Follow up - New Legislature to modifiy Immigration Laws was presented by deputies Castillo & Rodriguez

This new legislature is aimed to modify the tourist visas for certain nations, however it may affect border hoppers.

If approved, this law will limit tourist visas to 30 days with a renewal option of 60 days, however, in her effort, Zulay Rodriguez aims to stop the re-entering of foreigners within a few days, or several times within a year.

This is NOT a law aimed to hurt retirees or expats who wish to adhere to the Pensionado Visas, but rather an effort to control those who overstay their visas or wait until the last day of their stay to leave and return a few days later. Also it is aimed at stopping foreigners without work permits to take jobs from nationals.

This law, if approved, will also set alerts immediately so those whose visas expire are sought out and deported immediately. There has been an increased amount of crimes committed by Venezuelans and Colombians and they are the main reason why these two deputies are looking forward to an immigration reform which is backed by a large majority of the population

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When is this set to be approved or turned down?

It will be a while before it is approved if at all, but some changes will come for sure, perhaps not so strict and may only apply to certain nations.

This proposal, imo, is being put forth by a couple of opposition Deputies who seek to gain attention by appealing to anti-immigration sentiment which is directed towards Venezuelans and Colombians who are perceived as having overstayed their welcome and stealing jobs from Panamanians.

It is not likely to become law, imo, it's not legislation which was presented by the government.

Presented or not by the party of the President, Zulay is a deputy with a lot of weight and all three parties know that, besides PRD and Panamenismo have joined forces to outnumber CD, there are even some CD members that have joined in the forces with PRD and Panamenismo.
Zulay is even viewed as a possible presidential pick, so do not under estimate this law.
It is focused on Colombians and Venezuelans but there is definetly change coming and changes are pretty much generalized or the school of lawyers chimes in. Don't forget the school of lawyers has a loud voice and weight in politics and anything forcing legalization helps lawyers get clients.

Panamanians are tired of the out of control immigration system and the problems it has brought as many foreigners do overstay their welcome and often try to interfere with their way of living, i.e. Huge dislike of Boquete gringos when a group of expats protested for the loud music of the fair and even pretended to buy the rights of the fair, also many expats with criminal records that do border hopping for two years so they can hide their past and get their residency with a Panamanian criminal record, then when feeling safe go back to their criminal ways.

It is not all that use it for the wrong purposes Marie, you always take everything personal, but with all due respect, FBI reports do not take 2 yrs. Even though people may not be criminals, some with a record (DUI, etc.) can get denied residencies as well in Panama and rather border hop to avoid having to get their FBI reports, again, this is not aimed at you, but it's a general opinion on what's causing the Panamanians to want to tighten their immigration policies and shorten the stays for certain nations. Remember the 2 yr rule also falls for other nationalities, not only US and Canada


   The problem with the use of FBI reports (background checks) for immigration purposes is two fold. 

1. While Panama is asking for FBI background checks they have no one trained to read or interpret these reports which are coded. Each state in the USA sends a representative from their respected justice department to train in reading and interpreting these reports. They in turn write a manual for law enforcement for their state.

