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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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.

My only response to you is this is NOT THE USA.

Your point being?

You gave examples of how laws and presidential executive orders are passed in the USA. They are meaning that this is not the USA, so don't expect the same procedures.

Sheila,

I was simply providing an analogy to assist Hil with understanding the fundamental difference between a law and a presidential decree in Panama.

Below are two other examples.  There are many more I assure you.

a Gaceta official or Decreto de Ley, is a law decree or modification to an existing law signed by the President. It becomes valid, and effective as of the date it's signed, new law with no other objections by members of the legislature.

As Olga stated in the initial post, "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." These are two distinct issues. What is being lost in this discussion is the difference between visas and work permits. Persons with long-term residency, such as pensionados and E Cedula holders, do not have to leave the country every 90 (or 180 days if they drive), but they cannot WORK in Panama without a work permit. It's not clear to me how further limitation of the time one can remain in the country on a tourist permit would address the illegal worker problem. Strict enforcement of the work permit requirement--on both tourists and residents--would seem to me to be the better answer.

Correct me if I am wrong but it is my understanding that you cannot obtain a work permit if you are on a pensionado visa.

that is my understanding Steve.... if you only have a pensionado visa you cannot work here....but someone did state that if you do get your e cedula that you can work but not sure about that... I do see and know of many people here with just tourist visas working...(no work visas) and it's just not right. If we come to this country we should abide by their laws. Some come and think they can do whatever they want and/or pay off when they get caught....

Originally the pensionado visa did not allow a person obtain a work permit nor obtain an E-Cedula for a path towards citizenship (N-Cedual and Passport). 

When the Friendly Nations visa was introduced which allowed a person to both obtain a work permit and an E-Cedula for a path towards citizenship, they reversed the restriction for pensionados for the E-Cedula thus allowing a path towards citizenship.

Susan, I was told at the Ministry of Labor that you cannot apply for a work permit if you applied for residency on a pensionado visa. The E cedula simply gives you a permanent identification number and allows you to apply for citizenship after living here for a designated period of time which varies depending on which country you are from. If you are from the US it is 5 years, most Latin American countries only require 3 years. If you are a pensionado and successfully secure citizenship then you have the right to work.

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