Jobs in Central America

If you are planning to start looking for a job in Central America, you should be aware of economic diversity in this part of the world. Some countries of Central America are developed, whereas others are quite poor. Nicaragua is one of the least developed countries; Costa Rica and Panama are considered more developed, which makes them more attractive to foreigners.

Panama has the best GDP, but Costa Rica is more developed, because it has the best life expectancy indicators, high literacy rate and low infant mortality.

The economy of Costa Rica is considered quite stable, which makes it an attractive destination for people who want to work in Central America.

Websites like Central America Careers can help you find job opportunities in any of these countries.

The documents required for getting a work permit are different for each country.

Getting a Temporary Work Permit in Costa Rica

The work visas are valid for six months. However, work permits can be renewed. The Department of Immigration regulates these issues.

Several documents are necessary to apply for work permits. You will submit these documents to the General Directorate of Migration (the Department of Temporary Permits). The registration documents of your future employer have to be submitted as well. The company also has to make a statement to confirm that you will work for them.

You will need:

• Photocopies of your passport
• Your birth certificate copy
• A copy of your marriage certificate
• A proof of your financial resources
• A statement from the police
• Copies of your qualifications

Minimum hourly wages:

In Costa Rica, wages are lower than in Europe or in the United States. Here is the list of minimum hourly wages:

Bachelor degree 3.45 USD
College technicians 2.80 USD
Specialized worker 2.45 USD
Semi-Qualified worker: 2 USD
Qualified worker: 2.15 USD
Non-Qualified worker: 1.80 USD

These are the hourly wages for Manufacturing, Agriculture, Services, Mining, Commerce, Construction, Transportation and Tourism.

Getting a Work Permit in Panama

If you are planning to work as a consultant for a foreign company that has an office in Panama, you won’t need a work permit. However, working for a Panamanian company requires a permit issued by the Panamanian Ministry of Labour. Work permits last one year, but they can be renewed. To apply for the work permit, you will need:

• Employee agreement
• Passport copy
• Certificate of good standing, to prove the company’s existence (the Public Registry will issue this document)
• Business license
• Migratory status
• One Copy of your immigration ID

There are different types of work permits, and there are special requirements for each of those. To get more information, read more about  Panama Labour Law.

Cost of Living

Cost of living in Central American countries is considered low. However, this is only partially true. Some things can be quite expensive, especially in more developed countries like Costa Rica or Panama. When it comes to foods, the prices are not much different from those in the United States. However, preparing your own food will definitely be a cheap option. Rents are also very low.

To learn more about taxes, visit  Taxes for Expats.