Awesome days and cool nights!
Visas for foreign tourists are lowered to 90 days
Bajan a 90 días las visas para turistas extranjeros
Panamanians cannot get ESTA they have to have a visa
You are correct and a large percentage of applicants is denied several times before being approved if at all.
yes, up to 10 years and up to 6 months stay on one visit with a 6 month extension if requested and paid for.
I do not think anyone wants to spread panic. It is not aimed to retirees from US or Canada, but it will affect those who do border hops on a regular basis without having a status.
You can return to the US in a few days on a tourist visa if you have never over extended your stay, but this is not about changes or policies to the US but changes that are being implemented in Panama and that will affect those who wait until the 179 day to go to Paso Canoas for a border run.
Panama offers a wide variety of visa options and you are 100% correct in stating that while Colombia and Venezuela caused the problem, it will be felt all across. Also there is a lot of Nicaraguans, Dominicans, Cubans, and Europeans who are working without work permits based on the tourist status. They cannot discriminate and the law goes across the board, unless they make an exemption to some nations but I have seen younger US citizens also working without a permit, and many on tourist visas want to wait the 2 yr period because they have criminal records in their FBI reports, so the most affected will be those who cannot afford their Jubilado residency because they are on a fixed income, who will sadly have to do border runs every 90 days and stay 72 hrs in Costa Rica unless they too make that time longer (in the works), and I hope that does not happen
Food for thought. I think this is mostly political cage rattling to provoke a response from Varela, which it has. There are thousands of Venezuelans’ and Columbians here on tourist visa that are working illegally and taking jobs from Panamanians because of problems in their respective countries. It is a problem, but frankly I think they are approaching it in the wrong way and overlooking the real problem. There is a huge need for skilled workers in Panama and there are only a couple of small trade/technical schools in Panama. The Columbia's and Venezulans’ are better trained in these skills which is why they are taking these jobs. Panama needs to take a proactive course in providing these skills for their citizens. At the university level they are training Doctors, Lawyers, Engineers and neglecting the technical skills which is essential in building a stable middle class. They are aware of the problem but so far I have not seen much activity in alleviating it. I read an article about 1 year ago that stated that Panama will require 500,000 skilled workers over the next 3 years. The only thing I am aware of is one more technical school in the works in PC. What they need to do, to start, is to build one for each province. In other words, it is typical political posturing to create unrest while doing little to alleviate the problem.
Too true unfortunately it is a complex problem from my limited understanding there are many skilled workers (not necessarily trained but skilled) who face lay offs to avoid the undue pressure put on employers paying 6 percent of wages per year for permanent employees upon dismissal or retirement (forgive if I am wrong I am going on second hand info) but even with proper training if the employers are put in this situation meaningful employment would still be hard to find. Having said that I have seen first hand the education that people are leaving school with at least in the rural areas and technical training is badly needed and could only improve the quality of life for all concerned.
Hopefully Panama will come to realize where the real problems lie. They are trying to figure it out. They seem to think that getting rid of tourists and border hoppers are going to solve their employment issues. Sadly, I think that they are going to cause more problems with the employment and economy by going this route.
You are so right Sheila. An exodus can cause great harm to employment and the economy. There are many people here that are not residents that contribute greatly to the economy. Many share a maid, a gardener, have a mechanic, buy goods and services and shop and eat at places that employ even more. Those Panamanians and Expats that rent homes will have less income to spend. I could go on.
This will have a great impact on employment for many Panamanians, and not just in Boquete.
I agree with others that think this thing may be rescinded. I have seen this before here. In addition to being a bad idea that you and Shiela alluded to there are other ramifications. There is well over 100,000 Panamanians staying in the US with much more liberal stay times. If the US decides to reciprocate like Brazil did to the US, the Panama expats in the US will not fare well.
6 months visa stays are very common in the Western Hemisphere, and I can name several Latin American countries that are competing attractively with Panama with attorney free residence, less daunting monetary requirements and for those from the US a very strong exchange rate to local currencies, Colombia and Mexico in particular.
Like other property owners here in Panama I think this cannot be good. I think Panama has really shot themselves in the foot (again).
The "liquidation" is 1.92% per year of employment of the monthly salary.
Liquidate your employees every six months and start a new contract it will save many headaches.
Panama needs trade schools not universities offering degrees in eco tourism.
Mechanics, electricians, welders are the trades needed here.
Just my opinion.
Thanks for the clarification el Gato, still I can understand the frustration from a workers stand point not really having the security of an employer willing to stand by him/her. I still haven't really been able to find the info about the visa change other than this site and the link in the first post? Has anyone else heard back from their embassy or consulate, I contacted mine but got no answer? I feel it will definitely hurt the economy, I also think there will be an increase of people doing illegal crossings as there are still ways to get around actually staying in costa rica and buying and returning tickets with some risk of course.
My timing is impeccable as usual I was hoping to stay as a tourist until I could afford to get my pensionado now I am unsure what I will do, I have been admittedly complacent but I thought I finally found a place after 9 months that I could be comfortable enough to live long term starting in march but now I don't know if I can swing the cost of that many return flights (being Canadian I am already paying 35 cents on the dollar) certainly it would exclude being able to save money for a pensionado if I do stay.