In order to get a job in Belize you have to have a work permit, which you would have to apply for. Belize very much looks after it's own workers and what’s in for it's local people, so you would have to have somebody sponsor you to work in the business and show that you bring something to the business that the business couldn’t get by hiring a Belizean. The business owners have to demonstrate that they have advertised any position that wasn’t filled by a Belizean.
So, in the restaurant I had, I sponsored a person to come and work for me. The reason was that I was implementing a POS system, and the person I wanted to hire was a friend who wanted to work. When I implemented the POS system nobody locally was versed in using it, but my friend had managerial skills and the knowledge of how to use the POS system. In order to hire my friend, I had to write to say that I felt that his management knowledge in a larger restaurant in the States would be a huge benefit for all the staff here, including myself. As a result, they allowed me sponsor him, which didn't cost me a bit as a business owner, but my new employee had to pay for his permit to work.
You have to have a work permit, which you can apply for as being sponsored or you can have a business owner's work permit, which I got for myself in order to allow me to work. If you are not a resident, you can own a business and have it run and managed by staff, but to actually be physically seen working in your business, you have to have a work permit to do so. Once you become a permanent resident, you don't have to have a work permit. In order to become a permanent resident, you have to be here in Belize for over 12 months and not to have left for more than 14 days.
If you are not a resident, you need a work permit. They just stamp your passport and say you have a work permit which is valid for one year, and you have to renew it at the end of the year.
Once you are a resident, you can go and get a job anywhere you like because a resident can work for anybody without any issues at all. I have a Social Security card, and they make deductions from my salary.
It can be as complicated or easy as you make it. If you buy a business and decided "You know what, I do need to work in my business,” you can apply for a business owner's work permit, which can take four to six weeks to get once you apply. There's no reason they won't allow you to have it. Once I was here for over a year and my work permit was running out I went to the government and said, "Hey, I've been here over a year, and I haven't left for over fourteen days. I would like to apply for my residency.” So I completed the form, sent it in, and my residency came back early. It usually takes three to six months usually, but I got mine very quickly. I don't know why, but I had mine in six weeks.