The overall goal is to contribute to increase the self-reliance and integration of refugees, asylum seekers and host communities in Panama through the Graduation Model Approach.
Panama is a party to the 1951 Refugee Convention and its additional 1967 protocol, as well as to the Brazil declaration. However, the Cartagena Refugee Definition is not part of the national legal framework. Furthermore, in 1998 Panama passed the Decree 23 which effectively provided refugees with the necessary framework to access basic services and protection, including the right to work. Although Panama has provided refugees with the legal framework to access employment, there are severe challenges with the labour legislation in addition to discriminatory social norms, preventing refugees from pursuing decent employment; asylum-seekers are not allowed to work legally, thus forcing them into informal job markets that could lead to exploitation and abuse.