Essential Employment Paperwork in Belize

 

 

The whole process of getting employed in Belize can be a daunting task for foreign nationals since the local labour market is more inclined to providing jobs for the majority of Belizeans. On top of that, expats must also secure a work permit to work legally in Belize.

Expats planning on a getting a job in Belize will most likely arrive under a temporary visa or by just presenting a passport. Once in the country, they need to obtain a 30-day temporary visa which can be requested for extension of up to six months at the local Immigrations Office. For foreign nationals to work in Belize, they must acquire a work permit and be a legal resident of the country. To be considered a legal resident, foreigners must have lived in Belize for at least six months. Work permits will be applied for by the foreign national’s prospective employer at the Belize Labour Department.

Procedure of Obtaining a Work Permit

The process of approving the expatriate’s work permit takes approximately two to three weeks. If the permit is approved, the foreign national will be given an approval letter which must be submitted to the Belize Immigration Office for the issuance of work permit in the foreign national’s passport. However, it must be noted that even before a prospective employer can apply for the foreign national’s work permit, the employer should be able to prove to the Belize Labour Department that they have locally advertised the position for at least three weeks, but no qualified Belizean candidate was found for the job opening. The required documents for work permit application are:

  • Completed Application Form
  • Three passport-sized photos
  • Police record from the expatriate’s home country and in Belize
  • Proof of sufficient funds such as bank statements
  • Receipt of settled fees along with the application form to be submitted at the Belize Labour Department

Fees and Validity Period

Work permit fees are based on the expatriate’s type of work or skill set. For example, the cost for applying for an employment permit for technical and professional workers is USD 750. Other fees are as follows:

  • General workers – USD 100
  • Seasonal agricultural workers – USD 25 per crop
  • Entertainers in groups of two to five – USD 250 per head
  • Individual entertainers – USD 150
  • Missionaries, educators and volunteer individuals – USD 25

Keep in mind that the Belizean work permit is only valid for one year and is not subject to renewal. Once it expires, expats must apply for a second work permit. After receiving the second permit, foreign nationals will be eligible to apply for a permanent residency which entitles them to seek employment and reside in Belize even without applying for any permit.