It always amazes me when a new person inquires about moving to Belize and working there, at the responses that are given.
It is true that "Ideally", it would be nice to have Belizeans fill EVERY open position in Belize.
It is NOT true however, to say that there are no positions for foreigners. Sure there are...there are lots of foreigners working and living in Belize.
There is a right and a wrong way to find work in Belize as a foreigner and there are no guarantees that you will be doing something you like or something that makes you any money.
It's a little like job roulette.
Business owners are required to place adds for open positions in any of several mediums for at least 3 weeks running. This may include T.V., newspapers, internet, even "word of mouth" is mentioned on the work permit application. I would suggest to keep accurate records of that advertising and save it for a rainy day just in case immigration comes calling. If a Belizean applies for the position and is qualified...you are bound to hire them.
If no "qualified" Belizean applies....AND...if it is not feasible to train one for the position, then you may hire a foreigner.
From personal experience, both in finding a job and in hiring staff, there are not always qualified staff to hire for certain positions.
Unfortunately in San Pedro, there is a large portion of residents that don't speak English well even though Belize is an English speaking country. Since Ambergris Caye's primary business is tourism, it makes it difficult to fill positions unless the staff is well versed in English. Example: It's a little hard to tell the maid you need towel in room #5 when she doesn't understand a word you say.
It isn't that they aren't capable or smart...there is simply a language barrier.
I'm sure in other posts concerning this same topic I've mentioned the Belizean work ethic as well. This is not to start a fight...it is simply a known fact that Belizeans have never been brought up to work like dogs 24/7 like we in the states have. They actually relax and enjoy life a little...sometimes a little too much. They are used to their afternoon siesta and they don't sweat small stuff. This is a great way to live...but if you are a business owner, particularly one from the states that is used to holding a firm hand on your employees...you are in for a big surprise. It will be like rubbing a cat the wrong way and they will simply move on to the next job. Turn over is big. Staffing is probably the hardest part of any business on the island.
Another problem that happens on Ambergris Caye...
If you place an add in a Belize City newspaper for an open position, that person pretty much has to be prepared to move to the Caye as commuting isn't feasable or cost effective.
It probably is true that over the last 10-15 years, San Pedro has increasingly become more and more foreign in it's make up and business structure. Don't think there is a lot you can do about that now. Tourism is booming and everyone wants a piece of the pie. As long as the Government allows it...it will continue at the current rate. Government has a definate hand in certain aspects of new businesses getting started.
Those who have done it know what I mean. That's just the way it is...and probably true for most Caribbean countries.
Susangg is right about the cost of living. It's outrageous on Ambergris Caye so just get prepared for it.
Is there a reason why you are choosing to go to medical school in Belize? I'm curious about that.
Medical school is hard enough without worrying about all the hurdles that you WILL go through while living there. It is no fun walk in the park.
It will NOT be like being on vacation for sure.
I look forward to hearing your story.