Every foreigner that wishes to work in Panama must have a valid Work Permit. There are several Permit categories, and they are subject to Immigration categories that allow for legalizing their stay in the country, whether it is temporary or permanent.

We can mention the following categories:

Work Permit for Friendly Nations

It is related to the Permanent Residency for Friendly Nations. It is granted indefinitely and is applied for once the Immigration Service issues the Resolution and Permanent Residency ID card. See more information here.

Work Permit for Foreign Professional

Once approved, it can apply for the corresponding work permit. It is not granted indefinitely right away since the Immigration ID card has an initial two-year validity. Applicable for certain careers not listed as restricted, which can only be practiced by Panamanians. See more information here. You can see the restricted careers here.

Work Permit under the Italy and Panama Agreement

Every foreigner that is granted a permanent residency under the Italy and Panama Agreement has the right to apply for an indefinite work permit under the same category. The main requisite is to have an approved residency. This category is exclusive for every person holding an Italian passport.

Work Permit – Married to Panamanian

It is important to mention:

-Applicant must concur together with his/her spouse to the interview that will be carried out by an official from the Main Office of Work or from regional offices of the Ministry of Work and Labor Development after filing the application.
-Aside from the interview, the Ministry of Work and Labor Development can order home inspections in order to detect if the relation between the two is mere convenience and shows instability.
– If the foreign worker were to beget or adopt children and then widowed or divorced, he/she will have the right to be granted a work permit due to custody.

Foreign Worker among Ten Per Cent of Ordinary Personnel

Only applicable for foreigners that hold a work offer while the hiring company takes responsibility for the worker. It is subject to hiring, i.e. in case the worker stops working in the company, his residency gets suspended. The company must also fulfill the requisite of maintaing up to 10% of foreigners in its payroll as off 10 workers. Important to mention that permanent residents with more than 10 years in Panama, foreigners married to Panamanians and naturalized citizens are counted as Panamanians in payroll, therefore accounted among the other 90%.

Foreign Worker under the Marrakesh Agreement

Very similar to the Work Permit among the 10% of ordinary personnel, it is granted to a foreign worker within a company’s payroll with less than 10 workers in order to apply for a work permit within this category. The main difference resides in that this permit must be renewed on a yearly basis.

Foreign Worker residing in Panama for more than 10 years

It allows legal residents with more than 10 years in Panama apply for a permit in case they haven’t had the opportunity to obtain one depending on the applied category.

Foreign Worker among Fifteen Per Cent of Specialized or Technical Personnel

Work Permit for specialized or technical foreigners required by a company, allowed for occupying up to 15% of the foreign workers in payroll.

Work Permit under Family Regrouping

Applicable in case the foreigner has Panamanian children or custody of a minor.

What Immigration categories grant the right to a Work Permit?

In spite of there being several categories to legalize the stay in Panama, some do not grant the right to apply for a work permit. These are some examples:

–  Permanent Residency for Retirees
– Own Economic Solvency
– Dependant
– Investor
– Student

Access our blog for more information in regards to Immigration in Panama: www.panamaimmigration.net