Resolution of the Ministry of Labor establishes the requirements for the affiliation of foreigners in the Department of Labor Immigration
- Pursuant to Executive Decree No. 76 of December 26, 2017 and Resolution No. DM-064-2018 of February 8, 2018, published on February 20th in the Official Gazette, the Ministry of Labor will require the affiliation of foreigners in the Department of Labor Immigration.
- This affiliation will consist of (i) a scan of the fingerprints through a biometrics system; (ii) passport registration; and, (iii) a photograph.
- The following documents will be required:
- Original passport.
- Copy of Immigration Status.
- Original Immigration ID card.
- Power of Attorney and Work Permit Petition.
- According to a Statement of the Ministry of Labor, this affiliation will begin to apply as of March 6th.
To whom does it apply?
- Applicants of a work permit – first time or renewal. These applicants must personally assist to the Labor Immigration Department of the Ministry of Labor to carry out the affiliation, prior to filing their petition.
- Applicants of a work permit that is in process. These applicants must carry out the affiliation at the time the photograph of the work permit ID card is taken, for which they will have to carry their original valid passport.
Morgan & Morgan is pleased to announce the promotion of attorney Ricardo Arias to the partnership of the firm.
Ricardo Arias works in the Corporate Law Department of the firm. Mr. Arias holds over ten years of experience advising capital markets transactions. He has represented local and foreign lenders as well as local and foreign developer/borrowers in secured and unsecured financings and project financings. Mr. Arias has been advisor to foreign and local clients on securities placement in Panama and cross-border transactions. He also specializes on setting up investment companies, including Real Estate Investment Funds (REITs). Mr. Arias is also involved in pro bono activities at the firm serving as counsellor of the National Disability Secretariat (Senadis), an autonomous governmental entity that conducts the policies for the social inclusion of the disabled.
This promotion comes to strengthen the usual personalized and skilled services provided by Morgan & Morgan and reaffirms our position as Panama´s leading firm
Morgan & Morgan advised Banco General, S.A. and Banistmo, S.A. in the structuring of an issuance of corporate bonds for an amount of up to US$320,000,000 carried out by Alternegy, S.A.
Morgan & Morgan advised Banco General, S.A. and Banistmo, S.A. in the structuring of an issuance of corporate bonds for an amount of up to US$320,000,000 carried out by Alternegy, S.A. The bonds were issued by Alternegy, and Banco General and Banistmo acted as joint arrangers and underwriters of the bonds. The bonds were registered with the Superintendency of Capital Markets of Panama and listed on the Panama Stock Exchange.
The bonds have a maturity of 10 years, interest will be paid quarterly at a floating rate (minimum 5.5%) and payments of principal will be made every six months with a balloon payment at the maturity date. Alternegy is a subsidiary of Celsia, a Colombian group of companies engaged in power generation, and it operates two hydroelectric power plants in Panama. Repayment of the bonds are secured by collateral trusts constituted under Panama and Costa Rica law. The funds received from the issuance of the bonds will constitute a new source of financing for Alternegy and will be used to repay a bridge loan granted to one of its affiliates, and which had been obtained for the purposes of financing the acquisition and operation of two hydroelectric power plants owned by Alternegy in Panama, namely Lorena and Prudencia; a hydroelectric power plant owned by Bontex in Panama, namely Gualaca; and a wind power plant owned by Planta Eólica Guanacaste, S.A. (PEG) in Costa Rica, namely Planta Eólica de Guanacaste.
Morgan & Morgan also advised Banistmo Investment Corporation, S.A., in its capacity as i) trustee of the Panamanian collateral trust. The assets of said trust include, among others, receivables generated by the power plants operated by Alternegy and Bontex in Panama, a mortgage over the real property owned by Alternegy and Bontex in Panama, a pledge over the shares of Alternegy and Bontex held by Celsia, rights to receive payment under certain guarantee bonds; and ii) beneficiary of the Costa Rican collateral trust, the trustee of which is Banco Improsa and the assets of which include, among others, the flows generated by the Costa Rican power plant operated by PEG, real property of PEG and a movable guarantee over the shares of PEG held by Celsia.
In the transaction, Morgan & Morgan’s attorneys worked with the executives of Banco General and Banistmo’s department of investment banking in Panama and with the members of Banca de Inversión Bancolombia, S.A., Bancolombia’s investment banking company in Colombia.
Partners Ramon Varela and Ricardo Arias, senior associates Kharla Aizpurua Olmos and Roberto Vidal, and associates Ana Carolina Castillo and Cristina De Roux, participated in this transaction.
