I have heard through my friends' lawyer that there is talk about closing some of the immigration loopholes. For example, if a person on a tourist visa goes to Costa Rica in their fifth month or earlier, he or she can return to Panama in three days. If a person goes to Costa Rica in their 6 month stay in Panama, he or she has to stay out of the country for 30 days. This differential would no longer exist. All will have to stay out of Panama for 30 days.
It sounds like Panama wants to kill the goose who lays the golden eggs. Closing the loopholes is like cutting off the flow of money from abroad into Panama. Very smart. Panama you know isn't the only game in town. There are other countries who would like your business. If I had to leave the country for thirty days I wouldn't go to Costa Rica. I would go to Medellin.
Here you go... btw she tried to get elected by her party to run for President... the comment of deporting foreigners for derogatory remarks to Panamanians... sounds like a Trumper! https://www.newsroompanama.com/news/anti-foreigner-proposal-signed-by-25743-1?fbclid=IwAR2cM9w7m_emQVwuwBzFci756fME0CiQA8eNcKUdiazNJ3iPNNhR_G7ZeZ8
Well Panama depends a lot on foreign investment so I hope common sense prevails. Panama City along with Tocumen airport has and is becoming an international hub. You can't be an international hub and at the same time be paranoid about foreigners.
There are different regulations for length of stay for tourists depending on your nationality. Up to everybody to do their own due diligence, or consult an immigration lawyer. If you aren’t a tourist, it doesn’t matter how long you’ve lived in Panama or if you own property - what counts is a permanent residency visa of some kind.
There have been rumblings about changing/tightening immigration laws in Panama for at least 3 years. Application of current laws/regulations can be loosey-goosey. Until last year, Panama’s economic growth rate was one of the highest in the world (over 6%), and unemployment was very low. Today, economic growth is projected to be 3.1% for 2019, and unemployment has climbed to 6%. So xenophobia rears its ugly head, and a society that has been open and welcoming is changing, due to the impression that foreigners are “stealing” jobs from Panamanians, and the feeling that Panamanian society cannot absorb any more foreigners. This attitude has been condemned by various organizations, such as the Chamber of Commerce, who understand that foreign investment and trained foreign workers are important in keeping Panama’s economy strong. What final legislation will look like is not yet clear. The National Assembly member mentioned (from the President’s political party) has only made a proposal so far. It must be debated, amended, then voted into law. Could take a while...or may be quick.
In the meantime, for foreigners already living in Panama, it would be a good idea to verify that your residency documents and work permits are in order and up-to-date. If you employ undocumented foreigners, get an understanding of what the consequences could be for them and for you. For those contemplating moving to Panama, it is important to keep informed about forthcoming changes to immigration laws and their impact on the types of visas available.
I don't know if Red Hat's article can be read without a subscription. But in reading the attachment, it seems that the legal proposal is poorly written and even violates the Panama constitution. It accuses Zulay of again stoking Nationalist fires in her bill. It seeks to crack down on foreigners who are in arrears and not fully legal. But the author sees a darker motivation behind her bill. Those who have been following news in Panama are familiar with her actions.
Volcan, you know that I love Colombia. But I recently read on the tax laws, and it sure looks to me like anyone spending more than 180 days in the country is required to pay taxes on income and wealth. If someone knows otherwise for certainty, I would like to hear about it. But the law seems clear cut to me.
I saw somewhere that now you are allowed to have up to $120 thousand a year in pension income without paying taxes in Colombia. For someone who doesn't have residency in Panama you could split your time between Panama and Colombia. I was thinking that I could spend 6 months in Colombia on my Panamanian passport and another 6 months using my American passport. Maybe that wouldn't exactly be legal but they might not know the difference.
For jonoyakker and Volcan357, I just got back from Colombia where my lawyer there has created my 3 year residency Visa and the info is as follows: If you are a non-resident of Colombia, i.e. you spend less than six months a year in the country, you will only have to pay tax on the money that you have earned in Colombia. Tax on residents who have stayed for six months or more pay taxes on all income earned. This also includes commissions, bonuses, holiday pay, and other work related benefits. World wide income.
