By Elida Moreno
Panama announced the creation of a temporary visa for remote foreign workers, whose objective is to attract "extended stay" tourists and digital nomads with the goal of boosting the economy impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The program called Short Stay Visa as a Remote Worker (telecommuting), would help economic reactivation "by stimulating tourism, the restaurants, purchases and consumption and services in general, resulting in a greater reactivation of jobs for Panamanians ", said the Presidency in a statement.
Tourism is one of the sectors most affected by the pandemic, including hotels, many of which still remain closed, That is why the importance of reactivating the sector that, prior to the health crisis, directly represented more than 4.5% of the Gross Domestic Product (Schedule) from the country, generating above 100 thousand jobs, according to official sources.
Hence, the new temporary visa whose approximate cost is 550 Dollars will allow a stay of up to a year and a half to tourists who work or provide their services to companies that operate abroad so that they can do so from Panama through the teleworking mechanism.
They can also apply independent workers who provide services abroad, for which the government will enable an online platform to expeditiously process the applications of all those interested in the program "which allows a stay of up to 18 months, with an initial period of 9 months extendable for 9 months more ", added the government.
Tourists interested in the program must meet some requirements, including proving income from a foreign source higher than the 3 thousand dollars a month or 4 thousand dollars per family, have health insurance, a letter from the foreign company for which you work, and an affidavit that you will not accept a job offer in Panamanian territory.
Panama is one of the most affected economies in the region due to the strict restrictions it imposed to stop the coronavirus outbreak.
In 2020 Gross Domestic Product, (Schedule) contracted a 17.9% compared to the previous year, although the forecasts for 2021 are more flattering as the pandemic recedes and advances with immunization against COVID-19, the country that would grow to double digits, according to international organizations.