It may be harder to find work in Belize than you imagine. With high unemployment and a low minimum wage, job hunting presents several challenges. Many people dream of moving to the Caribbean, getting an easy job, and spending much of their time in the hammock. While this is possible, it is good to be armed with knowledge before relocating. Many move to Belize only to become frustrated by a different set of rules than they are used to.
The Belizean economy is growing slowly but steadily, continuing to hover in the 2% - 3% growth rate range for the last several years. Unemployment has risen slightly to 11%. Some of the largest contributors to Belize's economy are agriculture, fishing, retail, telecommunications, the government, and manufacturing. The services sector contributes to around 60% of Belize's Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
Good to know:
The Belize minimum wage is $3.30/hour.
Finding a job
Finding a job in Belize requires boots on the ground. The country operates almost entirely by word of mouth. Getting out, meeting people, and sharing your skill set will give you the greatest opportunities for finding employment or starting a business. Reach out to other expats and any Belizean friends you may have. Many communities have Facebook groups with classified sections. Aside from that, don't expect to find a lot on the internet.
Because of the high unemployment rate, many jobs are reserved for Belizeans. An employer must, in fact, prove that there are not any properly qualified Belizeans in order to hire a non resident. You must have a special skill and make appropriate connections. Realtor and managerial positions at high end resorts and restaurants are periodically held by non residents. Those with technical medical, mechanical, or engineering skills may be able to find work, but it will be at a very drastic pay cut. It is the same situation for teachers at high end private schools and universities. This is why young, well educated Belizeans are likely to leave Belize to work in other countries.
The best ways to work while living in Belize are virtually and by starting a business. Freelancers are not required to have a work permit as they are not working in Belize. There are an abundance of business opportunities in Belize. As the country develops and the middle class grows, there are many possibilities for additional professional services. There are also a number of products and services that can be offered to the rapidly growing tourist population.
Good to know:
Once you have permanent residency, you can be employed just like any natural born Belizean.