Panama: First-World Convenience at Third-World Prices-Making Money in Panama.

Panama: First-World Convenience at Third-World Prices

Making Money in Panama

Getting a work visa

Getting a work visa in Panama requires, among other things, a criminalbackground check from your local police office (wherever you live now), a “good health” certificate, which you can get here fairly quickly and easily, and a job offerwith contract. Generally, you would contact local companies, get a job offer, and pay a local attorney to help you with the visa (unless the company does all the paperwork).

Outside of special investment zones, Panamanian companies are generally allowed to hire foreigners up to 10% of their work force. If you have a special skill set, it might be even easier for you to work here legally as the government or corporations often make special allowances. You can contact local headhunting agencies and networking agencies to start.

Alternatively, you may want to consider freelancing, consulting, or starting your own business. See below for some options.

Setting up your own business
The government of Panama has set up a number of attractive programs and special zones in order to attract foreign investors to its shores. If you think you would like to run your own tourism business (like a B&B, a dive shop, or nightspot along the beaches of the Pacific coast), then Panama is the place for you.

In 1994, Panama passed Law No. 8—the most modern and comprehensive law for the promotion of tourism investment in Latin America and the Caribbean. In return for setting up a business in Panama you’ll receive some very attractive tax breaks.

Special Investment Zones
Panama offers some of the world’s best special benefits, some of which are tied to specially created zones. The Colon Free Zone is the world’s second largest duty-free zone, offering tax and financial benefits that are unrivalled anywhere else on the planet. Here, you can gain easy, cost-effective access to a market of more than 500 million consumers in Latin America and the Caribbean.

Perhaps even more exciting than the Colon Free Zone is Panama Pacifico. Declared a special economic area in 2004, Panama Pacifico was accorded free trade zone status and endowed with a host of special benefits. Among other perks, qualifying businesses in Panama Pacifico pay zero income tax. Companies like 3M and Dell have chosen Panama Pacifico for its incentives, which include unique labor and trade laws in addition to the special tax regime. If you’d like to work in Panama, good news: onsite companies also get special allowances for hiring foreign workers.

In addition to a business park and a corporate center, the Panama Pacifico master plan calls for thousands of new homes in carefully designed residential communities, a busting town center filled with everything from shops to cafes to fitness and recreation facilities, a golf course, and even schools. With every amenity a resident or worker could want…and state-of-the-art, sustainable design…it’s easy to understand why Panama Pacifico is captivating the global investment community.

Another special zone, the City of Knowledge, offers an excellent location, technical connectivity, qualified labor pool, and tax exemptions among its attractive benefits. Locally referred to as “the technopark,” the City of Knowledge is an international business and technological park, biology lab, academic campus, and residential community, all rolled into one.

Organizations taking advantage of the special zone include the UN, which has established its regional headquarters here. Other organizations include regional units of the Pan American Health Organization, as well as the regional offices of the World Food Program. Headquarters for numerous international organizations are also here, including the International Organization for Migration, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, and the Special Olympics.

Academic institutions have also established branches here, including Florida State University, and Canada’s McGill University. If you have a business, research, or humanitarian organization in a qualifying industry (international business and trade, information technology, biodiversity and tropical ecology, culture and society), look to the city of Knowledge for everything from tax and migratory incentives to real estate and business opportunities.

Making money overseas
If you’re interested in finding a way to fund your life overseas, there are a whole host of “jobs” that you can do from anywhere in the world. These are jobs that you can do from the front porch of your beach house…jobs that allow you to work in the morning, leaving the afternoon free for relaxing, reading, snorkeling, sailing…

These days, the world is more interconnected than ever and the possibilities for a portable paycheck are almost never-ending. You don’t need an MBA or thousands upon thousands of start-up cash to create a business for yourself that can easily fund your life overseas.

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