Foreigners who travel to our country Belize and wish make an income must first get a work permit. In general, there are two different avenues for getting a work permit – working for someone else or being self-employed. Work Permit applications are filed weekly by immigrants at the Immigration Department, however there is no official statistics as to the amount granted by the Department. Beside that, granting permits to immigrants also raises the issue of foreigners taking away labor opportunities available to native Belizeans. Well, the Ministry of Labour, Local Government, Rural Development and NEMO is drafting a new Work Permit Policy. Hon. Godwin Hulse tells us more.
Hon. Godwin Hulse The Ministry is taking a proactive approach; we are doing a number of things. We are also looking at a labor market survey to indicate who have skills, who don’t have jobs, and those who have jobs - how much money they are making. You have to have some data to work with and we have to create a data bank, so that we can move forward. The whole idea ultimately would be to make sure that every Belizean has a wage that he or she earns and do not have to be depending on handouts. We are also working on the work permit situation, so that we do not give out work permits for people pouring across the border, when there are Belizeans who don’t have works. So we are working on all of those things. We are putting in a work permit policy that we will issue very shortly and all parties will know how that works. We have already established a committee and then we will go from there.
Minister Hulse says they expect to have completed the Policy by the beginning of July 2012.