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Belize

In relative terms, Belize is the Central American country that has had the most immigration after independence in the early 1980s. Permanent immigration flows in 2011 stood at about 4.3 per thousand population, about the same relative level as Barbados.

The foreign-born population in 2013 represented 15.3 percent of the total Belizean population, the highest in Central America, with Costa Rica holding a distant second place at 8.6 percent. Guatemalans and Salvadorians account for almost 65 percent of the foreign-born population residing in Belize.

The main destination country for Belizean emigrants is the United States, where almost three-quarters of emigrant Belizeans live. Although the numbers are still very low, Canada (7%) and the Russian Federation (4%) have become emerging destination countries in recent years.

The labor market outcomes for Belizean emigrants in Europe and the United States have been mixed.  While the employment rate among men increased by 7 percentage points, employment among women decreased by 6 points.

Although in absolute numbers Belize receives the smallest amount of remittances in Central America (120 million dollars in 2013), they represented more than 5 percent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). 

Asylum seeking in Belize is extremely low in absolute terms. In 2013, Belize had 52 asylum seeker requests from citizens of El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras, and, in the same year, only 21 refugees resided in the country, all from El Salvador.

The legal framework governing immigration is the Immigration Act (Chapter 156S). A new immigration policy reform is currently being formulated; however, no details are as yet available.

As a Caribbean Community and Common Market (CARICOM) member, Belize allows for the free movement of people among CARICOM country members without the need of a tourist visa. Additionally, under the CARICOM skilled national status, any CARICOM national that wishes to work in Belize can do so by obtaining a Skills Certificate from the country of origin. The Certificate allows any CARICOM national to seek and to engage in employment without the need to obtain a work permit. For Belize, there are nine categories that qualify for free movement: university graduates, media workers, sports persons, artists, musicians, professional nurses, qualified teachers, artisans and holders of an associate degrees or equivalent.  

Recent trends in migrant’s flows and stocks and in labor market outcomes of emigrants

Belize
Migration inflows (foreign nationals) Persons Per 1000 inhabitants Percent change
  2010 2011 2012 2013 2011 2011/2010
Permanent 840 1362 na na 4.3063108637916 62.142857142857
Temporary na na na na na na
Permanent migration inflows (foreign nationals) by type Persons   % distribution      
  2010 2013 2010 2013    
Total 840 1362 100 100    
Temporary migration inflows (foreign nationals) by type Persons   % distribution      
  2010 2013 2010 2013    
  na na na na    
Migration outflows (nationals) Persons       % of total % change
            outflows
From unstandardised destination country data 2009 2010 2011 2012 2012 2012/2009
All countries 1828 1765 1590 1700 100 -7.0021881838074
United States 1511 1343 1234 1219 71.705882352941 -19.324950363997
Mexico 128 217 165 156 9.1764705882353 21.875
Canada 56 65 65 115 6.7647058823529 105.35714285714
Russian Federation 9 12 32 75 4.4117647058824 733.33333333333
Asylum seekers and refugees Per million inhabitants         Number of persons
          Average 2010-2013  
  2010 2011 2012 2013   2013
Inflows of asylum seekers 80.906148867314 101.17617301126 178.97920138246 156.67369689666 129.43380503942 52
Refugees resident in the country 433.6569579288 246.61692171494 86.403752391532 63.272069900572 65 21
Components of population growth Per 1000 inhabitants          
  1985-1990 1990-1995 1995-2000 2000-2005 2005-2010  
Total 25.72 19.7 28.44 26.16 25.3  
Natural increase 31.821 28.816 24.981 22.622 20.601  
Net migration -6.101 -9.116 3.459 3.538 4.699  
Foreign-born population Percentage of the total population       Persons % change
          (thousands)  
  1990 2000 2010 2013 2013 2013/2010
  16.210970824091 15.293437167311 15.022926489412 15.323892738777 50.86 2.0033796316395
Remittances Millions of dollars       % of GDP % change
  2010 2011 2012 2013 2013 2013/2010
  100 107 112 120 7.8 20
Macroeconomic indicators Annual growth in %       Average annual growth Level
  2010 2011 2012 2013 2010-2013 2013
Real GDP 3.3238734332945 2.1039520172634 3.8247477174436 1.5256749229897 2.6945620227478 -
GDP/per capita ((PPP ) in constant 2011 international dollars) 0.78627030702558 -0.37697902881213 1.3321335804271 -0.87252119450424 0.21722591603408 8215
Labour market outcomes of emigrants in Europe and the United States Percentages          
  Men   Women   Total  
  2010-11 2012-13 2010-11 2012-13 2010-11 2012-13
Participation rate 76.76432 80.06216 73.16338 71.51955 74.82542 75.56908
Employment rate 64.73881 72.07857 66.6637 60.38792 65.77525 65.92976
Unemployment rate nr nr nr nr nr nr