Steps in Getting a Work Permit

Many visitors to San Pedro, and residents, decide they want to get a job and stay on La Isla Bonita. To get a job a non-Belizean must have a work permit.This article was written with the purpose of assisting those who may want to apply for a temporary work permit. (All work permits are temporary).

Non-Belizeans must be in possession of a temporary work permit before accepting employment. The visitor's visa, issued by the Immigration Department to arriving visitors, clearly states "Permitted to land on condition that the holder does not enter employment paid or unpaid, does not engage in any business or profession without the consent of the principal immigration officer and does not remain in Belize longer than ___ days (usually thirty days)."

The first step in obtaining a permit is to purchase the appropriate form from the Angelus Press (located on Queen Street in Belize City). The Labour Department does not supply the form, nor is it available in their offices. After obtaining and completing the form the applicant will need:

a. Three passport size photographs with your signature on the reverse side.
b. A letter from the Mayor of San Pedro regarding the nature of the employment request.
c. A letter from the Belize Tourist Board regarding the nature of the employment request.
d. If requesting self-employment, you must attend an interview at the Labour Department. Interviews are conducted on any Wednesday the office is open.
e. If an employer is seeking a permit for you, the employer or an authorized representative (who must have a letter) must attend an interview along f. A bank statement or other document demonstrating proof of your ability to sustain yourself without becoming a strain on the country's public services and resources. (If self-employment).
g. Proof of continuous residence in Belize for at least six months.
Do not mail the application and supporting documents. Applications are only received when presented personally by the applicant. In addition to the above required items, at the discretion of the Labour Department, further information and documentation of information provided may be requested.

Persons applying for temporary work permits should also be advised that the issuance of a work permit is at the discretion of the Labour Commissioner and is not guaranteed. Three consecutive weeks of advertising (in a newspaper or on TV or radio) that the position is open may be required. If a qualified Belizean wishes to fill the position, a work permit might not be given to a non-Belizean. The Labour Commissioner also will not accept ads from "regional" newspapers such as The San Pedro Sun, although TV ads in Belize City are acceptable.

After all necessary documents are received, applicants can expect to hear from the Labour Department after approximately four weeks.

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