Taken last week in San Pedro
The Arias administration doesn’t seem to like gringos anymore. If it ever did, which is seeming less and less likely.

Last week, it published a new proposed immigration bill which, if passed, will effectively eliminate the gringo middle class here.

Pensionados, those receiving a monthly pension, have to prove $600/month income today. Under the new law, they’ll have to prove $2,000. Quite a step up. Since most pensionados live on Social Security and since $2,000 represents top $ for Social Security payments… well, let’s say your options are limited.

Rentistas, who now have to prove $1,000/month per applicant (read “spouse”) and $500/month per child (i.e., $3,000/month for a family of four), would have to prove $5,000/month per applicant. It doesn’t address the family situation, whether or not $5,000 covers the entire family. But A.M. Costa Rica did the math on just the $5,000:

“If the proposal is passed and immigration officials insist on proof of five years of income, an applicant would have to show a bank deposit of $300,000 or an investment generating at least $5,000 a month. An applicant would need to have about $1.7 million in savings at the current rates.”

‘Scuse me while I crack up.

When this law was announced last week, there was much brouhaha on the Costa Rica Living group. Everyone said, “Oh, relax, it will never pass.”

Oh, really? That’s what they said about the proposed immigration law of 2006, when they upped the ante from $500 to $600 for pensionados and from $1,000 for the whole family to $1,000 per applicant plus $500 per child for rentistas. Everyone, even residency advisers, said, “Oh, don’t worry, it will never pass.” Even the newspapers reported it wouldn’t pass. Then, surprise, on August 12th, it did.

Front page on today’s A.M. Costa Rica announces, “Quick OK predicted for new, stiff immigration bill.” I’m predicting that, too.

Even if it doesn’t pass, clearly they don’t want us here. At least not us middle class gringos. Mel can stay. If they wanted us here, would they be pursuing this path at all? It’s not like the Costa Rican government gets anything out of having this money in the bank. It’s still your money and you don’t even have to keep it in a Costa Rican bank! So what would be the purpose except to only have rich gringos here? This is not seeming so friendly to me. No warm fuzzies.

Here’s the kicker: “The law also appears to say that, if passed, pensionados and rentistas will be required to meet the new, higher requirements when they renew their permission to stay in the country.” For all those without adquate pensions or $300,000 (at least) to plop down, that leaves perpetual tourism: leaving every 90 days. For the privilege of living in a country where it seems you aren’t really wanted… what’s up with that?

Wondering if that Gentleman Farmer’s house is still available up there in Bankrupt Nation.

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