On Tuesday we had reported on the very long morning lines at the Northern Border due to a change in rules for Free Zone workers who are now required to obtain Belize border passes to traverse through to the Free Zone to get to work. For years, the workers have used a Free Zone pass but Immigration Department implemented the new requirement.
As we reported, on Saturday a number of the Free Zone workers were caught by surprise that the Free Zone pass would no longer be used, and many of them remained stranded at the border. Today the Immigration and National Services Department issued a release which claimed that the decision to implement the new pass was done following months of consultation with and notification to the Free Zone management. The release doesn’t explain the purpose for the change, but seeks to deflect the blame for the bottlenecks and long lines which the new rule has created. The release explained in April major business establishments had been notified that the card was available.
The release also explains that there are also new provisions for special cards to foreigners who were holders of the Temporary Employment Permits and Permanent Residents who were also employed in the zone.