Were the Law to Attract Investors and Retirees and the Digital Nomad Law ever passed ?
Yes, both of these were passed into law by the Costa Rica Legislature with the goal of revitalizing the tourism sector of the economy. The Law to Attract Investors and Retirees is law number 9996 published on July 14, 2021 and the Digital Nomad Law is law number 10008 published on September 1, 2021. In this article I will answer that question for you based upon the information and facts that are available.
Who is responsible for their implementation?
In both of these laws the Legislature delegated the implementation to the Department of Immigration and gave them three months to issue the regulations and implement the law. That time has come and gone and nothing is in place. It seems that if the President was truly interested in the swift implementation of the law, he would be pressuring the Department of Immigration which is part of the Executive branch to get it done.
What is going on?
The reality that might be in play here is that internally in the Department of Immigration the powers that be were opposed to the Law to Attract Investors and Retirees. I mention that based upon my review of the actual Legislative record, specifically the report sent to the Legislature under reference number AG-1823-10-2020 ABM of the 22nd of October 2020 where the Department of Immigration set forth their proposed wording to the law. The technical recommendation of the Department of Immigration can be summarized as follows:
(1) That the Pensionado category qualification amount be increased from $1,000 per month to $5,000 per month. (2) That the amount required to qualify for the Rentista category be increased from $2,500 to $5,000. (3) That the amount to qualify for investor category be increased to US$300,000 and not dropped to US$150,000. (4) They were opposed to any kind of tax breaks for Pensionados or Rentistas and only a household exemption for investors. (5) As to the requirement in the law that the Department of Immigration implement a specialized window at immigration for Investors, Rentistas, Retiree here is their response was that they don’t have the staff to do so, here is the statement:
So clearly, from the Legislative record the technical recommendations made by the Department of Immigration to the Legislature were ignored since the law did not adopt any of their proposals. Now, the law is approved by the legislature and to implement it requires the same agency, Department of Immigration , that opposed it. From this end it looks like they might be purposefully dragging their feet.