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#329122 - 03/19/09 03:19 PM Immigration, Fact and Fiction
beachbumin Offline
Based on the attached article from the San Pedro Sun that chronicles the misadventures of the McGowans, it states that a visitor is entitled to an initial 30 visitor permit and then renewable up to 6 months. It further states that if you intend to stay beyond 6 months, you must get a work permit. This certainly is not the way that the system is currently working. Is there anyone, anyone at all that knows what the rules and regulations are regarding this important issue. Just curious because I sure would not want to see mass deportations.
http://www.sanpedrosun.net/09-114.html

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#329123 - 03/19/09 03:31 PM Re: Immigration, Fact and Fiction [Re: beachbumin]
Mary1220 Offline
What is the the "something deeper"??
++++++++++++++
The McGowans think that information they were privy to while working at the resort lead them to be caught up in the middle of something deeper than their immigration issue. As such, they have made reports to Internal Affairs and the United States Embassy among others.
_________________________
mary

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#329135 - 03/19/09 04:44 PM Re: Immigration, Fact and Fiction [Re: beachbumin]
Amanda Syme Offline
Originally Posted By: beachbumin
Based on the attached article from the San Pedro Sun that chronicles the misadventures of the McGowans, it states that a visitor is entitled to an initial 30 visitor permit and then renewable up to 6 months. It further states that if you intend to stay beyond 6 months, you must get a work permit. This certainly is not the way that the system is currently working. Is there anyone, anyone at all that knows what the rules and regulations are regarding this important issue. Just curious because I sure would not want to see mass deportations.
http://www.sanpedrosun.net/09-114.html


You arrive and are typically granted a 30 day visa to visit Belize - then every 30 days you can go to an immigration office, and for a fee you will be granted another 30 days. Once you have stayed in country for a period of 6 months you are expected to either formalize your emigration status by applying for and receiving a work permit or QRP status - or you are expected to leave the country.

Technically I think you can leave overnight and go to Guatemala or Mexico and then return the next day and begin the visitor visa process again for another 6 months. And considering applying for a work permit or QRP takes a while to be processed this tends to be what people who want to live here tend to do.

Once you have lived here for a year you are qualified to apply for permanent residency status or a 2nd work permit.

Immigration also tends to frown on folks once they apply for their 3rd work permit (work permits are valid for one year in most cases.) They figure if you have lived here for 3 years you should applying for residency status.

Once you have held residency status for 5 years you qualify to apply for citizenship.

And don't worry you won't see any mass deportations. Belize occasionally even has immigration amnesty programs in order to legalize foreigners that have been living here for years illegally - typically Guatemalans, Hondurans, and Salvadoreans.

We are a developing nations with a tiny population, our population growth is slow and in order to be productive we do need more working people. So we provide some basic immigration rules that are very simple to follow. And eventually we even invite productive people to stay (residency) and join us (Belizean Citizenship.)

Compared to most other nations, Belize is extremely lenient and easy to enter, work and live.

But - there are some rules and laws that must be followed - and therein lies the downfall of the McGowans.




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#329137 - 03/19/09 04:57 PM Re: Immigration, Fact and Fiction [Re: Mary1220]
Amanda Syme Offline
Originally Posted By: Mary1220
What is the the "something deeper"??
++++++++++++++
The McGowans think that information they were privy to while working at the resort lead them to be caught up in the middle of something deeper than their immigration issue. As such, they have made reports to Internal Affairs and the United States Embassy among others.


Those poor folks were working up at the resort - illegally, (without legal immigration status)at the time that the drug deaths occurred in that area.

During the investigation of the drug deaths it seems that the police and immigration officers came across the McGowans and identified that they were in violation of our immigration laws.

In my personal opinion the McGowans started screeching foul play in order to try and blur and deflect from the fact that they were actually the law breakers.

As with police in most any country in the world, if you treat them respectfully and cordially they will reflect that manner with you. The police are obliged to lock you up if you are breaking the law. Of course they often have choices in where they lock you up. If you are rude, accusatory and start making threats - you will probably get locked up with the rabble. Sad but true.

The moral of the story is - don't break the law - especially in a country that is foreign to you. Behavior that may be acceptable where you come from might not be culturally acceptable in other countries.

