For General Electric (GE), the main motivation for moving its regional corporate headquarters from Costa Rica to Panama was not fiscal incentives, but flexibility in migration regulations.
For a global company, it is indispensable to be able to temporary employ foreign staff, and for Ricaurte Vásquez, GE president & CEO for Central America and the Caribbean, this is more important than tax benefits.
In an interview for newspaper La Estrella, GE's regional CEO points out additional advantages Panama offers: "Connectivity, and not only in communications, but also the posibility of maxing connections to travel to all of Latin America. We have an important gas operation in Trinidad & Tobago, for example, you can travel back and forth to this country. We also have operations in Aruba and the Caribbean islands. We report to Sao Paulo, and there are two daily flights to this city".
An announcement has been made that the next round of issuance of residence permits to foreigners will be the last, in a change to the policy "aimed at strengthening borders to preventing the influx of illegal immigrants."
Panamaamerica.com reports that "On 12 October, on the same day as 'Día de la Hispanidad' Panama will hold for the last time the fair for mass regularization of foreigners, known as the 'Melting Pot'."
A new edict orders procedures which are very similar to the "melting pot" held under previous administrations, in order to regularize the status of undocumented immigrants.
An article on Prensa.com reports that "...Decrees 167 and 168 issued on June 3, 2016 by the Executive for general regularization and also for migrants from China, respectively, have generated a debate about its resemblance to Decree 547 of July 22, 2012, whereby migratory regularization fairs known as the Melting Pot were created during the administration of Ricardo Martinelli."
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