Basically, working in Belize is difficult. It is a poor, underdeveloped country that lacks industry and has a high unemployment rate. Over eleven per cent of the working population is without employment. For that reason the Belizean government and Labour Ministry are very protective of local jobs. It is a government policy that almost no unskilled work can be given to a foreigner. To work you must have a valid work permit.
To protect the local job market foreigners applying for work permits have to show a least six months residency in the country and their application must come from an employer who is willing to employ them and prove why a national can’t do that particular job. This situation can suit professional people or those with technical qualifications, as many of these emigrate to find better pay and conditions.
The second type of work permit is called the Temporary Self-employed. This is basically for people who wish to settle in Belize and open a business. There isn’t any residency requirement for this. You need permission from the ministry under which the work falls and proof of sufficient funds. This is easier because it is assumed that the business will generate future jobs for local people.
Like most places, especially small places, finding work largely depends on who you know, not what you know. Even the many volunteers in Belize need work permits, but because of their status the organizations they work for sort out the permits for them. If you wish to offset the costs of a vacation you can go for one the work-exchange systems offered.