In Panama Migration policy unchanged

Melting Pot, like the new decrees, spend the money raised to programs of the Presidency of the Republic.

Decrees 167 and 168 issued on June 3, 2016 by the Executive for general regularization and migrants from China, respectively, have generated a debate about its resemblance to the Decree 547 of July 22, 2012, by whereby fairs migratory regularization called melting pot, during the administration of Ricardo Martinelli were created.

Both new decrees issued by the government of Juan Carlos Varela as the melting pot of Martinelli said that 80% of the proceeds to the regularization of migrants will go to the Ministry of the Presidency for Social Help and another 20% to the Fund special for Human Resource Development l National Immigration Service.

During the previous government 14 fairs melting pot that threw grossing $ 60 million and that went mostly to the Social Assistance program of the Presidency, a fund that is managed on a discretionary basis in this entity were made.


For the president of the National Bar Association (CNA), Jose Alberto Alvarez, both the current government and the previous view this program as a source of income, rather than to solve a problem of migration in the country.
«If they said that the government will not charge anything, that would be a humanitarian act, but that is not so. We agree that immigration law is issued and regularized all these citizens. What we disagree is with the state policy of creating these situations and charge these people to fatten state coffers, «he said.

Little difference

With the new migratory regularization process of general foreign citizens must meet certain requirements, including having a year or longer stay in the country.

Melting Pot by a minimum of two years or more were required to stay, then during that period the previous government was relaxed at least one year. temporary residence permits were approved by 2 and 10 years.

With existing measures applicants must pay $ 517 in respect of immigration charges, if nationalities with visa waiver agreement, and 22 thousand dollars in case of nationalities without visa waiver agreement. Citizens of restricted nationalities must pay $ 2 000 102.

For all provisional license will apply a stay that will be valid for two years and after that time may renew their status through Executive Decree No. 169 of May 22, 2015, also approved by the current government, which states that foreigners wishing to renew temporary residence permits may do so for a term of six years.

To this end, they must meet again with the payment of migrant services ranging from $ 517 to $ 2 000 102.


One of the new requirements, which was not included in Melting Pot, is that applicants citizens must submit documents certifying the affiliation to the Social Security Fund (CSS), or peace and except issued by the Directorate General of Revenue ( DGI), should be of age.

The measures taken by Varela include special treatment for Chinese citizens. Executive Decree 168 of June 3, 2016 stipulates that those citizens who entered the country before January 1, 2016 apply to manage their temporary residence and for this service must pay $ 2 000 500.

After the expiry of the two-year temporary permit citizens of Chinese nationality may apply for permanent residence permits, said the new decree.


President of the Republic, Juan Carlos Varela, justified the approval of both decrees noting that it has been clear that the country has to formalize its economy.

«We must ensure that all people who come to Panama, whether foreigners or Panamanians, when work pay social insurance, contribute your tax for development; that is the only way to formalize our economy every day […] and ensures that everyone who is in Panama have an immigration status, «he said.

Making a comparison with the old melting pot, Varela said the recently approved decrees were made in a structured manner and with very clear requirements. «It’s better we thought out and worked for a year with the Security Council,» Varela said, to make a difference with the immigration program of the previous government.

The president urged all who question the measures taken by the Government to join the debate. «This was done thinking about the best for the country. Thus, when we have time to have advanced in this process, we do inspections jobs to ensure that people are paying insurance and taxes, and are regularized in the country, «Varela justified.