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Work in the Dominican Republic

Work in the Dominican Republic.

The Dominican Republic is a beautiful country with clean beaches and a large expat population. It’s the second-largest country in the Caribbean and has a population of over 10 million. While it is growing into a popular expat destination for plenty of reasons, one big one is because it offers helpful benefits for retirees. However, if you are looking for the option to work, there are a couple of routes you can take.


Residence Visa

The Dominican Republic doesn’t require a work permit and doesn’t offer a work visa. In order to work abroad in this country, you simply have to be a resident. Becoming a resident is a relatively straightforward process, as long as you can handle the significant amount of paperwork. If you’re eager to begin work, apply for a temporary residence visa from the Dominican Republic consulate in your current country, and then you can apply for the permanent residence permit once you get to the Dominican Republic. You can do this at the Department of Migration within 60 days of arriving.

Your temporary residency permit is valid for one full year, and after renewing this for five years you can apply for permanent residency. During your time as a temporary resident, you may still work abroad in the country.

It may be difficult, however, to find work – especially if you don’t speak Spanish. The unemployment level is high (but at a record low for the country), while the economy is improving, and competition is high. Unless you have a rather specific special skill, you might prefer to line up your job in the DR before you head over, to be on the safe side. Remember that wages are very low in this country, so you’re not likely to find something that pays enough to live off of. This would more likely be a way to pass the time if you like to stay busy or want some extra spending cash on the side.


Starting a Business

The Dominican Republic has become a hub for foreign entrepreneurs over recent years. While there is no business visa to speak of, you can come over with any form of residency and start a business. As with other aspects of residency in this country, there will be a lot of paperwork involved. Temporary residency takes about three to six months for approval.

To start your business and work for yourself in this country, you’ll have to first verify the name of your company on the Oficina Nacional de la Propiedad Industrial (ONAPI) website. This will ensure that the name isn’t already taken. Next, you’ll have to pay some incorporation fees and register the company with a local address at the Chamber of Commerce. You’ll need several documents for this procedure, then you’ll need to register for tax revenues at the National Taxpayers Registrar.

If hiring locals, register with the Ministry of Labor, and finally, register all employees with the Social Security Treasury. Once all of these steps are complete, you’re ready to run your overseas business!


Job Landscape & Economy

The Dominican Republic has long been known for its many exports, but in recent years the service sector has surpassed the agriculture sector as the economy’s largest employer, thanks to construction, tourism, and free trade zones. If you can’t speak Spanish, you are likely to still find work in the tourism or IT fields or at a call center. For most other types of jobs, you’ll be required to know the language.

Approximately half of the Dominican Republic’s exports go to the United States. That and the high tourism that also comes from the U.S. makes up seven percent of the country’s GDP. While the economy took a hit in a recession from 2010 to 2015, it is picking itself back up and growing now as a haven for expats and foreign entrepreneurs. The tax reform package of 2012 played a leading role in this changeover, as it made tax benefits highly competitive when compared to those of other countries. Here’s a rundown of the country’s overall situation:

  • Unemployment Rate: 13.3% (lowest since 2012 – it hit 15% in 2014)
  • Minimum Wage: 5884 Dominican pesos per month in the public sector ($123 USD), 8,310 Dominican pesos per month in free trade zones ($174 USD), and 234 pesos per day for farmers working 10 hour days ($4.90 USD)
  • Major Industries:
    • Agriculture, cement, food processing, metal refining, mining, petroleum products, textiles, tobacco, tourism
  • Labor Force:
    • Agriculture 11.3%
    • Industry 32.2%
    • Services 56.5% (thanks to tourism)

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