Time for another rant!Today an article appeared in the local paper about the proposed new immigration changes being bantered about. Although the president has special powers to implement new regulations regarding immigration and tourism, he is required to pass it to various affected agencies and private enterprises to get their take on new proposals. At least this is a step in the right direction and we can only hope that he listens to those affected and considers their arguments before making any decrees.
In the article below it states that the government wants to implement new immigration controls with armed officers to enforce them and they want to put the burden of this expense on the tourists and immigrants through increase fees. I understand the desire of the government to want to stem the growing crime problems in the city that they attribute to illegal aliens, but to put the cost of it on the backs of legal immigrants and people wanting to spend money visiting
An article appeared last week about the subject with more details on proposed changes to immigration that will greatly increase the costs to those foreigners who want to immigrate or just visit the country. They include an increase from $100 to $250 just to apply for any type of visa. A couple wishing to immigrate will have to fork over $500 just to apply. Even worse, they are proposing an increase from $5 to $50 for the tourist card that is issued to each tourist entering the country. If that passes, a family of four will have to pay $200 just for the privilege of coming here to spend money. When you add that cost to an already high airline fare to come to the country you have just put another nail in the coffin of tourism.
These changes erect further barriers to tourism and investment into
It has become clear to me that the government is doing everything possible to stop the growth of tourism in Panama and it is one of the few things they have been very affective at accomplishing.
Groups queried on immigration
The Ministerio de Gobierno y Justicia has started soliciting input from various groups and organizations around the country concerning the proposed changes to the immigration legislation.
These changes will make the Dirección de Migración y Naturalización more autonomous and create an enforcement division that will be allowed to arrest and deport illegal immigrants. It will also reduce the need for attorneys for most basic immigration cases.
The proposed changes were presented last week to the Instituto Panameño de Turismo, the Ministerio de Trabajo y Desarrollo Laboral and the Colegio Nacional de Abogados for their input.
This coming week, the changes will be submitted to the Asociación Panameña de Ejecutivos de Empresas, the Asociación de Líneas Aéreas de Panama and to Justicia y Paz, a human rights organization that has expressed concern about how the changes will impact illegal immigrants and refugees from other countries.
The executive branch was given the power by the Asamblea Nacional late last year to make changes to the laws regarding immigration, as well as tourism, banking and customs. That approval, however, was granted with the caveat that the executive branch needs to hold consultations with groups impacted by any change that is proposed.
Officials from the Colegio Nacional de Abogados have already expressed concern about the proposed change that would remove the requirement for legal representation from some visa applications and prevent lawyers from contacting some low-level immigration officials.
The other groups are expected to make their views public once they have had time to review the changes.
It is not yet known if the proposed changes deal with the issue of the 30-day tourist visa, which has been roundly criticized within the country’s real estate community as hampering sales to foreigners looking to relocate to
Real estate agents and others had been seeking a return to the former policy which allowed tourists to receive a 90-day visa before having to leave the country.