Mitradel updates regulation of labor migration in Panama

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The Ministry of Labor and Labor Development updated the regulations that regulate articles 17, 18 and 19 of the Labor Code, regarding the hiring of foreign labor in the country, in order to order the provisions created for this purpose, through Executive Decree No. 4 of March 2, 2023, published in the Official Gazette on March 9, 2023.

The Executive Decree also regulates other special laws, social commitments in humanitarian matters and special protection, as well as new work concepts such as self-employment and students.

At the same time, a Ministerial Resolution will be issued that regulates the procedure for the request and issuance of work cards, with a view to a future implementation of the digital system for this process. Work permits have been classified into 6 types:

  1. Work Permits that are equivalent to local labor: those foreigners who, according to the regulations of the Law, are considered with the same treatment as nationals due to their condition and ties to the country, either for having more than 10 continuous years in the country, for being fathers or mothers of Panamanian children, married to nationals, etc.
  2. Percentages Authorized by the Labor Code: which are the percentages of 10% of ordinary personnel and 15% of specialized or technical personnel.
  3. Special Laws: applicable to all provisions of business regimes or economic activities of companies with special regulations (Multinational Companies, Manufacturers, Cinematography, etc.), as long as the provisions establish that they need a work permit.
  4. Humanitarian Protection: for cases of people in refugee status or refugee process, asylum seeker, separated person or foreign victim of human trafficking. Including for the first time the recognition of stateless persons (people who do not have a record of any nationality but are in the national territory)
  5. Special Conditions: which regulates the work permits of foreigners from countries that maintain friendly or economic relations with Panama, Immigration Regularization, Professional Foreigners or students, and for the first time a work permit for self-employed or self-employed workers.
  6. Temporary: applicable to international artists, specialized technicians and artists of night shows.

For the proper implementation of this provision and to ensure that the procedures that were in the process of presentation by users of Labor Migration, it has been arranged to accept all applications under the categories established by Repealed Decree 17 of 1999 until March 31. of 2023. As of April 1, 2023, work permits will only be received under the new provisions of Decree 4 of 2023.

This update of the standard seeks to adapt the regulations to changes in the needs of the labor market, which had not been reviewed in the last 24 years, seeking the protection of the national workforce, the integration of vulnerable populations, respecting the Code of Labor and the legal certainty of the companies covered by Special Laws.

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