More Than 5,000 Cards Issued To Normalize Immigration Status in Panama

More Than 5,000 Cards Issued To Normalize Immigration Status in Panama

Monday, July 19 2010 @ 09:59 AM EDT
Contributed by: Don Winner
Views: 6
As of midday yesterday, Sunday, the National Immigration Service (SNM) has already issued more than 5,000 cards to foreigners who before were in Panama illegally, and who are now in the process of normalizing their immigration status thanks to a program at the Atlapa Convention Center. These cards were issued in the first three days of the extraordinary immigration normalization process dubbed “Panama, Melting Pot of Races” which started on 16 July 2010. Didacio Camargo, a spokesman for Immigration, told TVN News that so far mostly Colombians have been taking advantage of this program to normalize their status in the country. Camargo said they have reduced the fines for people who have children born in Panama. He added fines were reduced in accordance with guidelines issued by the Ministry of Economy and Finance. Also, processing times were reduced. (La Prensa)
Editor’s Comment: In Panama the economy is growing faster than the population. New jobs are being created faster than people can be trained to fill them. Traditionally, Panama’s immigration policies have been designed to keep foreigners out of the country primarily for economic reasons. Unemployment has always been high and the Panamanians didn’t want foreigners to come here to compete with them for jobs. Now, however, unemployment in Panama has dropped down to the practical floor. Meaning, while there still might be an official unemployment rate of about 5% – it’s very hard to reduce down past that number because a percentage of the “workforce” is just plain lazy, they are not looking for a job, they have issues with drug dependency or other addictions, etc. In the United States that number is somewhere slightly below 4% – and it’s different for every country. There are literally thousands of people – mostly Colombians who are in affect economic refugees – who have come here simply seeking a way to make enough money to feed their families. By normalizing their immigration status, these people can obtain work permits and get “regular” jobs – meaning they will pay income taxes, contribute to the Social Security Fund, and participate in the regular economy. So, to a certain extent this “Melting Pot” program is self serving for Panama but in reality it’s more of a win-win situation. Panama is going to be needing more workers very soon, so they might as well start with the people who are already here. This program has been extended through Wednesday

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