Executive Decree that regulates the EMMA Regime

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By: Maria del Carmen Hoffman

On February 4, 2021, the Executive Branch of the Republic of Panama signed Executive Decree # 33, which regulates Law 159 of August 31, 2020, which creates the Special Regime for the Establishment and Operation of Multinational Companies for the Provision of Services Related to Manufacturing (EMMA). This initiative is important for multinational companies to take advantage of the logistical advantages that Panama offers for the provision of services related to manufacturing in activities such as assembly, maintenance and repair, conditioning, development, research, or product innovation.

This decree establishes immigration categories for foreign personnel required for this type of operations. For example, the EMMA temporary staff visa may be requested for workers who provide operational or training services to the company. Applications for these visas may be submitted before the arrival of the personnel to the country and also recognizes deadlines for procedures to be carried out once they enter Panama.

In addition, this regulation allows the dependents of foreign personnel of EMMA and SEM (Multinational Companies Headquarters) to apply to the categories of work permits that already exist within the current legislation on labor migration.

This law even allows multinational companies already established under the SEM regime to apply for the EMMA license without the need to submit a new application. In addition to the benefits in immigration and labor matters, this law offers tax and labor benefits for companies.

For any questions about this decree or if you require any immigration service, please contact us at mhoffman@arrocha.com.pa


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