U.S. bars Belize from seasonal worker visas

By on January 18, 2018

 

U.S Homeland Security

U.S Homeland Security

Belmopan, CAYO. January 18, 2018. The United States Department of Homeland Security today announced that Belize no longer qualifies for visas for seasonal and farm workers.

Known as temporary of H-2A and H-2B visas, the reason for Belize being removed from eligibility was cited by DHS as “because the country is not complying with the U.S. anti-trafficking laws.”

In the 2017 Trafficking in Persons Report, note that “the Government of Belize does not fully meet the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking and is not making significant efforts to do so; therefore, Belize remained on Tier 3.”

The reported also noted that “despite the lack of significant efforts, the government took some steps to address trafficking, including the identification of two trafficking victims; and the investigations of 10 trafficking cases and two continued prosecutions initiated in a previous year. However, the government did not begin any new prosecutions or convict any traffickers. The government did not investigate or prosecute any public officials for alleged complicity in human trafficking-related offenses, despite reports of a significant level of official complicity. Despite the government’s raids on commercial sex establishments, few trafficking crimes were uncovered due to limited intelligence-gathering, inconsistent application of formal victim identification procedures, and suspected complicity among some law enforcement officials.”

According to U.S. media reports, the temporary visas “allow businesses to bring in workers from other countries. The H-2A visa is for agriculture and the H-2B is for non-agricultural seasonal work in places such as resorts.” [NBCNEWS.COM]

Belize joins Haiti and Samoa among the countries that are now ineligible for the temporary visa program in the United States.

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