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Want to get a job in Panama and bypass the need to get a Visa or work permit first? The solution is to work for a Multinational company who has established a headquarters in Panama. If you are offered a job by one of these companies, you will get a 5-year Permanent Employee Visa which can renewed. The Multinational company pays for the Visa (no cost to you) and you do not need to get a work permit. Click on the link below to see a brochure in English with more details about multinational company opportunities in Panama:
Unfortunately, there is not a one-stop place to find a listing of all the jobs available through the Multinational Companies. You’ll need to go to each company’s website to see what jobs are available. Spanish will be required for some jobs but not for all jobs. (see the links at the bottom of the page for some job postings)
Several Panama Relocation Tour clients have obtained good paying (6-figure salary) jobs with multinational companies. So, it is possible to get a job in Panama but it will require a lot of investigating to find them. You’ll need to check out the jobs for each company individually and it certainly helps to have an impressive resume.
If you get a job with a Multinational company you are also exempt from all taxes on your income in Panama.
Law No. 41 in Panama creates a Permanent Employee Visas specifically for foreign employees of the Multinational Company. These special visas will be issued for a 5-year period and can be renewed.
Multinational headquarters are set up in certain areas in Panama City. The City of Knowledge, Cuidad del Sabor, houses many Multinational companies with job opportunities. Click on their website link below then Click on WORK AREAS, then click on the company logo to be taken to information about the company and a link to their website:
Below is a list of additional Multinational companies in Panama. To find out what jobs are available with the companies, you’ll need to do a google search the “company name Panama” then look for their careers or jobs listings.
|Maersk Central America S.A.||Denmark||Maritime|
|Procter & Gamble International Operations||USA||Goods|
|Inelectra Panama S.A.||Venezuela||Construction and Engineering|
|LG Consulting Corp.||South Korea||Goods|
|Productos Roche Interamericana, S.A. (Prisa)||Switzerland||Pharmacy|
|Hyundai Heavy Industries Co. L.T.D.||South Korea.||Construction and Maritime|
|Aes Latin America||USA||Energy|
|Total America Latina Y Caribe||France||Energy|
|Endress + Hauser Instruments International Ag||Switzerland||Measuring Instruments|
|Western Union||USA||Money Transfer|
|Thunderbird Entertainment S.A.||USA||Entertainment|
|Peugeot Panama S.A.||France||Automation|
|Halliburton International Inc.||USA||Energy|
|Pan American Life Global Services, S.A.||USA||Insurance|
|Cemex Caribe, S.A.||Mexico||Construction|
|Moffatt & Nichol Latinamerican Inc.||USA||Engineering|
|Dell Panama Inc.||USA||Technology and Telecommunications|
|W. W. Grainger, Inc.||USA||Industrial Supply|
|BASF S.E.||Germany||Chemical, plastics and technology|
|Samtec||USA||Electronic Interconnect Industry|
|We Simplify the Internet (WSI)||Canada||Technology and Telecommunications|
|William Wrigley Jr. Company (Wrigley)||USA||Food Processing|
|DHL Express||Germany||Express and Logisticas|
|Safra J. Asset Management S.A.||USA||Advising|
|Kumho Tire Panama Co. Inc.||South Korea||Automation|
|Hyosung Corporation||South Korea||Industry|
|Vf Sourcing||Luxembourg||Textile Industry|
|Alfa Laval, S.A.||Sweden||Engineering and Services|
Here are a few websites where jobs are posted. These are not necessarily Multinational companies though so some of these jobs would require a residency Visa and a work permit:
PANAMA PACIFICO — https://logistics.gatech.pa/en/assets/special-economic-zones/panama-pacifico/companies
FIRST QUANTUM MINING – http://careers.first-quantum.com/cw/en/listing/
GLASSDOOR — https://www.glassdoor.com/Job/panama-jobs-SRCH_IL.0,6_IN194.htm
CAREERARC — https://www.careerarc.com/job-search/jobs-in-panama-city-panama-panama.html
DELL – https://jobs.dell.com/location/panama-jobs/375/3703430/2
To find more jobs available, go to the WORK AREA section at the City of Knowledge website. See the list of company logs in each category, then click on the logo to be taken to the company website.
