90 days’ grace for employers and employees to get their papers in order
As of September 28 and led by President Luis Abinader, Dominican immigration authorities will give 90 days’ grace to companies and private employers whose employees need to get their immigration status in order. As a resident, your ID card authorizes you to work in the Dominican Republic. Working without an ID card could lead to hefty fines the equivalent of 5 to 30 paychecks. If an employer pays 30,000 pesos, for example, the fine could be anything between 150,000 and 900,000 pesos.
Local lawyer Maria Abreu recommends that those without an ID card apply for temporary residency as soon as possible.
Under your residency status, whether it be via the standard or fast-track channel, you can obtain an ID card and in turn work. You can then apply for permanent residency if you have the intention of staying in the country. Temporary and permanent residency both allow you to work in the DR.
If you are going to the DR specifically because you have been offered a job by a local company, your employment contract will be the basis for starting the application for a different type of residency; namely, a work-dependent residency called RT-3. When this work-dependent residency status is granted, maintaining that status will depend on you either continuing in your existing job or switching to a new job should you wish; either way, you need to remain in employment in order for your residency to exist.
Unfortunately, many expat forums on social networks show posts where expats comment that having your papers in order is not necessary as the authorities seldom enforce the law. Seldom enforcing the law does not render the law null. The law continues to exist. You never know when the State is going to start enforcing the law. When living within the realms of the law, you do not have to worry about unexpected enforcement.
As is the case in most countries, every new Government enters office with big ideas and reforms are often made. If you are adhering to the existing law at the time of the reform, the change will likely not affect you as it will take into consideration people’s actual situation if legal. However, if you are not living or working legally, the reform will likely not take you into consideration.
Maria Abreu is the CEO and Managing Attorney of Abreu & Associates, a law firm practicing exclusively in Dominican Republic Immigration and Nationality law. She is also the founder of Retire and Invest DR. This organization hosts conference events for foreigners interested in living, retiring, and investing in the DR. You can contact Maria at: [email protected]