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Why Are North Americans Moving to Panama?


Why are more and more North Americans becoming expatriates in Panama? There are a large number of retirees planning to spend their leisure years in the sun. There are also many working age individuals seeking opportunity that they do not find in their homelands.

In April of 2007 La Prensa, Panama ran an editorial commenting on the reasons why Americans come to Panama and stay. The article noted that North Americans have always traveled extensively but have always returned home in the end. The editor continues to say that this is no longer entirely true. More and more North Americans are becoming expatriates in Panama.

The article speaks of homeland security issues, both the dangers of terrorism and the perception of a police state mentality, as giving United States citizens reason to move to Panama and stay.

Panama Paradise for Expatriates

It is not hard to see why people with the means come to Panama and decide to buy property, gain residency, even work here. Panama has a gorgeous tropical climate with pristine beaches on two coasts. Panama has central highlands of unspoiled beauty where one can escape the tropical heat but not freeze in winter. Panama has a first world city in Panama City with condos on the Pacific and every service a person might need. Panama’s Tocumen International airport is a major hub with easy access to flights back to North America as well as virtually anywhere in Latin America.

This argument covers retirees and others with the means to purchase a second, vacation home. The question is why an individual stays in Panama, becomes a true expatriate.

How About Cost of Living for Expatriates in Panama?

It is cheaper to live in Panama than the USA, Europe, the cities of Canada, and large parts of the Caribbean. Even the high end properties are cheaper. With recent inflation tied to Panama’s economic boom it is nevertheless cheaper to buy food here, eat in restaurants, and receive first world quality health care. The discounts given to jubilados, namely individuals over 55, are extended to foreigners as well as Panamanians.

So, we’ve covered the fear and irritation factor of dealing with threats of terrorism. And we’ve covered retirement to a cheap tropical paradise. How about working age individuals who move to Panama and become expatriates?

Opportunity versus Fear for the Expatriate in Panama

A recent article in US News and World Report highlights several individuals who have moved to Panama to start businesses. The consensus of the interviews is that there is more opportunity here than is the USA.

The article notes that there are probably more than three million United States citizens living abroad who are not there on a temporary basis or government employees. These expatriates live in countries like Panama and plan to stay.

When one talks to North American expatriates who have moved to Panama one does not get the impression of a “lost generation” such as with the European youth after World War I and mimicked in the USA after Vietnam. There are certainly habitual wanderers, lifetime back packers. However, the larger majority of North American expatriate workers having moved to Panama are here to start a business, live a life, and to prosper economically.

Business for the Expatriate in Panama

Panama is conducive to business. Panama is conducive to investment. Panama has the highest per capita level of foreign investment in all of Latin America.

Many expatriates come to Panama and gain residency by investing in a business and employing at least three Panamanians. These expatriates typically bring to Panama a high level of skill and expertise useful to Panama’s developing economy.

More than One Reason for Expatriates to Move to Panama

As we have seen above people come to Panama and stay as expatriates for a variety of reasons. Whatever your reason for wanting to be an expatriate in Panama contact us at ABPanama for help in locating residential or commercial property. ABPanama have over 23 years experience in managing portfolios of quality property. An investor can be sure that their investment is being looked after and that their needs are our number one priority.

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