Panama Changes its Immigration Policy

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."

Tuesday, September 16, 2014 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'."

Members of the Democratic Revolutionary Party (PRD) have pointed to mismanagement of the program which seeks to regulate the status of foreigners in Panama, and announced the presentation of a bill to regulate the Melting Pot program.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Isabel Saint Malo, believes "having taken an audit, the regularization activity does not represent benefits for the country. 'This is the last melting pot because we are not interested in maintaining undocumented people.'"

More on this topic

Migratory Regularization in Panama

June 2016

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 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."

Panama Continues to Regularizing Foreign Workers

October 2013

Another 11,000 foreigners from 44 different countries have regularized their immigration status and obtained work and residency permits.

" ... Some 54 foreign nationalities have regularized their status, in the seventeen days that the process takes, without any hitches, although the number of regularized people has increased compared to the previous processes," said Javier Carrillo , director general of the National Immigration Service (SNM by its initials in Spanish) .

Timeframe for Permanent Residence for Professionals Reduced

March 2013

The government of Panama has reduced from seven to two years the timespan for granting Permanent Resident immigration status to professionals in the country.

As explained by the Director of Immigration, Javier Carrillo, the measure seeks to reduce the timeframe and make the process easier.

Panama: Facilities for Foreign Labor Highlighted

October 2012

Among the impetus for foreign investment is the newly established category of permanent residence for foreigners from friendly nations.

During the second meeting of Spanish companies in Panama, the presence of a delegation of government and Spanish businessmen, led by Prince Felipe of Borbón, allowed the Labor Minister Alma Cortés to highlight the facilities granted by the Canal country for the establishment of foreign companies in its territory, especially in relation to having its own staff to count on.

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