One problem with taxes in Colombia is that their system is overly complicated. As an expat who wants to make their life more complicated? Since flights to Medellin are so cheap the option of spending 180 days or less in Colombia and spending the rest of your time in Panama seems to be the best option. That is if you like Colombia which I do.
Most of the changes are intended to deal with the tide of illegal Venezuelans flooding in, I have heard unofficially the number is close to 400,000. The locals are concerned of course and look at them as taking jobs from Panamanians. I used to work for a Panamanian IT company based out of the city that hired many illegal Venezuelans generally because they had a higher level of education and far better work ethic than the local Panamanian applicants. That part the locals don't want to acknowledge though...
"In October, overwhelmed Panama imposed new visa requirements on Venezuelans, making it far more difficult for economic migrants and asylum seekers to enter the country. In January, 308 Venezuelans were expelled or agreed to return to their countries when faced with deportation. From 2010 to 2016, Panama deported only 196 Venezuelans in total, according to government statistics.
“We’ve been coming here en masse, like people fleeing from a war zone,” said Marcos Ardon, 47, a former business owner in Venezuela now working in a Panama City coffee shop. “You’re on the bus and you hear people speaking with a Venezuelan accent everywhere now. You feel like [Panamanian] people don’t like it, that we’re too many here.” "
Most countries have this provision - namely - if you live in the country for more than 180 days - you are subject to income tax and in most cases - global income. Although in the past, many countries did not enforce this - now several have begun - such as Thailand, cracking down on foreginers living in the country on tourist visa's, requiring $30K to remain in a bank account, etc. The best way to insulate yourself is to leave before the 180 days and stay out of the country for 30 days - OR - get a residence visa.. (which you should if you want to saty) Panama does have some excellent visa programs.
Perhaps closing the loopholes was a backlash for the many foreigners who put their properties up for sale several years ago. Many have sold, and left Panama, many are still hoping to sell. Not only does the Panamanian worker face a lower level of education, and not a great work ethic, but stealing is an issue. When I first moved here, I asked a Panamanian neighbour for help in locating a housekeeper. After a long silence, she told me that she now does her own housework as most of the housekeepers steal, In fact just about every expat I know says their domestic workers steal, The Jehovas Witness congregation appears to have the only honest workers in the country. Panamanians have told me that they real;ly do not want foreigners and that is why the police are reluctant to help when we are robbed. . Yes, Panama needs money from outside, but if they crack down, people will go elsewhere to make their investments. There are some beautiful countries in the area
Tuckerbeau, in my experience, you are making many assumptions and wild statements in your post. Anyone who wants to know the real purpose of the PROPOSED bill, should research its sponsor, Zulay Rodriguez.
So, if your friend came to Pty to live among the lazy and ignorant... what does that make her? A very bright and hard working woman? Can she explain if her country is made out of hard working and bright, intellectual individuals, why doesn’t she stay There and maybe some of that brightness and intellectualism may rub off on her? Nubrain, don’t you believe you need more gray matter to figure out why you should not generalize the way you and your girlfriend do? Because of people like that we need to regulate and have better controls in the immigration process. A woman from Venezuela slapped a Panamanian cashier because she had a hard time getting the woman’s card approved. A. Venezuelan man pushed around and insulted a Panamanian man because he could not change the menu the way it was written at a fast food restaurant. And like that we could mention many other cases. Just remember that a Venezuelan woman was deported because of her racial comments and statements to and about Panamanians, that they were all lazy, black, ugly, monkeys who only eat bananas, should go back to Africa where they should have never emigrated, etc. Hope you have enough intellect to figure out what that means.
