Belizean Ambassador to the US, Nestor Mendez has signed an agreement with the United States Government which should provide benefits to Belizeans working in that country, regardless of their immigration status.

It’s called the Consular Partnership Agreement which will allow the Labor Department’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the Wage and Hour Division to work with the embassy and consulates of Belize to provide Belizeans working in the United States and their U.S. employers with information about U.S. health, safety and wage laws.

Belizean Consular Representatives will now have the means to make representation to US Labour authorities on behalf of Belizean workers, whose rights are being violated.

Consular partnerships, like this one with Belize, help the Labour Department to enforce the US Law more effectively, particularly in high-risk and low-wage industries where labour violations are more likely to occur. The outreach efforts are also more effective in identifying the problems that at-risk workers face in their environments.

Speaking at the signing, Ambassador Mendez said, “We wish to congratulate the Department of Labor for the creative way of reaching migrant worker populations in this country and informing them of their rights, by partnering with the Embassies of their countries of origin. This declaration is a tangible manifestation of the commitment of both of our Governments to protect the rights of all workers, and in this special case, the rights of Belizean workers in the United States.”

Ambassador Mendez signed the document in Washington DC on Monday, February 10, with the US Secretary of Labour, Thomas Perez. Belize is the first Caribbean country to have signed such an agreement.