Emilio Cornejo Vernaza is an attorney and a representative for the Panama investor visa. He is based in Panama City and is one of the founding partners of Panama Global Solutions, a law firm started in 2008.
Vernaza reveals that Panama is catching on to the post-pandemic trend of making it easier for people to file their residency or citizenship by investment applications remotely. If all goes to plan, the country in Central America would see new legislation to this effect as soon as by the end of 2021. According to him, investors now expect more appealing options and creative solutions to finding their preferred second homes and passports.
What is your industry role and why do you enjoy working in this industry?
PGS Attorneys is a boutique relocation law firm that specializes in inbound immigration. We have had the pleasure and privilege of making acquaintances with thousands of people from all over the world. By assisting them, we have not only enjoyed providing helpful guidance, but also learned to appreciate our cultural similarities and differences, while introducing them to our country.
How and why did you get involved in the investment immigration industry?
A bit over 14 years ago when I launched my private practice, Panama was suddenly put on the map as a preferred destination for families and companies from Latin America looking for a more stable economy and safe legal system, as well as for retirees from the U.S., Canada and the EU. Back then, we decided to focus our efforts on assisting not only expats, but people and companies in general looking to either relocate, invest or simply benefit from Panama’s strategic advantages. This has allowed us to broadcast our services to a wider audience and network, by connecting with colleagues far and wide.
What are some current trends you are seeing in the industry and with Panama’s program?
With last year’s global events, there seems to be a common tendency to look into existing residency and citizenship programs and to adapt them into more appealing options for investors. As for Panama, an immigration reform was already being discussed prior to the pandemic and current circumstances have made authorities reevaluate our application process. In order to make it easier, more flexible practices, applications may be even filed remotely. We expect new regulations to be approved before the end of 2021.
How do you think the pandemic has impacted the global RCBI industry?
Flight bans all over the world, naturally, affected our industry, making evident the need to innovate, not only by developing smart and swift methods to file residency applications, but also by adapting them to fit emerging entrepreneurs who may benefit from residency and citizenship solutions not fixed to a 183-day stay in a particular country. As we’ve all experienced, tech and digital solutions have been speeding up towards its potential at a greater speed than anything we’ve experienced prior to the pandemic, making it possible for many investors and entrepreneurs to consider a perpetual traveler lifestyle. I strongly believe that offering easier methods or ways to set their center of economic interest will soon become a trend.
Has there been any recent changes to Panama’s program or any new investment options or streams?
Back in October 2020, a new residency permit addressed to qualified investors was enforced, granting permanent residency to nationals from any country based on a minimum investment of $300,000 in real estate (to be increased in October 2022) up to $750,000 in bank certificates of deposit. This residency permit grants a permanent status in 30 days or less and aspirants may even submit their applications remotely.
What are your top business goals this year?
The sole fact of turning the page to last year’s lockdowns without losing a single team member and actually adding new members, as well, has already allowed us to accomplish most of our business goals. Consolidating our team’s efforts towards the common goal of becoming one of the first references for expats and investors looking to invest in Panama is the natural next step for us.
What achievement in this market has been most rewarding for you? Why?
Contributing and sharing with colleagues from other jurisdictions, either at international conferences or other types of collaborations have definitely brought lots of professional satisfactions. This has allowed us to expand our network, exposing ourselves as a top solution for colleagues and investors looking in this direction.
What are your thoughts on vaccine passports?
I can understand why it has become a delicate issue, given its potential of being deemed as essential to travel, which would make vaccines compulsory for anyone looking to invest abroad. Yet adapting regulations may be more than challenging, facing constitutional obstacles in enough countries to make it an unpractical solution.
Why did you decide to join our Uglobal verified community and what has it done for your business?
The possibility of sharing and exchanging our acquired experience and expertise with colleagues and interested parties inexorably invites us to better ourselves, not only in the obvious improvement derived from getting to learn more about the industry, but in the exposure and accountability you’re subject to as a result of constantly providing advice in a public platform.
What is your favorite quote and why?
“Luck is the residue of design”, attributed to John Milton and W. Branch Rickey. It manages to define self-accountability in a nutshell, not neglecting the existence of luck, but assign it an accurate role.
What is the favorite book you have read recently? Why?
“The Science of Social Intelligence” by Patrick King. I guess, I’ve been mesmerized by the complexity of human conduct for a while now.
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