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Tuesday, September 02 2014 @ 07:34 AM EDT

5,000 Foreigners Processed, 600 Work Permits Handed Out

Immigration IssuesThe Ministry of Labor issued about 600 work permits to the more than 5,000 foreigners who participated in the "melting pot" immigration event, which was extended by 48 hours. According to Samuel Vargas, the Director of Employment for the Ministry of Labor, said Colombians, Nicaraguans and Venezuelans were the once who most requested the document that will allow them to legally work in Panama for two years. The official said any foreigner who wishes to apply for permission can do so in their offices, but they are evaluating whether or not they can issue the work permits under the same parameters established for the special "melting pot" events. The event was scheduled to start on 18 June and run through Friday 22 June, but as of this afternoon it had not yet completed. (Siglo)

Editor's Comment: Over the weekend I spoke to both the Director of Immigration, Javier Carrillo, and the Minister of Labor Alma Cortez. By Friday evening they still had not processed everyone who had showed up, and Carrillo said they would keep working until all of the foreigners had been processed. That's exactly what they did. But then the people from the Banco Nacional closed down their booth and left. Since no one could pay the money for the work permits, the Ministry of Labor people also left, but they told everyone to come back on Monday morning. So the entire event was "extended" through today in order to continue processing everyone who showed up. In fact, KUDOS to both Immigration and the Ministry of Labor personnel who worked 24 hours a day for a week to process all of these people. Some 5,000 foreigners are now legal, and (apparently) more than 600 of them got their work permits. Good for them. And for the record, these people don't go against the 10% limitation on hiring a foreigner in your company, once they've got their immigration permit and a work permit. It's just like hiring a Panamanian in that case. The 10% thing is a different special program, with different requirements and parameters, so don't confuse the two.

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5,000 Foreigners Processed, 600 Work Permits Handed Out | 2 comments | Create New Account
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5,000 Foreigners Processed, 600 Work Permits Handed Out
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, June 25 2012 @ 07:49 PM EDT

My wife and I did the melting pot thing two years ago. even thou we could and did apply for other types of visa's. Were told by Immigration back then that after two years, we could come in and they would give us a full time visa. so I paid the 1500.00 and got the two year visa. now they say o no we never said that, if you want we will allow you to come back in and hand us another 1500.00 for another two year visa.. why did we do it to start with? well we had hired a few lawyers that took the money and made a few steps but never filed a thing on our behalf, then another lawyer did file with them and after a while immigration had no record of any of our paperwork. Of course we have been living here now for 7 years, have two daughters two and five born here, own a home and other property for investments. All in all I would say I have paid in around 12k in lawyer fees, paperwork, fines for overstaying my visa, which are 550.00 each time. have been taken to a police station once because my visa was out and 1200.00 in cash in my pocket turned into 60.00 when I said hey where's my money was told to hit the road. of course when I say these things there is always someone that knows a great lawyer that can do it all for another fee.. I just am beat down jumping through the hoops.. you know a person can only pull together everything they need so many times before you just give up. you know when you do everything by the books as they wish and pay everyone and you still end up with nothing time and time again it just beats you down. so what's next? well I have less then 30 days on this last visa, as well to drive my car in this country after that I really don't know.

panama needs the workers that is true and they are making a lot of money to get people legal, then they can pay more money into the system I agree with all of that, but at what point does panama give a little back? most all these people were working anyway and not paying in one dime, then they do come forward and pay another 1700.00 or so to work legal, for what two years and then they will have to pay that again.. I mean if a man makes say 400.00 a month he has to put back four months without spending a dime on food or anything to be able to pay that every two years. I would say a fair thing to do is first two years just like they are doing, after that there should be a 50.00 fee and hand them a full time visa.

5,000 Foreigners Processed, 600 Work Permits Handed Out
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, June 25 2012 @ 10:14 PM EDT

What kind of jobs are we talking about here? From the article, one would guess that this wholesale processing of labor is oriented for more low-level jobs. Does this mean it shouldn't be too hard for say, An American software engineer (eg me) to get a work permit in Panama?