The Dominican Republic has had a net negative rate of migration in the last few decades.
For the year 2013, the number of permanent and temporary immigrants who arrived in the Dominican Republic was just over 4,000 persons, while in 2012, more than 70,000 Dominicans left to reside outside the country. The foreign born population represented 3.9% of the total population in 2013, above the 1.4% average for the Caribbean region.
The United States is the most important destination country for Dominicans, receiving some 67% of its emigrants, followed by Spain, Chile and Italy. As is the case in several countries of the region, emigration to developed countries has decreased while increasing to other countries of the Latin American and Caribbean region. Since the year 2009, emigration to the United States and Italy has fallen some 14% and 23%, respectively. In the same period, the number of Dominicans who left for Chile increased by a factor of almost eight.
The outcomes of Dominicans in the labor markets of Europe and the United States worsened slightly between 2010 and 2013. Unemployment among Dominicans increased by around half of a percentage point; among women, the increase was more significant, more than 2 percentage points.
The Dominican Republic received 3.3 billion dollars in remittances in 2013, an increase of 5.5% relative to the previous year. Remittances have gradually increased since 2009 and currently are equal to 5% of the country’s Gross Domestic Product.
The Dominican Republic received only 11 asylum requests in 2013, from Cuba, Iran and Sri Lanka. There are some 716 refugees residing in the country, mainly from Haiti and Cuba.
In 2013, according to the country’s migration records, the Dominican Republic received 3,293 Dominicans who were repatriated from the United States. In 2014, a unit to help reintegrate repatriated persons (the “Unidad de Reinserción de Repatriados”) was inaugurated, with the goal of offering support and guidance to repatriated citizens to become socially reintegrated.
A significant percentage of Haitian immigrants who live in the country do not have identity documents from their country of origin. According to the General Immigration Office, only 11,000 Haitian immigrants are legally registered in the country.
In 2011, the Application Decree of the General Law of Migration No. 285-04 (passed in 2004) was approved. Among the notable provisions of the decree is the requirement of a five-year period of residence on a temporary permit before a migrant can be considered eligible for permanent residence. Exceptions are investors, pensioners and retirees, who can receive the right of permanent residence upon entry.
In 2013, the Constitutional Court decided that the children of persons in transit, in a strictly legal and migratory sense, may not benefit from ius soli to acquire Dominican nationality.
That same year, the National Regularization Plan for foreigners in the Dominican Republic in an irregular situation was established. The Plan establishes the basic criteria (foreigner’s time of residence in the country, ties to Dominican society, as well as employment and socio-economic conditions) for regularization, under one of the categories established in the General Law of Migration. In addition, it creates follow-up mechanisms to process the different immigration categories (permanent, temporary or non-immigrant residence), for persons who must comply with this regulation.
Criteria that show ties to Dominican society include: having children born in the country, having studied in the country, knowing how to speak and write in Spanish, having a fixed address, living with a person of Dominican nationality. Applicants must not have a criminal background.
Applicants are deemed to have employment and/or socioeconomic status within the country if they have proof of an educational degree, real estate or personal property, bank accounts or commercial references, employment during the time of stay, or a certified technical occupation.
The foreigner who wishes to be regularised must make a request within a period of 18 months of the National Plan’s enactment. Foreigners who do not do so may choose assisted repatriation, failing which they would be subject to deportation.
The Law of Naturalization was enacted in 2014. As a first step, the law establishes: a) a special arrangement for children of non-resident alien parents born in the country during the period from June 16, 1929 to April 18, 2007 but registered at the Dominican Registry using documents not recognized as valid at the time of registration; such children are considered Dominican nationals; b) the registration of children of parents with irregular status born in the Dominican Republic and who were not registered in the Civil Registry.
Under the naturalization law, offspring of foreigners born in the Dominican Republic and regularized in accordance with the provisions of the National Regularization Plan for Foreigners will have the option of being naturalized, once two years have passed since acquiring one of the immigration categories established in the General Law of Migration and providing a certificate attesting to the absence of a criminal record.
Recent trends in migrant’s flows and stocks and in labor market outcomes of emigrants
|Migration inflows (foreign nationals)||Persons||Per 1000 inhabitants||Percent change|
|Permanent and temporary||5695||3381||3716||4247||0.40821775894314||-25.425812115891|
|Total migration inflows (foreign nationals) by type||Persons||% distribution|
|Work and accompanying family||3080||3647||91.097308488613||85.872380503885|
|Migration outflows (nationals)||Persons||% of total||% change|
|From unstandardised destination country data||2009||2010||2011||2012||2012||2012/2009|
|Asylum seekers and refugees||Per million inhabitants||Number of persons|
|Inflows of asylum seekers||0.2994908655286||2.7592736724494||1.1676989936673||1.057309947816||1.3209433698653||11|
|Refugees resident in the country||59.798342817211||58.634565539549||73.759653099983||69.30186112503||65.373605645443||721|
|Components of population growth||Per 1000 inhabitants|
|Foreign-born population||Percentage of the total population||Persons||% change|
|Remittances||Millions of dollars||% of GDP||% change|
|Macroeconomic indicators||Annual growth in %||Average annual growth||Level|
|GDP/per capita ((PPP ) in constant 2011 international dollars)||6.8798496943389||1.6053035786357||1.3655773247378||3.2968082470011||3.2868847111784||11795|
|Labour market outcomes of emigrants in Europe and the United States||Percentages|