Finding a job in the Dominican Republic

Work in the Dominican Republic
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Updated 2022-04-25 14:22

If you are looking for a job in the Dominican Republic, here are some tips and suggestions to help you. Job hunting can be quite different here than what you are used to, so hopefully, this article enables you to gain more perspective about your options. 

If you want to do any kind of work in the Dominican Republic, remember that you must have a residence or work visa.

While it is true that many people still work without a residence or work visa, it is illegal, and the government is getting stricter about it. So we would definitely advise against it as there are plenty of options for you once you have legal resident status.

The job landscape in the DR

For many years the Dominican Republic has made a name for it exporting many goods. In recent developments, their agricultural sector has been surpassed by the service sector, which is now the one with the most employees. This is partly because of their free tax zones and the country's growing tourism industry.

Most exports are sent to the US, and their tourists make up 7% of the nation's GDP.

Since the economy crashed for about five years between 2010 and 2015, the country had to recover for a while and did a great job. Many foreign investors and entrepreneurs, as well as expats, have shown interest in the Dominican Republic and made it their central business hotspot, which let the once broken economy skyrocket again. A big part of the change was also the 2012 formed tax reform that offered a high number of tax incentives to foreign investors, making the DR a very attractive place for business.

The country's current labor market situation looks like this:

The unemployment rate has been at the lowest since the year 2012, at only 13.3%, compared to 15% in 2014. The minimum wage is around 6000 Pesos Dominicanos per month if you're an employee of the service sector (government), which would be around 125 USD. In the Zona Franca (Free trade zone), you can earn about 8350 Dominican Pesos, making it a desirable employer paying 175 USD a month. If you're a farmer or in another position in the agricultural sector, your daily payment will be less than 5 USD for a full day of work (10 hours) or 234 Dominican Pesos.

Find a job in the Dominican Republic

As usual, networking is one of the easiest ways to find a job, but additionally, there are several online publications with job offers in the Dominican Republic. In addition, you can apply directly to international companies based in the country or NGOs. Foreign embassies, especially the U.S. Embassy, also employ expatriates from their land.

There are also lists of international schools, and Free Zone companies on the DR1 forum has a job board. In any case, be sure to update your CV in accordance with local standards.

Consider getting your resume reviewed by a professional before you hand it in.

Additionally, you can hire an agent to help you find a job beforehand if you don't have the time or don't know where to start looking for opportunities.

Important:

It is essential that you have at least some working knowledge of Spanish before trying to find a job in the Dominican Republic. Your resume should be written in English and Spanish.

Salary expectations and labor regulations

Dominican salaries are typically paid every 15 days, and it is usual that 10% of taxes are deducted. If you earn less than the personal tax limit, currently around USD$800 per month, you can claim this at the tax office.

According to Dominican labor law, you should receive two weeks of paid vacation a year and an additional month of salary just before Christmas. According to Dominican labor law, if your employer fires you, you must pay what is known as liquidation, which is one month's salary for each year you have worked plus a percentage of your vacation and Christmas pay.

Work options

You have many different options when it comes to working in the Dominican Republic.

Most people in the Dominican Republic (around 64% of the population) are employees of the government and service-related sector. Another 15% work in agriculture and 22% people in manufacturing (which is one of the primary industry sectors in the DR.)

Still, as this article focuses on expats, we have gathered the most common areas for this group:

Working online

Many expats work online for companies all over the world. The work ranges from writing, translating, managing, and designing websites or entering data. Working online is not one of the categories to obtain residency, nor a work visa, so to obtain the first one, you must qualify under another category (such as being the spouse of a Dominican citizen, or receiving a pension, for example). Full details are available in our article about general visa requirements for the Dominican Republic.

Work in “Zona Franca” or Call Center

The free tax zones are responsible for creating many jobs and granting competitiveness to their due countries while their investment grows. The Dominican Republic is considered a great example of this commercial modality in the Latin American continent. A few years ago, documents in the Free Trade Zones Association (AZFA) showed the country's leadership in the Latin American list, with the most significant hiring employees via direct contracts, adding about 160,000 and millions of dollars in the export sector. Until then (2017), it already had more than 70 industrial parks, making up 672 companies. From the beginning, the agreement of the public and private sectors generated admiration in the rest of the continent.

The facilitation of processes by the government contributed to the integral development of the industry. Most of the Free Zones are owned by expats and are manufacturers of tools, footwear, clothing, and jewelry.

