Belize Achieves Record Employment & Economic Boom in 2023

Belize Economy in 2023

In 2023, Belize achieved record levels of employment. This has, in turn, led to an economic boom and a growing economy. Belize Prime Minister John Briceno announced the monumental accomplishment Belize achieved with a record employment level in 2023. Belize touched an unprecedented 96% employment rate among those seeking jobs.

А kеу fасtоr іn thіѕ ѕuссеѕѕ wаѕ thе іnсrеаѕе іn thе mіnіmum wаgе, whісh роѕіtіvеlу іmрасtеd Веlіzеаnѕ bу increasing thеіr еаrnіng роtеntіаl. There were a number of economic sectors and industries which contributed to the growth. Kеу ѕесtоrѕ іnсludіng tоurіѕm, соnѕtruсtіоn, Вuѕіnеѕѕ Рrосеѕѕ Оutѕоurсіng (ВРО) сеntеrѕ, аnd аgrісulturе hаvе ехреrіеnсеd ѕubѕtаntіаl grоwth, рlауіng а ріvоtаl rоlе іn есоnоmіс dеvеlорmеnt аnd growth of Belize. The growth in Belize’s tourism and key sectors has led to improved employment opportunities, ultimately increasing the rate of employment to record highs.

 

Driving Forces Behind the Economic Boom

In 2023, Belize has seen substantial growth in key sectors such as tourism, construction, business process outsourcing (BPO), and agriculture. These industries have been pillars of the Belize economy, and have been instrumental in driving economic development in Belize and creating job opportunities for Belize citizens. Not only did Belize see record high employment rates in 2023, the economy was further bolstered by a 3.4% GDP growth in the third quarter.

The Belize tourism sector, in particular Ambergris Caye (San Pedro Town), witnessed a significant 27% increase, one of the highest since the end of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Belize Tourism & Investment 

 

Anticipating a Banner Year for Tourism in 2024

Looking towards the future, 2024 is predicted to be a major year for Belize’s tourism industry, with the majority of overnight tourism going to Ambergris Caye & San Pedro Town. Several initiatives and new programs are in the pipeline, which indicates a record year for Belize tourism in 2024. Some of the most recent announcements include a direct JetBlue flight from New York and more frequent flights from the U.S. With additional SouthWest flights from D.C. & Baltimore. As well as extended flights from Canada (Toronto & Calgary) through WestJet. These additional flights and new initiatives are expected to boost the already burgeoning Belize tourism industry.

 

Continued Commitment to Economic Prosperity

In 2024, Belize is looking to enhance quality assurance, infrastructure, and marketing to capitalize on the expected growth. Belize made massive economic strides in 2023, which has created jobs and enhanced the nation’s prosperity.

Aside from the economic gains in 2023, Belize also made significant strides in health care. Belize was certified as malaria-free by the World Health Organisation, joining the ranks of several countries achieving milestones in disease elimination.

Economic growth and record levels of employment were the key takeaways from the Belize 2023 рrоduсtіvіtу rероrt fіndіngѕ. What is more exciting is the growth and opportunity to come as Belize continues to be a focal point of foreign direct investment (especially in the tourism sector). Thе аntісіраtеd grоwth іn tоurіѕm (for 2024), ѕіgnals а ѕtrоng есоnоmу, rеаdу fоr соntіnuеd ѕuссеѕѕ іn thе uрсоmіng уеаr.

 

Contact us for more information on investing in Belize and Belize real estate!

 

Belize Digital Nomad Visa

Belize Digital Nomad Visa

The Belize Digital Nomad Visa is “A Long Stay Visitor Permit” and is a permit granted to any person who intends to stay in Belize for an extended period of time.

Belize is a great destination for digital nomads looking for a tropical paradise to work remotely. The island of Ambergris Caye has some of the fastest internet speeds in the region, with a very reliable network. San Pedro Town, Mahogany Bay Village, and areas of Ambergris Caye have Fibre Optic. Other areas have high-speed LTE service.

The country offers a long-term visa specifically designed for digital nomads, which makes it easy to stay in the country for extended periods of time.

A Long Stay Permit is valid for 6 months after the date issued. The Digital Nomad Visa is done through Immigration, which enables a person and their dependents to remain in Belize for up to 6 months.

The Digital Nomad Visa eliminates the back and forth with immigration every month for a tourist visa extension.

Yes! Belize has a visa suitable for digital nomads called “Work where You Vacation”.

This is Belize’s attempt to attract digital nomads and remote workers from all over the world who want to stay in the country for 6 months, with the opportunity to extend the period.

 

Belize Digital Nomad Visa

The Work Where You Vacation or Long Stay Visitor Permit (Digital Nomad Visa) program includes:

  • Work permits waived for participants
  • Student permits waived for children of participants
  • Special offers on activities, entertainment, and accommodations through “Work Where You Vacation” lodging partners.

