Get ready for major immigration reforms in the face of a growing outcry for more stringent regulations to protect the Panamanian Citizen. Movimiento Nacional staged a protest at Plaza Cinco de Mayo Friday 3rd of February, a mere 2 blocks from the Panama National Assembly to address the growing sentiment and spur new legislation into action. The movement claims that undocumented tourists entering the country looking for work are contributing to an increasingly competitive workplace in which Panamanians have been on the loosing end from the start. Problem is undocumented foreign workers are often looked at as “exotic”and hired before a citizen. There are laws in place to address this however are seldom enforced.
Another problem with the tidal wave of tourism and growth in the country is that while Panamanian Families pay tax to services subsidized by the government, tourists do not yet draw on the same resources. For example a Panamanian Citizen can consult a doctor for a fee of $1, medications tests and other supplies are also billed nominally. When an un-formalized tourist pays the same yet have not contributed to the programs it creates a deficit that has been sustained by the state.
Administrative mis-management are common issues however this fiscal oversite has caused the Public Health System to nearly collapse as evidenced just last year when the Department of Health’s crown jewel, Hospital Santo Tomas was temporarily shut to the public as it was unable to renew it’s own sanitary registry – vital to the despensing of medications. It is no wonder the hospitals do not have the supplies it needs to function properly.
Concepts and drafts of proposed legislation are under way. Stay tuned to the developing story as Panama introduces new legislation to stem the tide of migration to our shores.