Thursday 16 September 2021

The Need to be “Legal” to Work in Costa Rica?

Paying the bills

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You do not need to be Donald Trump or Nobel Laureate, Paul Krugman to understand that an organization, including the nation cannot keep raising the basic and essential utility rates for the populace (That’s you and me) and indeed small to medium size businesses who will not lose their faith in free enterprise.

cineticket-cinpolis-2Take this one step further and government borrowing, absent of a plan to repay billions of dollars of international  loans other than keep on borrowing is the road to hell. i.e. Detroit.

“Big Business” does get a government deal and pays far less than public fees and than you and me for just about everything.

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Of course, they use more and pay less as a value to the country. But this creates unemployment and non-taxable income to the much needed coffers of Costa Rica.

Today I had the misfortune to browse Craigslist, “Jobs”. Short of being a medical doctor, only five of hundreds of listings actually made reference to the need to be “legal” to work in Costa Rica.

For example:

“The perfect candidate would have the following strengths:

  • friendly
  • hardworking
  • outgoing
  • skilled at problem solving, social media,
  • organized
  • efficient
  • work flexible hours
  • honest”

This person might become the ideal CEO of iPhone. However, while those are envious virtues of an employee, the words  “legal residency” in Costa Rica are missing. Ergo, for a deep discount on utilities and little if any social contribution, Pura Vida gets nothing.

We ask, why casinos, sport books and call centers are pretty much all located in tax free zones? It’s a damn good question? Other than rent and to hire people, what deserves to be tax free? Moreover there is no challenge to the question, “why”?

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The obvious is that these companies offer a lot of employment opportunities, low end employment opportunities at that to Tico students and youngsters who speak English, be they here legally or not.

We are not the only country to do the same . However most nations require some sort of work permit and residency. But these companies of Costa Rica, much like the mafia, rule the roost.

USD comes in during payroll times and during taxes and there are no taxes just space and utilities rent.

We have been entrapped with the “robo” of our multilingual young people employment education, the rental of office space, the investment into telecom and having to lose perhaps thousands of employees: both legal and illegal.

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How is it possible that multitude of sports books, call centers and casinos pay no taxes yet Costa Rica needs to keep borrowing money and re-borrowing to pay government costs?

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Juan Sebastian Campos
An expat from the U.S., educator and writer in English and Spanish since 1978 with a doctorate in business administrations (DBA) from the United States and Germany. A feature writer for ABC News, Copley Press and the Tribune Group with emphasis on Central America.

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