Island. French is the language of instructions in Schools & instructions, even though Malagasy is largely spoken. Around 0.618% of the total population in Madagascar speak French. English is also widely spoken and used for business and international relations.


Except for a few major roads, most of the roads are in state of disrepair. Some roads are impossible to travel on during rainy season. Antananarivo’s  main roads are good. Outside Antananarivo  night travel is not advisable due to poor lighting and road conditions.   

You drive on the right side of the road in Madagascar. Wearing seatbelts is compulsory and use of cell phones even with hands-free is prohibited. For motorbikes and two-wheelers helmet is compulsory. You may find many streets congested as vehicles, pedestrians, animal carts, bicycles all moving at the same time in the narrow streets. Therefore, accidents are very common as usually involves pedestrians. 

Major traffic cycles and intersections have Policeman directing traffic. If a policeman has his back to you in a circle, then you are required to stop. Vehicle is seized for few days if driver is caught driving under the influence of Liquor and also fine will be incurred. As a foreigner, an International Driving License is a must. You do not require a local driver’s license if you have a IDP and passport with entry stamped.

To get detailed information on License, Laws, renting a car & cost, please visit:

Currency and payment transactions

The official currency of Madagascar is Malagasy Ariary (MGA). Ar is used as the symbol to represent Malagasy Ariary.  Euro is the most accepted foreign currency in Madagascar. 

The currency is available is the following banknotes denominations:
Ar100, Ar200, Ar500, Ar1000, Ar2000, Ar5000 and Ar10000

The currency is available is the following coins denominations:
Ar0.20, Ar1, Ar2, Ar2.5, Ar4, Ar5, Ar10, Ar20 and Ar50

To find out the exchange rate of Malagasy Ariary (MGA) to different currencies, please visit:

Apartment Rent 

The rent depends on many factors, however the average rent of the apartment in Madagascar is as below: 

In a city center, one-bedroom apartment : $250 or so per month
Outside the city center, One-bedroom apartment : $90 or so per month
In a city center, three-bedroom apartment : $860 or so per month
Outside the city center, three-bedroom apartment: $615 or so per month

To find flats for rent in Madagascar, please visit:

Cost of Living in Madagascar

In Madagascar there are choices in almost everything, Food, Modes of Travel and Accommodation, so basically one can plan his/her own budget as per your income and enjoy a comfortable life. In comparison to other countries, it’s very low. 

Here are some products mentioned below, so that you will get a clear idea of the cost of living: 



Amount in MGA Malagasy Ariary


1 lit

3,396.60 Ar


12 (a dozen)

7,975.00 Ar


1 Kg (2 lb.)

3,250.00 Ar

Chicken Fillets

1 kg

20,500.00 Ar

Rice (White)

1 kg

3,012.50 Ar


1 kg

6,325.00 Ar



2,883.33 Ar

Local Cheese

1 kg

31,571.43 Ar

Internet Cable/ADSL

60 Mbps unlimited data

269,833.33 Ar

Water Bottle

1.5 liter

2,355.56 Ar

Bottle of wine


30,000.00 Ar

Local Transport

1 way ticket

500.00 Ar


1 liter

4,100.00 Ar

Utilities (heating, electricity cooling, water,garbage)

For 85m2 apartment

170,000.00 Ar

Cinema International Release  

1 seat

30,000.00 Ar

3 course Meal –mid range   

2 person  

70,000.00 Ar


0.33 Liter

3,591.75 Ar

McMeal at McDonalds


20,000.00 Ar

To get the updated cost of other important items and services, please visit:


The tax here is based on the current personal income tax rates which are progressive up to 20%. Value Added Tax (VAT) is generally 20%. Excise duty on imported or manufactured here varies from 5% to 325% or at fixed amounts per litre or per unit. 

For a detailed list of taxes levied in Madagascar, please visit:

Health Insurance 

Healthcare is not free in Madagascar. While there are public healthcare facilities, they often face resource constraints, and patients are typically required to pay for medical services, medications, and treatments. Private healthcare options are available as well, but they come with associated costs. Access to quality healthcare can vary significantly between urban and rural areas in Madagascar. 

The public healthcare facilities are generally below international standards. The hospitals in Antananarivo provides general/basic treatments, for emergencies and surgery evacuation to either Mauritius, Reunion or South Africa is required. In Madagascar, there are private healthcare facilities that cater to both foreigners and immigrants. Some well-known private hospitals and clinics in the capital city, Antananarivo, include the Polyclinique Ilafy, the Clinic Sainte Marie, and the Centre Médical de l’Ambassade. These private healthcare providers often offer a higher standard of care and may have English-speaking staff to assist expatriates and visitors in need of medical services. It’s advisable to have health insurance coverage or access to emergency medical services when staying or living in Madagascar, as healthcare costs can be significant, especially in private facilities.

Important addresses

Ivato International Airport
N52, Antananarivo, Madagascar
Phone: +261 20 22 440 41

Sainte Marie Airport
WR68+4MV, Vohilava, Madagascar
Phone: +261 34 11 222 13

Transportation service in Antananarivo
IVM 12 TER AT Ambodivona, Antananarivo 101, Madagascar
Phone: +261 32 11 027 10

Embassy of South Africa
Embassy in Antananarivo, Madagascar
Phone: +261 20 22 494 82

UK Embassy
JIRAMA, 149 Lalana Rainandriamampandry,
Antananarivo, Madagascar
Phone: +261 20 22 330 53


Madagascar is an island nation located off the southeastern coast of Africa in the Indian Ocean. It is known for its unique biodiversity, with a wide variety of flora and fauna found nowhere else on Earth. The country is characterized by a tropical climate, featuring a wet season from November to April and a dry season from May to October. Tourists are drawn to Madagascar for its stunning natural beauty and wildlife, including lemurs, chameleons, and vibrant coral reefs. Popular attractions include the Avenue of the Baobabs, the Tsingy de Bemaraha National Park, and the beautiful beaches along its coastline. 

Economically, Madagascar faces challenges with a significant portion of its population living in poverty. Agriculture, mining, and tourism are key sectors, but the country continues to struggle with development and infrastructure. Madagascar has a diverse cultural heritage, influenced by African, Asian, and European traditions. It is a welcoming place for immigrants, although the economic opportunities can be limited. The cost of living in Madagascar is relatively low compared to many Western countries, but it can vary depending on location and lifestyle choices. The living conditions vary widely, with urban areas offering more modern amenities while rural regions may have more basic infrastructure. The political situation in Madagascar has experienced periods of instability and political turmoil in the past, with changes in leadership.

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