Beach Club Well Under Way:
In our tour photo album last month we shared pictures of the platforms that will be used to support our tent hotel, as well as the clearing for the beach club and pool. As of this writing, Sanctuary Belize approved builder Robert Kathman and Terry Tattersall of Eco Building Technologies/Eco Pool and Spa have started excavating the site and have installed pilings that will be used to support the pool base. All of the equipment, pipes, hoses, etc. are in Belize, and completion, weather-permitting, is expected within 90 days. We have attached a conceptual image of the pool area to give you a glimpse of the finished product!
Contractor Chosen for Cement Slab Retaining Walls at Marina:
As of last month, we have contracted with a local business that will be providing the reinforced concrete slab that will be used to create the retaining walls at the marina. The slabs will be created offsite and installed post-production, which will give us more flexibility with time and weather to get the walls done and keep the marina opening on schedule. We expect the arrival in a couple weeks of a vibratory hammer which should greatly increase the rate at which we can complete this project.
We were excited to have an enthusiastic group of guests join us this weekend on our September tour to see our hard work in person. Our October tour is filling up quickly, but we still have space left. Please contact our Newport Beach office soon to reserve your place!
Tom and Patricia Herskowitz were clear on one thing when they first decided to visit Sanctuary Belize in March of 2010: they would not make any decision on investing and retiring overseas until they had also visited Panama and Costa Rica.
They had originally started their search for a retirement destination with the knowledge that they wanted to buy land in a place with existing infrastructure in a master-planned community, somewhere close to the sea where they could dock a boat. After a short time searching they decided to visit Sanctuary Belize as their first due diligence stop.
Tom's career as a real estate attorney, as well as his experience in hotel development left him immediately impressed with the scope and vision of Sanctuary Belize. He could see that the critical elements of success were in place: a common law nation where the government couldn't seize back the land without due process; a local partner who wouldn't cut and run at the first sign of trouble; a development team with the integrity to follow through on their plans; and the availability of roads, water, and electricity that would allow them to live on their property should the development plans be delayed.
As an adjunct professor of Spanish who lived in Mexico for 8 years, Patricia was excited by the fact that she could still use Spanish even though English is the official language. With their three kids almost all out of the house, she loved the idea of relocating to a tropical destination and enticing her children and their friends to visit on Spring Break. She also enjoys natural living and loved Belize's emphasis on holistic health and a relaxed lifestyle.
Meeting Johnny Usher was a high point for both Tom and Patricia. Even though the lot that caught their eye in the Estate Lots was a prime lot with canal access and an enticing resale price tag, "Johnny encouraged us not to rush," recalls Tom, "He advised us to spend some time touring the surrounding areas and make sure that we were comfortable with Belize and the areas around the development."
After a few days of sightseeing, they returned to the development, reminding each other of their agreement not to purchase without visiting other countries. "Except," Tom mused, "I doubt that a lot like this will be available in another three months when we're back from Panama and Costa Rica..." That was all the encouragement Patricia needed, and the Herskowitzes left Sanctuary Belize the proud owners of Estate Lot 98.
A year and a half later, Tom and Patricia are under construction on their new home under the experienced hand of Robert Kathman and Eco Building Technologies. It features three buildings: a main living area with master bedroom and office, a bedroom building with rooms for their three kids, and a guest house for the many friends that will be visiting. They are eager to finish their boat slip at the end of this year, at which point they will be sailing to Belize in a 40-foot sailboat from the British Virgin Islands with Tom's brother and wife.
Visitors to Sanctuary Belize will spot the new construction on the canal immediately. If all goes according to plan, this time next year visitors will be able to wave at Tom and Patricia as they work in their organic vegetable garden or relax in their outdoor living space. You can hear the anticipation in Tom's voice as he says, "I have never seen Patricia as excited about anything as she is about our adventure in Belize!"
For many people considering relocating to Belize either full- or part-time, finding a livelihood is a reality to take into consideration. Although the government of Belize is very friendly to foreign investors, navigating the waters of obtaining approval to work in Belize tends to be somewhat more complicated.
The government works very hard to protect local jobs; as such, it is almost unheard of for a non-national to gain approval for any jobs in the farming, restaurant serving, or retail arenas. Employers are required to exhaust all avenues of hiring a local before they hire a non-national, including advertising the job publicly for three weeks and proving that none of the applicants had the skills necessary to qualify them for the job.
If approval to hire a non-national is obtained, an application must be submitted for a work permit. These temporary employment permits are issued annually and are non-renewable, therefore a new application must be made every year. These permits can cost between USD$250 and upwards of USD$1,250 depending on the employment concerned, and most often this is covered by the employer. They can take anywhere from two weeks to three months for approval and require application to the Immigration Department (formerly the Department of Labor). The applicant is not allowed to work until the work permit is issued and they will need to pay up to USD$50 per month during the visa renewal period.
An easier way to achieve approval to work in Belize is to apply for a temporary self-employment permit. These are generally approved more easily as it is assumed that jobs for Belizeans will be created in the meantime. You must be able to prove adequate funds to run your business as well as submitting your application to the Immigration Department.
Those coming into Belize under the Qualified Retired Persons program are not eligible for either of these work permits; their income must be foreign-sourced in order to be approved for the program. These guidelines are subject to change, and the best plan of action for those wanting to work in Belize is to visit the Immigration Department in Belmopan to ensure that all current requirements are met.