Panama has a formal immigration programme open to South Africans through their Friendly Nations initiative. Citizens from countries considered to have important and beneficial economic and diplomatic ties to Panama are invited to establish residency in Panama.
This does NOT have to involve moving to Panama. Once permanent residency is established you could live and work in Panama if you choose. However, there is not an obligation to move to Panama - you can continue residing in South Africa and carry on life as normal.
Panama is a Spanish-speaking country. There is however plenty of opportunity for English-speaking roles within the many multinational corporations present in Panama. With Panama’s historical ties to the United States through the Panama Canal Zone and its current liberal immigration policy, there also appears to be a drive toward educating children in English proficiency, particularly through online facilities, indicating an evolving ease of communication in English.
Control of the Panama Canal was ceded to Panama by the U.S. from the year 2000 and a massive construction project to widen the canal has recently been undertaken to ensure the sustainability of economic opportunity within this important freight and trade zone. These historical links and treaties with the USA, along with the U.S. dollar-based economy assure residents guaranteed political stability.
Panama has a globally acclaimed retirement programme open to anybody with moderate passive income streams from retirement funding or asset returns. A demonstrated income of USD1,000 per month is sufficient for a couple to secure a retirement visa in Panama. This programme offers retirees in Panama substantial discounts on a wide array of expenses, from flights, hotels and restaurants to healthcare, utilities and entertainment. As a result, moderate retirement funding can secure a desirable lifestyle in Panama, paired with a warm climate, friendly locals, a growing ex-pat community and excellent healthcare facilities.
Panama operates a territorial taxation system. As a resident in Panama, you would be exempt from Panamanian personal income tax on any income earned outside of Panama.
Panama was 500 years old in 2019 – feliz cumpleaños, Panamá!