 

Belize Digital Nomad Visa Requirements

The documents required to apply for the Belize Digital Nomad Visa are the following:

  • Proof of employment outside of Belize (min. annual income of USD $75,000 for individuals, USD $100,000 for couples/families)
  • A notarized banking reference and statement of account
  • A clear criminal record (no more than 6 months old)
  • A valid passport

 

Belize Digital Nomad Visa Fees

  • USD $500 per Adult.
  • USD $200 per Child

Fees apply to the applicant and any accompanying dependents.

 

Who Qualifies for the Digital Nomad Visa

Applicants who meet the below requirements can apply:

  1. The applicant is a citizen or permanent resident of the European Union, United Kingdom, United States of America, or Canada.
  2. The applicant is employed outside of Belize and
    • has a minimum annual income of USD $75,000 if the person is applying alone or
    • has a minimum annual income of USD $100,000 if the person is applying with dependents.
  3. A person issued a Long Stay Permit shall be entitled to enter and remain in Belize along with their dependents for a period NOT exceeding six months in any calendar year, as stated in the permit.
  4. A person issued a Long Stay Permit or his dependents shall not engage in employment in Belize.
  5. A permit issued by the department under this section shall not be extended.

 

Required Documents

  1. A Job Letter is issued within 30 days of the application if the applicant is employed by another person.
  2. Proof of registration of business and annual tax return if the applicant is self-employed.
  3. Proof of annual income in the amount of at least:
    • USD $75,000, if the person is applying alone; or
    • USD $100,000, if the person is applying with dependents.
  4. Notarized banking reference and Statement of Account.
  5. Police Record from the applicant’s country of residence, issued within six months of application.
  6. Certified copy of the bio-data page of the Applicant’s passport and Certified Copies of the bio-data page of each dependent’s passport.
  7. If the Applicant’s nationality is not in the Approved Countries List but resides in a country that is on the list, then the Applicant must provide Proof of Residence.

 

 

Internet on Ambergris Caye

Internet and connectivity on the island are top of the line with some of the fastest internet speeds in the region. Back in 2017, San Pedro went through significant upgrades. Now the town of San Pedro has some of the fastest internet speeds in Belize. In 2017, Ambergris Caye had a fiber-optic submarine cable installed with connectivity to San Pedro, enabling super-fast broadband speeds to the island of Ambergris Caye.
Since 2017, San Pedro Ambergris Caye has boasted the fastest internet in the country. Super fast Fiber-based Internet up to 130Mbps for home or business.

The Fiber Optic runs from Maskall to Bomba, and from Bomba to the coastline. From there, there is an underground via an SFOC to the island of San Pedro.

Most of Belize has WIFI with an LTE signal. However, there are places that boast stronger, more consistent internet like Ambergris Caye. With the high volume of tourism and the influx of expats that have moved to the country, and Ambergris Caye in particular, the service has improved to meet demand.

There are 2 primary providers of the internet in Ambergris Caye, Belize: SMART & Digi. Digi offers Fiber Optic internet with the fastest speeds. SMART offers reliable internet and is a popular alternative for areas that do not have fiber optic internet. You can see the rates and internet speeds below;

 

SMART Internet


Prices are in Belize Dollars

Digi Internet

Prices are in Belize Dollars

 

About the Belize Digital Nomad Visa

With the growing popularity of the digital nomad lifestyle, Belize is following many countries trying to lure digital nomads with tools and resources to work remotely. The Belize digital nomad visa is part of the Work Where You Vacation program, allowing digital nomads to live in the country for up to six months. It’s open to everyone working for a company based outside of Belize.

While the Belize Digital Nomad visa is only valid for six months, those who wish to extend their stay can apply for an extension. When you get approved for the Belize digital nomad visa, you will receive a permit to live temporarily in Belize. Applicants will also have the option to bring their dependents and spouses.

 

JetBlue Has Officially Started Direct Flights to Belize

JetBlue Direct Flights to Belize

JetBlue Airlines has officially launched its non-stop service connecting New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) to Belize’s Philip S.W. Goldson International Airport (BZE).

JetBlue Announces Non-Stop Flights From New York to Belize

Flight JBU2781 marked the inaugural journey on this new route as it touched down in Belize on Wednesday, December 6! The integral flight from New York carried over 100 passengers on the Airbus A320 aircraft.

Belize is JetBlue’s 26th destination in the Caribbean and Latin America.

Not only is this a new airline route to Belize, but it is also a direct flight from one of the largest international cities in the world, NEW YORK CITY!

This is the first-ever non-stop route from New York JFK Airport to the Central American country of Belize. The new service offers convenient flight times, with departures from New York in the morning and return flights in the early afternoon.