Even though it IS possible to get a job in Panama, you may be able to make more money by starting your own business which is easy to do in Panama.
There are so many things that I love about living in Panama. Here’s my short list of the 7 things that I like best:
I appreciate that my cost of living in much less than it was Texas. In Texas my electric bill was $250 to $450 a month. In Panama, my electric bill is rarely over $25 a month. In Texas, my water bill was $80 a month. In Panama, I pay $100 for water for the whole year. My cell phone bill is only $15 a month It’s only $12 to see an excellent doctor. And my international health insurance is 80% less than I’d have to pay in the US. I especially love that I do not have any property taxes and my house and car insurance are less than $200 a year each. These all adds up to big savings!
I love that Panama is a small country. I can drive from my house in the mountains to the Pacific Ocean in about 1 hour. I can drive to the Caribbean Sea in 3 hours. If I ever get in the mood to go to Panama City, it is a short 35-minute flight. In Panama when you drive just 30-60 minutes the scenery will change and the weather will be different too.
I love how friendly and welcoming the Panamanian people are to foreigners and to each other. Because foreigners have been coming to Panama for hundreds of years, the Panamanian people feel comfortable being around foreigners. The Panamanian government puts out the red carpet for foreigners by making it super easy to get a residency Visa to live in Panama indefinitely. And with certain Visas, you can even get a work permit to legally work in Panama.
I love that living in Panama reminds me of what it was like when I lived in the United States in the 60s and 70s (but with high speed internet and cable TV added). It’s a simpler stress-free lifestyle. People are friendly. Neighbors talk to each other. Panamanians are extremely patriotic. Sure, there are inconveniences but they seem so minor compared to all the pluses.
I love that I can grow just about anything in the mountains of Panama. Flowers, vegetables, bananas, fruit trees all flourish in Panama. Anything that I cannot grow at my altitude (4500 feet), like pineapple or rice, grow easily at lower altitudes. Plus, there are fish from two oceans. There is a 365-day growing season which supplies food without importing anything.
I love the natural beauty in Panama. If you’re a beach person, you’ll love the long sandy beaches. There are 1500 miles of coast line in Panama and every beach is a little different. If you’re a mountain person, you’ll love the lush green mountains and miles of rolling vistas. You can walk through a rain forest. You’ll see thousands of unique flowers and trees. There are 1200 species of birds in Panama including many rare birds. I have hundreds of humming birds at my property every day.
The thing I love the most about living in Panama is the weather and the fresh air. One of the reasons I left Texas was because I was fed up with living in 100-degree summers and cold, icy winters. In Texas, I either had my air conditioner on or my heater on almost all year. But in Panama, living in the mountains, I don’t even need an air conditioner or heater. I have my widows open every day, so I can get fresh, clean air. Daytime temperatures are in the low to mid-70s. Evening temperatures are in the mid-60s. To me, this is perfect weather and the perfect place to live.
Do Not Build a House in Panama Unless You Love Stress, Frustration and Have a Lot of Extra Money to Spend.
I usually write about the positive things I love about living in Panama but here’s information about the dark side. You need to know the good and the not so good things about living in Panama so you can make an intelligent decision about relocating.
I would not advise building a house in Panama unless you have a lot of patience and a lot of extra time and money. And absolutely do not attempt to build a house in Panama unless you can be present every single day during construction. Here’s why:
In October 2017, I signed a contract to have new custom cabinets built for my house. They were to be delivered in January but, like many things in Panama, there were delays so they were installed in March.
A month before they were installed, I had my old kitchen demolished – literally with a sledge hammer. With no kitchen, I was eating out more or using my Instant Pot to make meals then doing dishes in the bathroom sink for a month.
Before the cabinets could be installed, I had to install tile on the walls and on the area where my old kitchen was located because there was no tile under the cabinets. After looking for days at 6 different stores in David and Panama City, I knew it would be impossible to match the existing tile which was put down in 2007. So, I went looking for new tile and a transition tile that had both colors in it. I needed 10 boxes of tile.
I found the perfect tile at one store but they only had 5 boxes and said it would take a month to get more (if at all).
