I keep meaning to write about Panama, but I never get around to it. Now there’s a great reason to. On May 16, 2012, the Panamanian Ministry of Public Safety published Decreto Ejecutivo Numero 343. Short version: it’s a vague law designed to make it very easy for economically desirable foreigners from certain countries to gain immediate permanent residency in the Republic of Panama.

The law is maddeningly vague and it’s for people who can demonstrate specific economic or professional activity in Panama, are financially solvent (you only need a bank account with at least four figures!), and are not criminals. It applies to nationals from the following list of countries:

  • Argentina
  • Australia
  • Austria
  • Belgium
  • Brazil
  • Canada
  • Chile
  • Czechoslovakia
  • Finland
  • France
  • Germany
  • Ireland
  • Japan
  • Netherlands
  • Norway
  • Singapore
  • Slovakia
  • Spain
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland
  • United States
  • Uruguay

I find that list very interesting. The UK and Portugal are not on that list, for example, though I would have expected that.

The correspondent who tipped me off about this informed me that merely starting a business in Panama should be enough to qualify. As far as I can tell, accepting a job in Panama should also let you qualify.

Check out this English language description of the law at panama-guide.com.