Year-round service will operate round-trip flights on Monday, Wednesday, and Saturday.

 

Year-Round Flights Schedule

  • Monday
  • Wednesday
  • Saturday

Scheduled flight times are the following (all times are local):

  • JFK to BZE: Departs at 8:29 a.m. and arrives at 12:14 p.m.
  • BZE to JFK: Departs at 1:30 p.m. and arrives at 7:00 p.m.

 

 

JetBlue Flight Deals & Promotions

For a limited time, travelers can enjoy special one-way fares for flights between JFK and BZE for $119 on JetBlue’s website. This promotion is only for select dates. But a great way for people to come and enjoy Belize!

JetBlue Belize Flight Deals

 

Belize Tourism Growth & Outlook

Anthony Mahler, Belize’s Minister of Tourism and Diaspora Relations, expressed his enthusiasm and excitement over the new flight and the arrival of a new airline. Celebrating JetBlue’s entry into the Belizean market.

Anthony Mahler emphasized the significant impact it will have on the travel industry in Belize. Improving accessibility is a major driver of Belize tourism.

According to Mahler, this is just the beginning, as efforts are underway to ensure that “the load factors are to where [Jetblue] finds it comfortable,” potentially leading to route expansion and the addition of new destinations and direct flights to Belize.

JetBlue’s non-stop service to Belize not only bridges the gap between the United States and Belize but also promises to be a catalyst for further tourism growth in the region.

Contact us to learn more about investment opportunities and real estate in Belize!

 

 

The Qualified Retirement Program Belize

Belize QRP

The Belize Qualified Retirement Program (QRP) is a special program designed to attract retirees and expatriates to live in Belize. The program offers various benefits to qualified individuals who meet the specified criteria. The Belize Retire & Invest program is also available for people looking to obtain Belize residency and QRP benefits through investment.

Belize offers retirees a lot of upsides: English-Speaking, British Common Law, Low-Tax Jurisdiction, close proximity to home, and warm Caribbean Climate.

The QRP is renowned as the most efficient path to foreign residency anywhere in the Americas and one of the primary reasons Belize is known as one of the best places to retire in the region (Caribbean & Central America) and, indeed, one of the best place to retire in the world.

Once the application process is completed, the program grants the applicant the equivalent of a green card as well as a wide array of other incentives. The benefits include a permanent exemption from all taxes in Belize (estate taxes, income taxes, capital gains taxes, and most import taxes). While the Belize QRP visa offers full-time residency, new residents can enjoy all the QRP benefits without spending the majority of the year in Belize for naturalized residency.

The requirements to successfully enter the Belize Qualified Retirement Program are remarkably simple when compared to residency programs elsewhere in the world.

An exciting new announcement is that the age to qualify for QRP residency is now 40 years old or more (prior to 2023, the age to qualify was 45+).

 

Belize Qualified Retirement Program

The Belize Qualified Retirement Program (QRP) was created to facilitate eligible people who meet the needed requirements, to obtain residency while allowing them an easy way to permanently live and retire and relax in Belize. The QRP is done through the BTB (Belize Tourism Board).

Here are some key points about the Belize QRP:

  1. Eligibility: To qualify for the Belize QRP, an individual must be at least 40 years old and be able to demonstrate a consistent income from a pension or annuity of at least $2,000 per month. This income must be derived from a source outside of Belize.
  2. Benefits: Participants in the QRP enjoy several benefits, including:
    • Exemption from Belizean taxes on income derived from sources outside Belize.
    • Import duty and tax exemptions on personal and household items, as well as a vehicle.
    • No restrictions on the repatriation of income or capital.
  3. Application Process: The application process for the Belize QRP involves submitting various documents, including proof of age, financial statements, and a police record. Applicants are also required to provide evidence of their pension or annuity income.
  4. Income Requirement: As of my last knowledge update in January 2022, the minimum income requirement for the QRP was $2,000 per month. However, it’s essential to check for any updates or changes in the program’s requirements, as these may have been adjusted.
  5. Renewal: QRP status is typically granted for one year initially and can be renewed annually. Participants must continue to meet the eligibility criteria to maintain their QRP status.
  6. Residency Requirements: QRP participants are not required to spend a specific amount of time in Belize, making it attractive for those who want to maintain a part-time or seasonal residence.
  7. Real Estate Investment: While there is no specific requirement to invest in real estate to qualify for the QRP, many participants choose to purchase property in Belize. The Belize real estate market can be an attractive option for those looking to retire in a tropical location.
  8. Community Integration: Many QRPs choose to become involved in local communities or join expatriate communities in Belize. This can provide a sense of community and support for individuals who are new to the country.

