Requirements 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.
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. Once the employer is registered, it will have the same rights and obligations as a local entity. The law of 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
Background checks on credit to access and/or remain in employment are prohibited.
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.