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Belize lifts visa requirements for South American, Asia

Published:Friday | December 19, 2014 | 12:00 AM

Belize's Ministry of Immigration and Nationality has lifted visa requirements for nationals of Columbia, Brazil, Japan and South Korea in an effort to facilitate faster entry into the country.

However, this recent decision has led to complaints from locals, who expressed concern about immigration security.

In response, Immigration Minister Godwin Hulse described the complaints as "nonsense".

The minister insisted that as a "sovereign" nation, Belize has the right to decide who it wants to allow into the country and it would not earmark Colombians on the drug-trade issue.

On the issue of drug trafficking, Hulse said that until the lifting of restrictions, Belize was an anomaly where Colombia was concerned, as the European Union and countries in the immediate region do not require visas for travel to and from Columbia.

He also warned against continued stigmatisation of Colombia as a drug-producing nation.

Colombia, Brazil, Japan, and South Korea have now joined the list of nations, now more than 50, whose citizens no longer need visas to travel to Belize.