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01. Hiring Practices

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Dominican Republic

01. Hiring Practices

Requirement for Foreign Employees to Work

Provided that at least 80% of a company’s workforce must be Dominican, the Labour Code allows for the employment of foreigners in the Dominican Republic. Apart from this limitation, foreign employers and employees receive the same treatment as Dominicans since their immigration status cannot be grounds for discrimination. However, under Dominican immigration law, employers who hire illegal immigrants can be penalised.

The employer could also not fulfill its obligation to contribute to the Dominican Social Security System on behalf of employees with immigration difficulties, since the system requires the correct identification of workers through a legally obtained identity card.

The requirements to request a temporary residence permit for the purpose of employment (with a formal contract) are established in article 48 of Regulation 631-11 for the application of Law 285-04,3, which are:

  • Undergo a medical examination authorised by the General Directorate of Migration, in which the interested party must present the following documentation:
    • two copies of the passport duly issued by the competent authority; and
    • a copy of the Temporary Resident Visa granted by the Dominican Consulate in the country of origin of the person requesting it.
  • Two copies of the passport photo.
  • Two copies of the Resident or Work Visa (NM1) granted by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs through the Dominican Consulate in the country of origin or residence and a copy of the entry through the immigration control post.
  • Temporary residence application form, duly completed by the foreigner, whose signature and fingerprints will be taken in the presence of an immigration officer.
  • Birth certificate duly apostilled or legalised and translated into Spanish if it is in another language.

Does a Foreign Employer need to Establish or Work through a Local Entity to Hire an Employee?

No, a foreign employer does not need to establish a local entity to hire workers. The foreign employer must present a local address to be registered in the Dominican Republic. The registry includes the Commercial Registry and the National Registry of Contributions. Once the employer is registered, it will have the same rights and obligations as a local entity.

Law 479, issued in December 2008 on Commercial Companies and Individual Limited Liability Companies, recognises equality between foreign and local companies. Therefore, it will not require foreign entities to provide any type of surety bond or insurance when seeking legal action in local courts.

In this sense, if a foreign company wishes to establish permanent operations in the Dominican Republic by creating a branch, it does not need to set up a Dominican company. Another benefit is that a foreign company can freely repatriate the Dominican Republic’s net earnings without any restrictions.

Limitations on Background Checks

Resolution 02/2015 of the Ministry of Labour prohibits background checks on credit to access and/or remain in employment.

In the Dominican Republic, an employer cannot conduct a criminal background check on a candidate, either directly or through a vendor. Only the candidate can obtain the criminal record and then provide it to the employer. The criminal record shows if the applicant has been convicted of a felony.

Under the current labour laws, it is forbidden to carry out medical examinations to determine if a candidate is pregnant or has HIV.

Restrictions on Application/Interview Questions

Employers cannot restrict applications in such a way that may lead to discrimination of any kind, based on sex, age, political or religious beliefs. The employer is free to ask a candidate whatever questions it deems appropriate in all stages of the hiring process. There is almost no limitation to the scope of these questions from a legal point of view, except for the pregnancy status of working women or other information that may imply a discriminatory practice.

Any questions

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