The world is going through difficult times in social and economic areas, which are transforming people’s behavior, customs, habits, and especially their way of life due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Despite this ordeal, economies must reactivate and adjust to the new conditions of the world. Societies will have to change many of their current habits to adapt to the new reality. This readjustment raises critical questions regarding lifestyle and personal economics such as, Where is it safe to live? Where is it safe to invest?, Where can I move my family?
These questions are of great relevance especially for people who seek wellness security, where healthcare should be excellent rather than merely good, where families can develop and are sure to have a healthful future. Unfortunately, even though the issue seems essential to human existence, in many cases one’s country of origin is lacking in basic medical care, except at extreme cost, providing opportunities for countries such as Costa Rica to attract foreign families.
For transnational companies seeking to expand operations, Costa Rica has taken on greater relevance than merely hosting a setting for cautious economic growth once a prime factor in the decision of where to locate. Besides providing a politically stable atmosphere, oriented not only toward economic growth but also a high standard of living, Costa Rica maintains one of the best health systems in the world. In addition to healthcare for its transferring personnel, foreign enterprises must consider factors such as taxes, investment costs, local talent, education, language, and personal safety for those who must move to the country to start and guide new operations. Recognizing that global mobility will be of prime importance in the coming years, Costa Rica emphasizes its advantages of an educated population, human capabilities, geographical location, political stability, and above all, an efficient health system.
Our country, with great work carried out by the Government and the Ministry of Health, has managed to ensure that the effects of the pandemic have not been reflected in catastrophic numbers and instead, Costa Rica currently has one of the highest recovery rates in the world and therefore a very low mortality rate. Costa Rica has a quality health system, being one of the best in Latin America, which is based on social security.
It is not by chance that today, despite the situation that humanity is going through, a large number of the best companies in the world operate on Costa Rican soil. As previously mentioned, political stability, geographic location, and public education are factors that play in the country’s favor.
The educational system in particular is a jewel. Costa Rica invests around 7.17% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in education, instilling its population with a high level of literacy, remaining at the forefront of other Latin American countries. An educated workforce represents a capacity for innovation and communication at high levels of understanding.
Another important factor that has been a strong pillar for several years is the political stability that Costa Rica has, which favors a good business climate. In the Doing Business Index 2019, the World Bank placed Costa Rica precisely as one of the Central American economies with the best business climate. As proof of purpose, on May 15, 2020, Costa Rica became the 38th country to become part of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), lending an important presence in international forums that promote good diplomatic relations through treaties that support the import and export of goods and services, thus boosting a growing economy. It is also important to emphasize that on May 26, 2020, our country became the 29th in the world to approve equal marriage.
Another issue of great relevance is Costa Rica’s immigration policy, a vital point when new foreign companies look to mobilize human capital by importing their own trained personnel. In addition to issues of safety, education, and health, immigration regulations and the official attitude toward foreigners are highly relevant when deciding where to move and start operations. A favorable atmosphere leads to greater efficiency in the channels for obtaining a work permit, shortening the review and approval periods, and improving immigration procedures for foreign companies that require a certain volume of inflow, according to their operation plan, of active or executive-level employees.
The regulation of recognized companies’ number 36576-G-COMEX establishes 7 sectors of the Costa Rican economy that allow corporate entities to register to obtain the benefits mentioned above. Among these sectors are those companies that are (1) operating under special export promotion regimes, administered by the Ministry of Foreign Trade and the Costa Rican Foreign Trade Promoter (PROCOMER), (2) supported by the Ministry of Foreign Trade according to express references from organizations with a recognized track record, nationally or internationally,(3) in the hospitality business, (4) in banking, insurance, and pension sectors, (5) in telecommunications, (6) multinationals with active operations in more than three countries and (7) those that have contracts with the Costa Rican state and its institutions.
To promote and facilitate foreign business investments, the country is in the process of evolving better technological platforms. The government, together with the Costa Rican Foreign Trade Promoter (PROCOMER), is working toward the implementation of the Single Investment Window (VUI) in most administrative processes to establish a single procedure to provide solutions more expeditiously and with greater efficiency to companies, thus reducing cumbersome times and processes and supplying a single working channel.
VUI is a project led by PROCOMER in conjunction with the Ministry of Economy, Industry and Commerce for the simplification of procedures by creating an integrated and centralized platform that simplifies the processes and procedures required by a company to invest in the country. This project is working together with 13 other institutions for which it is intended to include the paperwork of the Department of Recognized Companies of the General Directorate of Immigration and Foreigners which is working to award projects that will contribute to the growth of Costa Rica, with more efficient processes, such as the Digital File, as well as biometric systems that enable technological advancement for the country and facilities for the business sector.
Costa Rica is moving towards an optimistic future seeking to be competitive with an emerging economy that attracts foreign investment to boost regional markets, a stable and safe venue in which to invest and operate.