Labour CEO urges employers to refrain from hiring illegal workers

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Updated: January 24, 2017

Eleven immigrants, who apparently entered Belize illegally, were brought to court yesterday to be charged with failure to produce a visitor’s permit. But the charges were not read to them because the immigration officer who represented the prosecution had not put the charges together properly. As a result, they were taken back to the holding cell at Queen Street Police Station. The issue is of a much grander scale, with the new fiscal year promising to be a difficult one; will the hiring of illegal immigrants affect Belizean households? That’s the question we put to the Chief Executive Officer in the Ministry of Labour, Kerry Belisle.

Kerry Belisle – CEO, Ministry of Labour, Local Government and Rural Development

“The solutions for the kinds of problems that affect us in that regard is in fact a tripartite solution so that where there are illegal immigrants there are private sector actors, there are business people who are hiring them so while we can implement policies and do our best that there is a system to control the flow of employees and those policies are intended to protect our own Belizean workers but it is also important that employers take a stand and perhaps think twice before they employ those persons who are not properly documented in the country.”

Reporter

“Is the ministry maybe being too lenient on these sort of situations?”

Kerry Belisle – CEO, Ministry of Labour, Local Government and Rural Development

“I don’t think so. Like I said I think the matters of enforcement in that regard really are a matter of immigration issues as well but are broader than just simply labor issues so I don’t know that it’s fair to say that there hasn’t been a proper enforcement. I think that has been done but that is something that maybe can be discussed by some other Ministry we don’t enforce and arrest, those are not our powers.”

The immigrants were picked up at a construction site by immigration officers and apparently they were not in possession of visitor’s permits nor work permits.