Thursday, 11 October 2018

A Guide to Working in Panama as a Manual Osteopath

Panama is a superb place to work as a manual osteopath. The profession is popular here due to presence of large number of ex pats from UK.

Panama has clean air, beautiful beaches and unspoiled nature. The amazing flora and fauna exceed your power of imagination. Panama City (a mini New York and the most modern city in Latin America) has pleasant boulevards, skyscrapers, great restaurants and an exciting nightlife. The largest mall in Latin America is located in Panama City. It has 700 stores and over 100 restaurants Above all, Panama is a tropical country with a climate like a perpetual summer.

Panama has two seasons: its dry season runs December to May while the rainy season runs May to December. Temperatures all year varies between 21 and 30 degrees Celsius (between 70 and 86 degrees Fahrenheit). In the rainy season, showers generally last less than one hour.

With annual growth of over 10%, the country is doing great. Panama City is the number one financial center in Latin America and the number 5 in the world.

Panama has been chosen as the number one retirement destination for its affordable cost of living, healthcare, safety, weather and infrastructure.

Currency is US dollar which offers amazing benefits to those who work here. The personal income tax has a progressive rate. Below $11,000 US you pay no tax. Between $11,000 and $50,000 you pay 15%. Above $50,000 you pay 25% tax. For income generated outside Panama you pay zero tax. Income tax is taken only for income generated inside Panama. There are exceptions however. For example farmers pay no tax if their income is less than $250,000. There is also no capital tax, and no inheritance tax.

Panama has a population of 3.5 million people. However it does not have enough people to work in its businesses as it is expanding rapidly. Due to this it has made a program that residents of 47 friendly countries can apply and receive immediate permanent residency which allows
them to work and open a business in Panama. It costs about $20,000 (includes lawyer fee) and after 5 years Panamanian citizenship and a passport will be issued. You can have dual citizenship in Panama along with your first country of residence.

There are two ways to work in Panama as a manual osteopath. The first and easiest one is to use the program mentioned above if you are a resident of one of the 47 countries (Andorra, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Brazil, Belgium, Canada, Chile, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, France, Finland, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Hungary, Ireland, Israel, Japan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Norway, Malta, Monaco, Montenegro, Netherlands, New Zealand, Poland, Portugal, San Marino, Serbia, Singapore, Slovakia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Switzerland, Sweden, Taiwan, United Kingdom, United States and Uruguay.) You, your spouse, and all children under 18 can apply and come together as a family. The application cost is $5000 plus $2000 per person in your family. However it is almost impossible to do it yourself as every form is in Spanish. It is best to hire a lawyer, which makes the cost about $20,000 total.

As a resident, you can work for another clinic or open your own osteopathy clinic. In Panama you can call yourself an osteopath as the profession is not regulated there. There are some private health plans in Panama but most people pay cash for osteopathic care. If you open your own clinic, it is recommended that you learn basic conversational Spanish. However many speak English here.

If you are not a resident of the above 47 countries, there are other ways you can work in Panama but in most cases you have to find employment with a medical/physiotherapy/health clinic and they apply for a temporary work visa for you. In this case you cannot open your own clinic and you cannot become a citizen and you always work as an employee until you apply for permanent residency and get accepted as a permanent resident.

Panama is a prosperous country. US dollar is the currency. Tax is reasonable. People are wealthy and there is a large demand for osteopathy in this country as there are only a few manual osteopaths here. Panama City is amazing for those who love cosmopolitan life. Those who prefer the slow country living also have the option of working/living outside Panama City which has a slow pace of life.

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