Q24N – Panama created a temporary visa for remote foreign workers that seeks to attract tourists with “extended stay” and digital nomads, as part of the strategy to reactivate the economy, various media report.
The Visa de Corta Estancia como Trabajador Remoto (teletrabajo) – Short Stay Visa as a Remote Worker (telecommuting), with an approximate cost of $550, “would invigorate the economy by stimulating tourism, restaurants, shopping and consumption and services in general, resulting in a greater reactivation of jobs for the Panamanians,” the Panamanian government said in a statement.
The idea of this new visa, which will be valid for up to 18 months, is to attract foreigners who can carry out their work remotely from Panama for companies not established in Panama, where by law the exercise of most professions and trades is reserved for nationals.
To apply, tourists must meet some requirements, among them, prove income from a foreign source of more than US$3,000 per month or US$4,000 per month per family.
The interested party must also have health insurance, present a letter from the foreign company for which they work or a contract with the company to which he or she provides professional services abroad, and an affidavit of non-acceptance of a job offer in Panamanian territory, among others.
The visa application can be processed online for an initial period of nine months that can be extended for a further nine months.
Before the pandemic, the tourism sector represented more than 4.5% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) directly and 14% indirectly, and generated more than 100,000 jobs in total in the national economy, according to figures of the central government.
As a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, the unemployment rate in Panama climbed from 7.1% registered in August 2019 to 18.5% as of last September, while the informal economy rose to close to 45% to more than 52%, according to official data.