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Protection for Belizean workers in the U.S.

Posted By: Marty

Protection for Belizean workers in the U.S. - 02/14/14 07:56 PM

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.
Posted By: Marty

Re: Protection for Belizean workers in the U.S. - 02/14/14 08:46 PM

Belize and the United States Partner to Protect the Rights of Belizean Workers in the United States

The Ambassador of Belize in the United States, H.E. Nestor Mendez, and the US Secretary of Labor, the Hon. Thomas E. Perez, signed a Joint Declaration by which Belize and the United States agree to work together to improve the awareness of Belizean workers in the United States regarding their rights as workers regardless of their migration status.

In addition to the Joint Declaration, Letters of Arrangement with The Wage and Hour Division of the Department of Labour and with The Occupational and Safety and Health Administration were also signed by Belize with the respective heads of department. Under the new initiatives, the Embassy of Belize and its network of Consular Representations in the United States will work together with the US National and State level labour authorities to inform Belizean workers in the United States regarding their workplace rights, including information about hourly wages and occupational safety regulations that are in place to protect them.

An important component of the new mechanism will provide an established channel for the Belizean consular representatives to make representation to labor authorities on behalf of Belizean workers whose rights are being violated; irrespective of their migration status.

The US Government has signed a similar agreement with ten countries in the region, and Belize is the first Caribbean country to enter into such an agreement. The new mechanisms agreed today clearly underscore the commitment of the Government of Belize and specifically, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, to look after the well-being of Belizeans living abroad, and to offer them a wide range of consular services and protections. The measures being put in place will seek to ensure that the thousands of Belizean workers in the United States have access to all the protections available to them under the law, thereby providing them an additional level of confidence.

The Government of Belize recognizes the Belizean Diaspora as an important part of our nation, and as a strategic partner for the development of our country through the continued transfer of remittances, donations, technical know-how, and as potential investors in the economic development of Belize.
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