Foreigners who require a work permit must personally assist to the Ministry of Labor for their affiliation
By means of the Executive Decree No. 76 of December 26th, 2017, foreigners who require a work permit must personally assist to the Ministry of Labor for their affiliation.
- This Executive Decree provides that, prior to filing the work permit petition, applicants must personally assist to the Ministry of Labor for their affiliation.
- A biometrics system will be created and the affiliation will consist of a scan of the fingerprints, passport and a photograph.
This Decree entered into force on December 27, 2017, after its publication in the official gazette No. 28433-A. Nevertheless, the authorities are carrying out the necessary adjustments for the implementation of the system.
Morgan & Morgan makes contributions to compilation of articles on the Securities Market of Panama sponsored by the Superintendency of the Securities Market of Panama
Associates Ricardo Arias and Pablo Epifanio, lawyers of the Corporate Law Department of Morgan & Morgan authored articles “Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs”) and “A glance to compliance measures applicable to the securities market”, both included in Volume IV of the Compilation of Articles on Regulation and Operation sponsored by the Superintendency of the Securities Market of Panama.
The publication was presented by the Superintendency of the Securities Market of Panama during the celebration of the XI Version of the Investor’s Day.
Mr. Arias and Mr. Epifanio are part of the Securities Regulation practice team of Morgan & Morgan specializing in public and private offerings, representing in such transactions, issuers as well as subscribers and providing advice to regulated entities such as securities firms and investment advisors. Throughout their careers, they have acquired extensive expertise on securities offerings and have participated in multiple transactions of that kind, some involving cross-border components and usually involving dollar amounts in the millions.
By Ricardo Alemán, Partner, Labor Law, Morgan & Morgan
Most of holidays and national mourning that are covered by Article 46 of the Labor Code of the Republic of Panama are in November, December and January. In fact, they are considered as such, November 3, 5, 10 and 28; December 8 and 25; and on January 1 and 9.
If the days off indicated in the preceding paragraph coincides with working days by virtue of the weekly working days agreed with the workers, they are paid as ordinary working days; in other words, despite not working during those days, due to the fact that they are considered as mandatory days off, workers shall be entitled to be granted their full salary corresponding to that day, as if they had worked.
Extraordinary Working Days
The situation is different for workers who, as a result of their contracts, have to work on holidays or national mourning. In these cases, workers are entitled to be paid a surcharge of 150% on the wages of their ordinary working day, without prejudice to the right of the worker to be granted any other day off in the week as compensation, which will not be remunerated, given that the 150% surcharge includes the payment of the compensatory day off. However, if the workers work on the compensatory day, that working day, in addition to being paid as an ordinary working day, shall be remunerated with a 50% surcharge.
Workers who work overtime on holidays or national mourning are entitled to, first, apply the surcharge of 150% and, to the result, add the surcharge that corresponds to the overtime working hours on the ordinary working day. In other words, the concept of surcharges on surcharges is applied, as contemplated in the Panamanian labor law.
November, National Holidays
I would like to make clear that November 4th, that this year 2017 coincides with a Saturday, is not a national holiday, so workers hired to work from Monday to Saturday are obliged to work that day and their remuneration will not suffer any variation because it is an ordinary working day. For workers who work from Monday to Friday, that day has no economic impact whatsoever since it is a regular day off that they do not work, according to their respective contracts.
This year 2017, November 5th falls on a Sunday. Workers who, by virtue of their weekly working week must work on that day, are entitled to be paid a 50% on their wages, as it is a Sunday and, in addition, a surcharge of 150% for being a national holiday. On the other hand, as established in Articles 47 and 48 of the Labor Code, Monday the 6th is authorized as a mandatory paid day off. Work on that Monday will entail a 50% surcharge on the ordinary salary, without prejudice to the right to be granted an unpaid day off during the week as compensation. Likewise, working on the day to be given as compensatory implies a surcharge of 50% on the ordinary day.
November 28th, also a national holiday, this year falls on a Tuesday. Until 2013, in those cases, mandatory paid day off was moved to the preceding Monday. However, with the approval of Law 28 of May 4, 2015, which, among others, modified Article 46 of the Labor Code, mandatory days off on holidays or national mourning are granted on the same day of the week in which they fall; that is, they are immovable.
On January 9th, 2018, declared by Law 118 of 2013, as National Sovereignty Day and national day of mourning, and which next year 2018 will fall on a Tuesday, mandatory day off will be on that same day, as it is not transferable to another day of the week, as indicated in said legislation, ratified by Law 70 above mentioned.
Domestic employees are also entitled to enjoy mandatory days off for holidays or national mourning that will be remunerated. If the employer orders or allows them to work on those days, they will be paid with a surcharge of 100% on the daily salary earned.