As regulations and program details can change, it’s important to check with the Belize Tourism Board or other official sources for the most up-to-date information on the Qualified Retirement Program in Belize.

Learn more about the QRP and the Retire & Invest Program below;

Belize Retire & Investment Residency

Belize QRP Program

 

Belize Retirement & Investment Residency Program

Belize Retirement & Investment Residency

Belize is recognized as a popular tourist destination and continues to grow in popularity. Belize is considered to be a great spot for investors, retirees, and expats looking for a country to live, work, and invest. Hence, the Qualified Retired Person Incentive Program (QRP) was developed to fast-track residency for those who qualify. For the QRP program for retirement and investment residency, a person must be 40 years or older to apply.

The BTB (Belize Tourism Board) has introduced a new program that allows QRP holders and people applying for QRP to invest in Belize and conduct business in Belize more freely. QRP Members will be entitled to carry on business in Belize with approval if the Member meets the following qualifications:

  • A Business Plan.
  • Proof of Investment of at least 1 Million Belize dollars (US$500,000).
  • If the person has resided in Belize for at least 90 non-consecutive days.
  • The Business must employ at least five Belizean citizens.

 

Retire & Invest Program Benefits

A QRP Member granted approval to carry on business in Belize will be eligible for the following:

  • Permanent residency after designation as a QRP for five (5) years;
  • For the grant of any other license or permit necessary for carrying on business in Belize;
  • Practice philanthropy in Belize.

Travel Belize BTB Retire & Invest

Application & Requirements

 

QRP Retire & Invest Residency Program

A Qualified Retired Person who desires to obtain QRP status for investment or to carry on business in Belize shall apply directly to the Belize Tourism Board for approval. An application shall be submitted in writing and accompanied by the following:

  1. Detailed Business Plan – A formal written document outlining the goals of the business, methods for attaining goals, and the timeframe for achieving goals. The business plan MUST include but is not limited to the following:
    1. The Executive Summary.
    2. Company Description.
    3. Marketing Plan.
    4. Financial Plan.
    5. And Business Plan.
  2. Proof of Investment Capital of at least one million dollars (BZD) $500,000 US. – Original or certified copies of international bank statements, investment account statements issued by a financial institution, and official letters from a financial institution confirming the availability of funds MUST be provided.
  3. Must show proof of having resided in Belize for a minimum of 90 non-consecutive days.

 

Opening a Business with the Retire & Invest Program

Every Qualified Retired Person who is granted approval to carry on business in Belize under the new program is required to;

  • Employ at least 5 Belizean Citizens.
  • Within 12 months of approval to carry on business in Belize, submit to the BTB proof of employment of at least 5 Belizean Citizens.
  • Within 18 months of approval to carry on business in Belize, submit proof of business operation to the Belize Tourism Board.

A Qualified Retired Person granted approval to conduct business in Belize shall be eligible.:

  • For the grant of any other license or permit necessary for carrying on business in Belize.

One of the major draws is the fact that a person does not have to be residing in Belize in order to apply for the QRP Retire & Invest Program.

 

Application Requirements

A Qualified Retired Person who desires to carry on business in Belize shall apply in writing to the Belize Tourism Board for approval accompanied by the following.

  • Business Plan [including employment of 5 Belizean Citizens].
  • Proof of Investment Capital [minimum of one million Belize dollars or $500,000 US].
  • Proof of Residing in Belize for over 90 days [passport pages showing the applicant has resided in Belize for at least 90 non-consecutive days].

A Qualified Retired Person granted approval to carry on business in Belize shall:

  • Employ Belizean Citizens [minimum of 5 Belize citizens].
  • Submit proof of employment of Belizeans to the BTB [within 12 months of approval].
  • Submit proof of business operation [within 18 months of approval].
  • Pay full duties and taxes on any business carried out in Belize.

 

BTB Retire & Invest Incentive

The Belize Tourism Board manages the Belize QRP and Retire & Invest programs.

The QRP is renowned as the most efficient path to foreign residency anywhere in the Americas and one of the primary reasons Belize is known as one of the best places to retire in the region (Caribbean & Central America) and, indeed, one of the best place to retire in the world.

Once the application process is completed, the program grants the applicant the equivalent of a green card and various other incentives. The benefits include a permanent exemption from all taxes in Belize (estate taxes, income taxes, capital gains taxes, and most import taxes).

While the Belize QRP visa offers full-time residency, new residents can enjoy all the QRP benefits without spending the majority of the year in Belize for naturalized residency.

The requirements to successfully enter the Belize Qualified Retirement Program are remarkably simple compared to residency programs elsewhere in the world.

 

Check out the BTB & Travel Belize for more information on the new QRP Retire & Invest Program and how to apply.

Contact us if you have additional questions regarding Belize residency, investing in Belize, or living in Belize. We look forward to working with you!