Panama is one of the most welcoming countries in the world for foreigners who want to make Panama their home, including an excellent retirement visa program. For investors and people looking for a place to establish roots, it is a big differentiator when evaluating Panama real estate compared to other countries.
In June, the government made another move on visas, providing further evidence that it is committed to working with foreigners living and working in Panama. New decrees approved by the government will make it easier for employees of multinational companies to gain permanent residency.
The government has been adjusting the visa requirements for the past year and the new round essentially smooths and clarifies the process for a permanent residency for executives. According to one decree: “Foreigners with a Provisional Residence Permit of 10 years or 6 years may apply for the Permanent Residence in Panama, after this period of time. Previously, there was no Permanent Residence for this category.”
These may seem like small moves, but they represent another commitment by the government to encourage multinational companies (SEMs in Spanish) to set up operations in Panama. A special SEM law approved in 2007 provides a wealth of tax breaks and incentives to companies interested in setting up operations in Panama. More than 150 companies have established offices in Panama under the SEM law.
At PPR, we see the impact of the law almost every day. Our property management team works closely with many of the huge multinationals doing business in Panama City, including Caterpillar, Johnson & Johnson and Marek. The companies provide a steady stream of quality tenants for our clients and many of those executives go on to become our clients as home buyers.
Around the world, visa policy is often cited as a key factor in why people choose where they buy a property and it’s good to see Panama continuing to lead the way for multinational executives.