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Jan 18, 2018

U.S. Government Suspends Temporary Work Visas to Belizeans

On the heels of a vote at the United Nation’s by Belize against the U.S. decision to move its embassy to Jerusalem, Belize is among three countries removed from the temporary work visa program. Along with Haiti and Samoa, effective today, Belizeans will no longer be able to acquire H-Two-A and H-Two-B non-immigrant work visas.  These visas are for persons recruited by U.S. companies for agricultural work and seasonal work in places like hotels.  According to a report, Belize was removed from the list because it was not doing enough to curb human trafficking.  In 2016, Belize was placed in Tier Three because the State Department felt that the country did not meet the Trafficking Victims Protection Act’s minimum standards.  The 2017 report has not been released.  This afternoon, the Embassy in Belize issued a release on the strident measure to not grant visas to Belizean temporary workers for the rest of this year. It says that the designation takes into account a country’s cooperation with issuing travel documents for the citizens, subjects, nationals and residents of that country who are subject to a final order of removals along with other factors. We asked Foreign Minister Wilfred Elrington for comment: 

 

Wilfred Elrington

Wilfred Elrington, Minister of Foreign Affairs

“I have not seen anything official on it; however, I did hear reference being made to it on the media and I was shown a copy of a document which I think was downloaded, printed from the media in which it was being suggested that in consequence of our being placed on Tier Three by the United States for offences relating to human trafficking visas which are issued to countries to allow their citizens to go and do temporary work in the agricultural sector in the United States were not being issued to Belizeans.  That is what I read from the document.  I have not seen anything official, but I do know that the United States has long expressed concern about the issue of human trafficking in Belize and that our attorney general has been working assiduously to try to see how we could make sure that we reduce the incidences of that kind of thing and try to allay the fears and concerns of the United States about Belize’s involvement in it.  I have not seen any evidence which suggests that our people are involved in human trafficking.  I have not seen any evidence but I know that the United States has been complaining bitterly about it for some time and I do know that efforts are being made by our officials, I think with the police, as well as at the attorney general’s level, as well as at the level of the judiciary to deal with the right thing.  From time to time they have received trainings in how to deal with this issue, but I have not seen anything officially sent to me.”

 

The U.S. Embassy statement says that, “DHS may receive a recommendation from the Department of State or a written request from the Government of Belize or an employer that would like to hire nationals of Belize in H-2A status, or another interested party or parties.” In 2016, two hundred and ninety-nine H-2 visas were processed for Belize.

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2 Responses for “U.S. Government Suspends Temporary Work Visas to Belizeans”

  1. Eye in the Sky says:

    F… with Trump…. Belize……and you will see what F… will catch you next.

  2. Marwaione says:

    Belizean thank your dumb government members for your being denied work, because they have been banned from the US they want the same for you. They can’t even understand Belize/Guatemala dispute and voting against Jerusalem being Capital. Wow!!!!!

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