Despite the fact that the national language of Belize is English, there are opportunities for you to teach English here. Most Belizeans grow up speaking Kriol and only begin formal English speaking when they go to school.
Volunteering as a teacher in Belize is a good way to get your teaching career started in Belize. You do not need formal qualifications or any experience. In addition to learning the skills on the job you will be able to make contacts which can help you find paid employment further down the line. You will be placed with a host family if you choose to volunteer with Projects Abroad which gives you a great opportunity to explore Belize and find out if living here is for you.
It is worth noting that most schools in Belize are church funded. They may require you to be a practicing Christian to work there.
If you have a job which allows you to work from home then telecommuting from Belize is a recommended idea. For a start any income earned outside Belize will not be taxed here. You can get paid in your native currency and use that money to fund your life here. Not only will your money go further than it would at home but you will be able to avoid the stress of looking for a job on arrival.
If your current job is not compatible with telecommuting then you can try searching jobsites for opportunities before you leave. Find a telecommuting job and you can start working from the beach in Belize in no time!
For a long time the quality of internet in Belize was, to put it kindly, terrible. Recently there have been positive changes and it is improving all the time, especially in urban areas. That said it is worth checking the internet quality in the area before you commit to living there. A home in the countryside might be out of the question if you require a high bandwidth. Also be prepared for the occasional power outage and plan accordingly.
Search the big jobsites for telecommuting work in Belize.
Volunteering and Ecological Work
Belize has a huge range of biodiversity and volunteering in this field is a great way to see the country. You can work at a large scale project such as the Belize Manatee Conservation who help Manatees damaged by fishing boats.
You can find work and accommodation on farms and other projects where people will trade your expertise and hard work for meals and somewhere to sleep. If you have skills in carpentry or building this can be a very useful option.
There are a not many jobsites here and lots of the jobs are advertised by word of mouth so ask around in expat haunts and when you are talking to locals.
Getting a Visa to Work in Belize
Working in Belize is entirely possible as a foreign citizen. As with many countries in Central America, Belize has regulations in place to protect the job market for locals. The Government makes great efforts to keep Belizeans working which means if a job can be done by a Belizean you will not be able to apply for it. Although foreigners are encouraged to work in Belize, the goal of Belize immigration is to fill specialist roles or to attract new businesses that will eventually lead to more jobs for the locals.
There are two types of applications for a Belize work permit; one for permission to employ a foreign person and another for temporary self-employment. The application for permission to employ a foreign person is used for those seeking employment. This application would be filled out by the potential employer or by job seeker. This application requires that any foreign citizen wanting to work in Belize must have legal residency, with a minimum of 6 months in Belize. Once an application for employment within a company is approved the company will be the owner of the work permit and not the individual. This means that the person can only work for that company and would need to complete the process under a different organization if seeking alternate employment.
If you are planning or needing to work while living in Belize it is a good idea to make the necessary arrangements before arriving in Belize. Be sure to network with the locals and expats to become aware of any opportunities that may pop up. And don’t be surprised if you end up doing something completely different in Belize than you did back home!
The application for temporary self-employment is geared toward foreigners wanting to invest in Belize. Applicants must be in Belize legally, with proper documentation (visa, permits, etc.). A reference letter from the organization overseeing the category of work that will be performed will also be required.
Each type of work permit will have its associated fees. Be sure to check with the Belize Immigration and Nationality Department for further information.
Setting Up Your Own Business in Belize
Starting a business in Belize can be a great source of income. BELTRAIDE, The Belize Trade and Investment Development Service, is a great resource that helps both local and international entrepreneurs to start and develop their business in Belize. Investing in Belize is another opportunity to create cash flow and take advantage of opportunities in this growing economy.
Under the self-employment status of Belize, the following items are required during application:
- Passport copy (including all pages)
- Three (3) passport size photos
- Police record from country of origin (federal level)
- Qualifications letter
- Proof of solvency (bank statement)
- Completed application form
- Processing fee (BZ $25.00)
- Must submit receipt to Labor department
- Stamp duty fee (BZ $20.00)
- Must submit receipt to Labor department
Processing fee and stamp duty fee receipts will need to be submitted to the Belize Labor Department, along with the application form and proof of business. The proof of business should include registration and location details. The review process can take 2-4 weeks to complete and once approved the applicant will receive a letter stating approval. This letter can then be taken to the Immigration office where the permit will be added to the applicant’s passport.