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

http://www.prensa.com/in_english/Diputados-Castillo-Rodriguez-antep...

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I think this is not an imminent reform so people should not panic. Anyhow being on a tourist visa for years on end is not right, some may be well intended but many may not

My point exactly. I Panama there is no such thing as a misdemeanor and no record of the arrest. Only serious crimes incur records, so Panama views all arrest records as a serious crime. They do not understand how to read and interpret an FBI background report......yet in February 2014 US Homeland Security gave them access to this information. I had this discussion with 2 attorneys from the Security Ministry 3 days after this went into affect and explained how scary this sounded. They have had an agreement with the US DOJ for many years concerning convicted felons and outstanding felony warrants. I read an article recently that stated that there are over 150,000 law suits filed in the US pertaining to job related inaccuracy of FBI back ground checks. According to NCIC database there are arrest records on 35% of the US population. With 50% of these being inaccurate we are talking about 10 times the population of Panama. I think there might be a problem.......I think most people sluff this off and trust their government until it happens to them.

There's a good op-ed piece by Eric Jackson of the Panama News on the proposal and Diputada Rodriguez' speech to the National Assembly.

 http://www.thepanamanews.com/2017/01/prd-legislators-go-after-touri...

It is very opinionated against Zulay. I agree with her on many things. Panama needs to control immigration and force legalization otherwise it will be the next USA with uncontrolled number of illegals with more benefits than the nationals

The article seems to be talking about her issues with people on tourist visas. That is very different than what is happening in the USA. There,people are pouring across the Mexican border without even obtaining visas. Most of them are working illegally and then sending money back to Mexico. I doubt that there are very many Americans working here illegally and then sending money back to the USA.

One thing that stuck out for me in this article is that it claims the current visa is only for 90 days not 180 which is what it actually is, makes me take the whole article with a grain of salt when such a basic fact is incorrect.

The second sentence mentions tourists who are here for 6 months and then leave for a few days and then return to get a new visa. Also not all countries get 180 days, some get 90 days.

It is 180 for some nations and 90 for others

The law is 90 days.  A presidential decree was passed during Martinelli's administration allowing people from selected countries to stay 180 days which can easily be rescinded at anytime.

Good to know I didn't know they had different length visa for other countries, there is some merit to tighter control on immigration, locals being priced out of their own country first and foremost, I have found the same thing in globally to some degree these fantastic job creation ideas and growth projections look great in paper until you live with them and realise the money and jobs are brought to your area and the only benefit is trickle down and not actually for the current local population which is one of the reasons I live here, growth made it too expensive to live in North America, the "average salary" got to be a false indicator because of too many higher paying salaries moving into the area, the living wage is now 2x of the minimum wage, so I guess to put it crudely tag your it Panama.  The pensionado may minimize the illegal workers issue but I think the discounts are not of benefit to the country, I don't believe the businesses are compensated for them? and may be a reason for the tongue in cheek gringo tax and personally feel if Panama is nice enough to give such a visa the least you can do is pay prices like anyone else...maybe I am just bitter I qualify but can't currently afford the fees associated lol.

It's 90 days if you drive on YOUR country's drivers license and 180 days if you don't drive. A decree is just as good as LAW until it is changed so the play on words don't work. Over staying is over staying and border hopping is border hopping. And, there are many americans in business and working here illegally. If you see someone asking for donations for their work and they don't have an SA or what ever legal papers they need to own a business or work, that is technically illegal and country of origin doesn't matter. And, I don't believe the american visitors or residents here are ruining the immigration laws (although some are working illegal). It's those other poor country's peoples overstaying visas and trying to feed themselves and along with that comes crime and theft. So, if Panama changes the rules for the biggest offender does it let the coutnry with fewer offenders walk? If the assembly lets a few walk there will be trouble in Panama City. I don't have a dog in this hunt. I have residency. This probably won't pass in the assembly but Panama will need to monitor Venezuela and Colombia. Most of the Cubano problem was solved when Ecuador started enforcing a visa rule with Cuba. My take is this----make the working and tourist visa good for 6 months and (driving on foreign license or not) and sort out the weeds with proof of working income and contributions to the health care system here within 3 months. If you can't provide employer certification and deposits into the Health Care System and Social Seguro here in three months then you are deported. Labor is already cheap here and business owners here should be held responsible also. Cheap labor is one thing but hiring a foriegn national at a cheaper rate is criminal also. Jubilado is a different deal. Just some thoughts. The President and the Assembly will work something out. There will be some changes I'm sure. We just don't know what will be passed.

Hil,

"A decree is just as good as LAW until it is changed so the play on words don't work."

With all due respect, there's a big difference.  A good example is how a law is passed in the United States, it's got to be approved by both congress and the president whereas a presidential executive order only needs approval by the president.  A president can reverse an executive order without the approval of congress unlike with a law.

As for the 180 versus 90 days for driving privileges, driving privileges are not tied to immigration laws or decrees which is why the discrepancy exits.  They'd have to pass a separate law or decree or whatever they do for motor vehicle regulations in order to extend the driving privilege from 90 to 180 days.  As you know, this has been a big issue with people on tourist visas for years.

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