And before everybody starts jumping on me for blaming the victim and its not fair and I am so harsh.... blah, blah, blah -

think about what happens to people in your country when they are discovered to be living and working illegally - you know what - they are locked up and then deported. And they are locked up with the rabble - the other law breakers. No special treatment, no coffee and donuts for breakfast and steak with fries for dinner, no diet cokes and private bathrooms. And when they call foul play they are expected to provide proof or more charges are levied against them.



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#329143 - 03/19/09 05:50 PM Re: Immigration, Fact and Fiction [Re: Amanda Syme]
Lan Sluder/Belize First Offline


Someone should suggest to the Belize Tourism Board that it update its immigration information on its web site, as it does not jive with what Immigration told the San Pedro Sun and what Amanda is saying here.

Of course that's an issue in itself -- rules and regulations change fairly frequently and there is no place that I know of that a would-be longer-term tourist or prospective worker can go to get definite facts and rules in black-and-white. If, for example, the tourist depends on the BTB information it could be wrong. Certainly foreigners should abide by the host country rules, but sometimes in Belize it's not clear what the rules really are (imagine that!)

The need to get a work permit for tourist card renewal after six months (at one time I understand it was after three months) was begun I believe under the last administration. Some saw it as a way to get more fees out of "wealthy" foreigners, as most work permits (self employment, professional/technical) cost US$1000 to $1500. The work permit then was required even if the applicant wasn't going to work and simply wanted to stay in Belize as a tourist.

I thought that this particular work permit after 3/6 months requirement had been dropped, but apparently it is now back in place?

By the way, I certainly hope no one would put forth the U.S. immigration policies as a blueprint for Belize or any other country. The U.S. approaches are often harsh, unfair and contradictory.

But in the USA's defense, the country (even in this economic situation) is the world's #1 magnet for immigration, legal and illegal -- a million or more a year. I'm not sure how many Belizeans there are in the U.S., but I think the estimate is in the 200,000 range, and some say there are as many Belizeans in the U.S. as in Belize (though I doubt that.)

--Lan Sluder
_________________________
Lan Sluder/Belize First
http://www.belizefirst.com

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#329147 - 03/19/09 06:24 PM Re: Immigration, Fact and Fiction [Re: Lan Sluder/Belize First]
SP Daily Offline
Many of the Belizeans and second generation Belizean-USians are there at the invitation of the US government as refugees after Hurricane Hattie.

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#329784 - 03/23/09 03:28 PM Re: Immigration, Fact and Fiction [Re: SP Daily]
pugwash Offline
At the request of Diane, the comments made by and related to US residents have been moved to the US chat section

Originally Posted By: Diane Campbell
Talk about off-topic. Kindly request that the "Gringos" rant about their country on the USA chat section. This question is about Belize immigration and it's a topic that is important to some who read this board.

_________________________
It's rarely rocket science, it's usually just math: then again if you can't do the math.......

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#329867 - 03/24/09 04:40 AM Re: Immigration, Fact and Fiction [Re: pugwash]
Monel Offline
Ok....Im kind of confused here...
We moved here in the beginning of December and do not work for any Belizean company but live on our own finances from online work (no loss of job to any belizean). We have been renewing ourselves monthly and from all the research we did at the Immigration site as well as the documents on the wall at the Immigration office we had the understanding that after 6 months the amount to pay for staying doubled for what we pay each month to 100 US each and after 1 year had passed we could apply for perm residence status....what I am reading here and in the newspaper says no only 6 months allowed.
So which is accurate ? any ideas ? Do we have to leave for a while after 6 months and return? (if so how long and does anyone want to be hired to babysit Shmoo ?) Or is accuracy on this based on the opinion of the immigration worker and we just find out in 3 months when we go ?
_________________________
If we give Peas a chance won't the Lima Beans feel left out ?

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#329868 - 03/24/09 04:52 AM Re: Immigration, Fact and Fiction [Re: Monel]
dabunk Offline
That is how we did it. We lived here for a year renewing month to month and then started the residency procedure. While doing the residency we still paid month to month. The only difference we had to do was at the 6 month mark we had to apply to the Director for a 6 month extension. Your best bet is to amke an appoitment with the director and ask him.

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#329869 - 03/24/09 04:54 AM Re: Immigration, Fact and Fiction [Re: dabunk]
Monel Offline
Thanks Dabunk - the director is in Belize City or there would be one in the local office ?
_________________________
If we give Peas a chance won't the Lima Beans feel left out ?

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