By Benjamin Flowers
How difficult is it for citizens from Caribbean countries to go and visit the United States?
Caribbean Data and Statistics Services, an agency of the World Bank, has ranked Belize 11 out of 16.
The list, released in late February, showed that the US refused some 30.48 percent of all who applied for a visa in 2015. From 2011-2014 the refusal rate stood at 25.21 percent.
The report also looked at other aspects of immigration, such as an approximate number of Belizeans living in the United States, the average rate of Belizeans who attain permanent residency and citizenship, and number of non-migrants who visit the US annually.
The CSDS study shows that around 48,368, Belizeans or approximately (14.57 percent of the population ( 2014 figures), live in the Unites States and an additional 29,439 make annual visits. Some 1,116 Belizeans (roughly .31 percent of the population (2014 figures) receive permanent residency status each year (0.31 percent (2014 figures)) while 975 become full citizens each year.
Belize was ranked along with Haiti, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, St. Lucia, Suriname, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Dominica, Guyana, Antigua and Barbuda, St. Kitts and Nevis, Barbados and the Bahamas.
Statistically the Bahamas had the lowest refusal rate for US visas (7.40 percent); followed by Barbados (9.54 percent); and tSt. Kitts / Nevis (26.6 percent).
Haiti had the highest refusal rate ( 60.5 percent). In the report, Caribbean Data and Statistics cited difficult economic conditions as one of the primary reasons for people migrating.
“Migration data is one of the most telling indicators of citizenry seeking better living conditions elsewhere,” the CSDs wrote. “The United States in particular has been the epitome of Caribbean migration.”