For those who suggest that I generalise about the Panamanians, approximately 9-10 years ago, when there were many expats coming here to retire, there were also complaints about so much theft in Coronado. The police set up a road block at the Coronado gate on a Saturday at around noon when workers would be leaving. We had a contractor at our home who received a phone call to come and get his workers as their truck had stolen items. In fact, we went with him, and were shocked to see a huge number of individuals, and vehicles stopped at the gate. EVERY SINGLE PERSON had stolen items , as did EVERY SINGLE VEHICLE. The police had no idea how to handle this and ended up letting them all go, as they certainly were not going to arrest so many Panamanians. I have no idea what happened to the stolen goods. Our contractor , a Canadian,was very upset and told his crew to immediately return the bags of cement to the work site. Regarding the work force in Panama, We were fortunate to be at a dinner of prominent Panamanians who are neighbours, they were discussing the FRIENDLY VISA and why it was necessary.. At that time many multinational companies intended to move their facilities here. They held interviews for employees. The percentage who failed as applicants to secure work was astronomical and the companies went to Martinelli and said they would go elsewhere if he did not change the laws, and allow foreign workers to come in. Another instance, the mines near Penonome were purchased several years ago by a foreign company. The day the company took over, all Panamanians were fired and were to be replaced by foreign contract workers. You might want to personally check out the reason for that change In the last 4 years, every home on our road has been robbed, some were armed robberies, and 2 expats were beaten badly. Fortunately , my partner and I were not at home, but knew immediately who had robbed us, a trusted Panamanian worker. Police stated that they did not have a large enough work force to take care of crime in the area. That comment came from a high ranking officer. We have good Panamanian friends, and they will agree with all I have said as they have been robbed and cheated themselves, on a consistent basis, Panamanians do not even bother calling the police, they will tell you it is a waste of time. . So ............ In view of the above info, I do not feel that my generalisation is out of line. Yes there are a few honest and good Panamanians, but, I have stated facts that back up my comments about the majority. Many expats,if they have been here for a while, are aware of the problems , but there are some who own businesses and hate when anyone says disparaging things about the locals. I understand their position. Last but not least,when a Real Estate person tells you something, they generally have an adgenda, especially now with a really bad market for the past 5 years. In our home country, we were NEVER robbed and never even had friends who were robbed. We have spent lengthy times in foreign countries, never robbed. We are among the thousands trying to sell and to leave, but we lead a productive life, and have good friends, so are somewhat at peace. Years ago when we came here,we all thought it was paradise, such a beautiful country, it took a lot of negativity to change our thoughts.
Here is my opinion and not based on facts. Panama wants to close the loopholes of people living here and working here and having illegal businesses. They want you to get your permanent resident status and are willing to help you get it. They have made it easy enough but there are still many people who do not or can not spend the money to get it done. Then there are others that cannot get a clean police or FBI report and Panama does not want the folks that are trying to get into the USA. So the message here is if you have a pension and a clean record you will get in!
"Her problem with changing the immigration laws, beyond the damage that they would do to the Panamanian economy, is that her colleagues by and large can’t stand her and hesitate to do anything that would boost her politician fortunes. Although she was recently elected to head the women’s branch of the Democratic Revolutionary Party, many of her fellow PRD deputies also disdain her. For example, Rodríguez has charged another PRD legislator, Javier “Patacón” Ortega, with criminal defamation for describing her as “a person with mental problems, a crazy schizophrenic.” Across the aisle, Panameñista deputy Popi Varela — the president’s brother — said that “what comes from her mouth is trash.” Trash talk does, however, have a substantial following."
She is also under investigation for defrauding more than $100k from Pandeportes https://theworldnews.net/pa-news/11-deputies-named-in-sports-scam-probe
An article in Spanish with details https://impresa.prensa.com/panorama/ONG-Zulay-Rodriguez-recibe-fondos_0_5292970719.html
Now she is filing a complaint against the controller general. Guess who is investigating her for dodgy finances...
I should have qualified my statement a bit that panamanians are lazy and ignorant - I was referring to the poorer less educated panamanians ; at least according to my colombiana friend who as been a resident for 8 years.
Nubrain, I don't mean to pick on you because it is easy to generalize and it is a common one that Panamanians are lazy, ignorant, thieves, whatever...But you should come to my business and meet my employees-I think that you will be inspired. Not to blow my own horn because in truth, I know that at least some of that depends on how I relate to them.
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