So, I shopped at some other stores to find a different tile. I found the great tile but they only had 8 boxes.
Finally, I picked out a tile because it was the ONLY tile in Panama where I could get at least 10 boxes of the same thing.
The tile was finally installed on the floors and walls.
In my new kitchen design, the sink and stove were moved to a new, more functional, location. But the plumber could not move the plumbing to where the sink needed to go so the cabinets had to be moved slightly to accommodate the plumbing.
Next came the search for the cabinet knobs. You’d think it would be easy to buy cabinet knobs. But not in Panama. There is no Home Depot or Lowe’s in Panama. I searched high and low in David and even in Panama City. The knobs I bought were the only knobs in all of Panama that I could get 38 of the same thing in stock.
I could order cabinet knobs from Amazon and pay $4 a pound to get them delivered but it’s hard to see what the knobs really look like from a photo on Amazon.
The next nightmare…
The granite countertop company had to see the cabinets installed before he would come out to measure. But he measured wrong. The absolutely beautiful granite I picked out was ruined when he measured wrong. To make matters worse, he wanted an extra $1800 to order new granite and correct HIS mistake.
Instead, I hired a different company to make my granite countertops. After searching for two months, the granite I wanted was no where to be found in Panama.
So, I picked out a different granite. But when it was being loaded on the truck, they dropped the granite and broke in to a million pieces.
So, I had to pick out a different granite that I don’t like as much but at least it fits. The new granite company did a really professional job with the granite and installation.
Next, my plumber came out to install the kitchen faucets. There’s a main faucet and a filtered water faucet. By the way it took three full days to find these faucets. Every time I found one I liked, they were out of that faucet so I had to keep looking. The plumber discovered that the water filter faucet had a missing bolt even though the package was sealed when he opened it. I went back to Elmec, (35 minute drive one way) where I bought the faucet to get the bolt. Even though they had the same faucet in stock they would not give me a bolt out of that package or exchange my faucet. So I had to order the bolt on Amazon to get it delivered to Panama in about 7 days.
Thinking that my kitchen remodel was almost over, I hired a company to add a room on to my house. My little 960SF house really needed a little more room so I could get my office out of the bedroom.
The contractors bid was labor only like most bids in Panama. So, I was making daily, sometimes 2-3 times a day, trips to various hardware stores for supplies. If the local store did not have what was needed, I had to drive more than 30 minutes one way to David and go to 4-5 stores to get everything on the list. Sometimes when materials were delivered to the house, it was the wrong thing so I had to go back to get it straightened out. This was very very frustrating and very time consuming.
The room addition project turned out great and was finished on time… EXCEPT they built the new patio right on top of my septic tank.
I had no idea where my septic tank was. My husband took care of getting the septic cleaned out so I never paid attention to the location. The blueprints for my house show that the septic tank is in a completely different location than where it is actually located.
TIP = This is Panama
When the contractors were digging for the foundation of the patio they should have mentioned that they saw pipes. They should have investigated what the pipes went to. But nope… they just wanted to finish the project so they could get paid.
Now, I need to get a new septic system installed which will take more time, more frustration and cost more money.
I have been buying and remodeling houses for 25 years.. in Texas. But all of that did not prepare me for the frustrations of remodeling a house in Panama or the lack of the availability of materials in Panama.
These were just two little projects with contractors who came highly recommended. I can’t imagine the stress and frustration in trying to build a whole house in Panama.
Everyone I know who has had a house built in Panama says they they would never EVER do it again. It always takes twice as long and costs about twice as much. Sometimes the builder and their crew disappear for weeks at a time or forever.
Last weekend I met a lady who had a house built two years ago. She’s still finding problems and the house has become a money-pit in correcting all the problems.
I have talked to several people who paid a contractor a 20-30% deposit to build a house in Panama but the contractor disappeared with their money.
Don’t build a house in Panama. It will be way too frustrating and stressful.
It is much better to buy an existing house then make modification to it if you absolutely need to. At least with an existing house, you can hire an inspector to make sure everything is ok before you buy. And an existing house will already have plenty of landscaping (though you’ll probably want to add more).
As always, I highly recommend that you just RENT for several months before you decide to buy.