Recently, as a result of the qualification of Panama to the World Cup 2018 in Russia, Executive Decree No. 69, of October 11th of the current year, was issued, which ordered the closure of private offices that day, nationwide, declaring it as a day off.
Without debating at this time on the legality or not of the decree in question, upon declaring Wednesday, October 11th as a day off, workers who worked that day were entitled to receive their salary with a 50% surcharge, with no obligation to receive another day as compensatory day off.
Decree No. 69 excluded from closure to hospitals, hotels, restaurants, airlines, supermarkets, shopping centers, utility companies, places of entertainment and recreation. Consequently, the workers hired to work in the companies or activities indicated above have no right to receive any surcharge on their working day, because for them October 11th was a regular workday.
Morgan & Morgan advised Grupo Codere with respect to the process of acquiring a casino license in Panama
Morgan & Morgan acted as Panamanian counsel to Grupo Codere, with respect to the process of acquiring a license for the administration and operation of a casino in the Aloft Hotel, located in Panama City. Grupo Codere is a Spanish multinational corporation in the private gambling sector with a presence in Panama.
Amanda Barraza de Wong, associate of Morgan & Morgan, participated as speaker in the Annual Congress of Accounting and Taxation (CACOTYF-Panama 2017), held on October 3 and 4 in Panama City.
Morgan & Morgan was also a sponsor of this event which brought together professionals from diverse areas who engage into a great number of presentations. Among these, the presentation of Mrs. Barraza de Wong on the “Tax Residence”, its requirements, uses and considerations, which both natural and juridical persons should take into consideration to apply as tax residents according to what says both the Fiscal Code as the Treaties to Avoid Double Taxation.
Mrs. Barraza de Wong is an associate attorney at the firm’s Tax Department. She has 25 years of experience in tax departments of important international auditing firms, as well as in the General Department of Revenue and the Ministry of Finance, as a tax lawyer. In developing its legal practice, she has advised multiple companies on the tax contingencies of the various forms of hiring foreign personnel in Panama, and has a broad vision of the practices used by corporations to address the filings and forms required to be in compliance with tax regulations.
Citizens of the People’s Republic of China will require a Stamped Visa to enter in Panamanian territory
By means of the Executive Decree No. 552 of October 16th, 2017, the People’s Republic of China is included within the countries that require Stamped Visa issued by Panamanian Consulate, to enter the national territory.
• This Executive Decree only applies to nationals of the People’s Republic of China.
• Officials from the National Immigration Authority and the National Security Council will be appointed at the Panamanian Consulates in China to verify the immigration requirements and the security backgrounds of each applicant.
• The cost of the Stamped Visa may not exceed Fifty Dollars (US$50.00).
• Stamped Visas can be granted for multiple entries and exits, and up to three (3) years, according to the verification criteria of the designated officials.
• This Decree became effective on October 17th, 2017, one day after it was published in the official gazette.
Aspects to be considered:
Nationals of the People’s Republic of China:
• Will not require a Tourist Visa (authorized) nor Certification to file residence (VTR) before the National Immigration Authority, which will considerably reduce the requirements and time to obtain immigration processes in Panama.
• Holding a Visa duly issued by the United States of America, Australia, Canada, or the United Kingdom, (i) granted for multiple entries and exits; (ii) that has been used at least once to enter the territory of the granting State; and (iii) with a validity of at least one (1) year, may enter the national territory without the requirement of a Stamped Visa (Executive Decree No. 591 of December 28, 2016).
• Holding a Diplomatic, Service and Public Affairs passport may enter the national territory without the requirement of a Stamped Visa (Executive Decree No. 325 of May 8, 2012).
Dr. Eduardo Ferrer, Senior Partner of Morgan & Morgan, received from the Board of Directors of the Superintendency of Banks of Panama (SBP for its initials in Spanish) a plaque of recognition in virtue of his legacy, commitment and permanent contribution to the development and strengthening of the banking regulation, in favor of the stability, confidence and competitiveness of the International Banking Center of Panama.
Dr. Ferrer has over 40 years of experience as a banking lawyer and is considered a leading lawyer in banking and financial services in Panama., During his career, Mr. Ferrer has been Counselor to the Embassy of the Republic of Panama, Washington, D.C. during Canal Treaties Ratification period (1977-1978); Director of the Bank Superintendency of Panama (1998-2006), and President of the Board of Directors (2000-2001; 2003-2004). Currently, he serves on the Board of many private companies and is an honorary member of the Inter-American Bar Association and the International Bar Association.
The event took place within the framework of the 20 years of banking regulations celebrated by the Superintendency of Banks of Panama. The activity was attended by outstanding professionals of the banking sector of the country.