Until just recently, there were only a few real ways to be able to locate to Panama and be able to work legally. The first is to marry a citizen, though not advisable for the sole purpose of gaining employment. Another is to be hired by a national or local company and having that company do the necessary leg work to make you a legal international employee. The problem with that is that many companies just don't want to bother with the headache, and if they do, it is because you are highly skilled in your field. The last that I can think of is to start your own company, which can legally make money in Panama. Again, the problem with that is that you are self employed, which is not for everyone, and there are some limitations as to what type of business you will be able to legally conduct.
Executive order 343 has just been signed in Panama which gives foreigners another option. First, I want to examine the reason for the new policy. Mainly, it is the tremendous growth that Panama has been, is, and will continue to experience. There just are no longer enough Panamanians to fill the vacancies. Especially in tourism.
One of the reasons for this is the new airport being built near the Royal Decameron Resort close to Coronado. This airport will with no doubt, cater largley to English speaking tourists. Although many Panamanians speak the language, there are not nearly enough of them in the industry that do. On top of that, with the arrival of the airport comes new resorts, new hotels, new casinos, new housing, new businesses, all needing to cater to English speaking expats and tourists. This is only one area of Panama. The entire country is seeing this tourism boom.
Here are just a few things I know about the criterea one will need to meet in order to qualify for the work permit in Executive order 343. First, you need to live here, and have a utility bill to prove it. That doesn't mean you have to buy, just rent if buying is out of the question. You will need to have a 4 figure bank account, about $5000.00, and also be able to support any dependents here with you. Also, you cannot be a criminal. They want a criminal record check from your home country and it must be notarized by the Panamanian Consulate to Canada. In Canada, that means going to your local RCMP station and getting the check, then getting that document notarized by a local notary or lawyer, then sending it to The Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs, then sending it to the Embassy of Panama in Canada. That is actually easier than it sounds, message me and I can help.
These are only the steps I know. The most important step is finding a Panamanian lawyer you can trust. Mine has been great so far. Message me if you need a lawyer. In any case, it is best to come for a visit first to see if you even like the country. I am a great host and love Canadian visitors as I am largely submersed in Spanish day in and day out. So get down here!! Executive order 343 makes it easier than ever for a normal person of working age to come and build a life in paradise!!