2. FBI background checks are very inaccurate. This is an excerpt  from the 2015 US Uniform Law Commission:


What are the errors?
Here are a few examples.
Lack of Disposition Information. Arrests are supposed to be recorded and forwarded by a
state central repository to the FBI for inclusion in its Interstate Identification Index (III or “Triple-I”)
. It is an index of federal and state offenders, records of persons arrested for felonies or
misdemeanors under either federal or state law.
At the time of the U.S. Attorney General’s
Report in 2005 only 50% of III arrest records had a final disposition. This means that a state’s central repository either did not submit disposition information or that it did not submit biometric information sufficient to associate a disposition with an arrest record.
Records may have improved since the 2005 report but disposition information from both the courts and prosecutors is still frequently missing. According to the February 2015report to Congressional Requesters the GAO stated that in 2012 10 states reported that 50% or less of their arrest records had final dispositions. This results from prosecutors and courts failing to report decisions to not charge, dismissals, acquittals or other dispositions
to central repositories.
Some rap sheets contain erroneous information. Inaccurate data can arise from simple data entry errors, from sloppy data collection at the source, or from the misunderstanding or misinterpretation of information, either at its origin or where it is used.
The Attorney General’s Report on Criminal History Background Checks, DOJ, June 2006 p.15
Improving Access to and Integrity of Criminal History Records by Peter M Brien, Bureau of Justice statistics, July
Data can also be erroneous or misleading because it is incomplete. Sometimes the basic facts that are stored in the database may be accurate, but some critical supporting material is left out, either because it was neglected or unknown or because it did not fit into the database design.
Another source of error is fraud. "Identity theft," in which malefactors collect enough personal information about victims to be able to masquerade as them***
Some RAP sheets contain information that does not pertain to the
person. Correcting an error is easier said than done.
"There is a myth that if you are arrested and cleared that it has no impact," says Paul Butler, professor of law at Georgetown Law. "It's not like the arrest never happened."
The burden to seek correction of a criminal record is on theindividual, not the government. It is costly and time consuming. No one person or office is responsible for making corrections.
In October 2012 Jose Gabriel Hernandez was arrested at his home for sexually assaulting two teenage girls. It was a case of mistaken identity and the prosecutor dropped the charges. Hernandez assumed that the authorities would correct the record. But he learned
it was necessary to hire a lawyer and seek expungement. He did not have the money to do so. He and his wife were paying the non-refundable $22,500 paid to a bail bondsman to secure a $150,000 bond enabling him to be released from jail.
Precious Daniels
of Detroit was rejected for a temporary job with the Census Bureau in 2010
and told that a criminal background check turned up a red flag. She and others had been
arrested at a protest and released on posting $50.00 bail. She was never charged
The Census Bureau gave her 30 days to obtain the records to prove that her case was resolved without conviction. She went to the court and was told that no record of her arrest
existed. She did not get the job.
In 2013 Barbara Ann Finn, a 74 year old great grandmother and a resident of the area since 1985, applied for a part-time job as a cafeteria worker in a Maryland school system.
The school system notified her that the FBI check matched her prints to a 1963 arrest of someone with a name she did not recognize. She thought the incident may have
occurred when she and another girl were arrested in Philadelphia. She said the police took both of them in custody and that she
(________) Missing the source reference
The WSJ, August 18, 2014,
As Arrest Records Rise,
The WSJ, August 18, 2014,
As Arrest Records Rise,
The WSJ, August 18, 2014,
As Arrest Records Rise,
was released without any action.The record of her arrest does not exist.
She can neither show that no charges were brought nor seek expungement of a record that does not exist.
I get what you are saying but it is a requirement for most countries, it is a problem for the US to fix not for Panama tonfix and they are right by requesting it

LOL, It took the US 12 years to admit there is a problem and will take decades to fix, if ever. How are they going to fix records that don't exist? I think it is important for Panama to protect itself so they should apply rules as they do for their own citizens as to the seriousness of the record. Surly Panama would not want it's citizens rejected from visa for a seat belt infraction or disturbing the peace. 


Keep in mind that Panamanian immigration is now checking FBI, RCMP, and Interpol criminal databases on applications submitted with two year Panamanian police reports and denying visa applicants from the US, Canada, and Europe respectively.  I've met a couple of people who have been denied. 

If the Panamanian Immigration denied their visa after they check their criminal record have to be a reason for that.I don't see the problem with that. When I did immigrate to Canada, I have to pay thousand of dollars for the process/ criminal record of every country that I lived before and medical report just to mention some. Why have to be easy in Panama?

I was close to purchasing a house but will put it on hold until I see where this goes. I have cedula but this could be the start of something ugly. 

Steve,I think misdemeanors are a no go for pensionado applics. I found out that some US states not fastening your seatbelt is a misdemeanor, so ...

Mexico and Colombia (if over 65) dont require police reports for residency. No attorneys needed and no need to have a guaranteed income like SS. One person on this site is already is holding off buying a house here, and I am concerned my property values will take a hit. Throwing more bureaucracy at a problem seems to Panama's solution, damn the unintended consequences. Residential tourism will take a major hit.


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