In addition, there are several call centers that hire native English speakers. These jobs are pretty easy to find and are all over the country, as there are Free Zones in most large cities. Salaries are not that high, and they don't usually reach $1,000 a month, which is still considerably more than a regular paycheck in the Dominican Republic.

According to sources used by the government sites of the Dominican Republic, it is stated that the call centers have the capacity to produce more than 60,000 jobs as of 2019. They also revealed the lack of trained human capital to achieve this objective; personnel who are fluent in the English language.

Although the economic situation and low competition are beneficial factors when occupying a job, salaries do not cover the financial demand suggested by a family's expenses. In the free trade zones area, many young people can join them as their first job and earn salaries of RD $ 25,000 and RD $ 27,000, plus various incentives granted by the industry and the state.

Considering the experience gained, the family support of a young person represents more feasible employment and better job opportunities for young people.

Being of legal age and knowing English, they get a formal job that, added to the incentives, is well-paid compared to most other young people, which allows them to afford studies and help at home.

Expat contract

The experience in the Dominican Republic is not far from everyday experience around the world. The variety of backgrounds, as always, is notorious; and there will be no shortage of people who had a bad experience in their job search. It is also advised to conduct a search pre-arrival in the Dominican Republic as in any country.

Like most of the world's capitals, Santo Domingo is an expensive place to live, with a higher cost of living, the highest in the country. However, there are options such as the city of Santiago with a superb range of alternatives for foreigners with a low budget because the rents are relatively cheap and the cost of the family basket is accessible.

As for salaries, they will depend on the position that the person has, as well as his experience and knowledge. Generally, in the country, a regular employee is paid a low salary, although whoever has better expertise will be able to negotiate more beneficial wages. Because of this, at Expat, we recommend that you try to find a job even before deciding to move to the Dominican Republic. This will help you get better opportunities to earn adequate salaries and afford an excellent place to reside.

From a financial point of view, the expat contract is the best type of job you can have, as these packages pay much more, including paid return trips to the country of origin, and usually offer a generous accommodation allowance.

There are several multinational companies in the Dominican Republic, especially in telecommunications, NGOs, the United Nations, the World Bank, and Canadian mining companies.

Own business

Many expats set up their own businesses in the Dominican Republic. They usually, but not always, cater to the expat market, such as restaurants, bars, and real estate in expat areas, or cater to tourists. The latter includes bars and restaurants in areas of hotels that are not all-inclusive, in addition to tourism companies, car rental, or travel agencies.

Real estate

The field of real estate belongs to one of the most profitable in the Dominican Republic due to the country's growing development and growth. When we talk about real estate, we refer to a building, land, or other related, and the term explains something fixed on the ground. In recent years many international construction companies and real estate businesses have started to build in the Dominican Republic. The market is still relatively young, though, and hence it is not yet oversaturated and full of possibilities. Looking at the latest statistics, the country's economy is blossoming and is expected to grow more over the next few years.

Its GDP rose more than 6% in 2018, making it one of the top-growing economies in Latin American countries. Furthermore, the Dominican Republic has many tax incentives to offer, which attract international investors even more. Also, it is considered to be a very stable nation politically speaking, which is why your investment money should be a safe bet.

Other sources for investment and jobs in the Dominican Republic

The country has a very favorable climate for private investment in various energy-related projects, with facilities provided by the state for both conventional production projects and those based on alternative sources.

Solar Photovoltaic Energy

The entire national territory has an estimated capacity of about 50,000 MW due to its geographical position in the Caribbean and the splendid levels of solar radiation. Currently, its use for power generation totals more than 70 MW, positioning self-production as an essential development branch based on the Distributed Generation Regulation.

International schools

Several expats hold teaching positions in international schools across the country. They are located in the capital Santo Domingo, as well as in Santiago, the second-largest city. International schools can also be found in other expat areas such as Las Terrenas, Sosua and Puerto Plata, and Punta Cana/Bavaro. Although a teaching qualification is preferred, it is not essential, and the pay is better than in the Free Zones, and accommodation is often, although not always, provided.

Also, you can always try to find a position as a private teacher or offer language training. This could be an excellent option for working with companies to teach their employees English, for example.

Other work

There are also other jobs available, specifically in hotels, in administration or guest services, property management, diving, or other expat-focused or tourism-related businesses.

Also interesting if you have a professional medical background is to search for job offers in hospitals or start your own practice. Medical staff is always needed in the Dominican Republic and will be welcomed with open arms.

Useful links:

Forbes article – Work in the Dominican Republic

Job opportunities in DR

Pro Dominicana

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