Low-wage industries under threat in the Dominican Republic
SANTO DOMINGO, The Dominican Republic, Thursday June 14, 2012 - The expiration of migratory regulations two weeks ago has left business owners across the Dominican Republic questioning whether they will find enough workers to sustain way of life.
Immigrant workers, long a mainstay of Dominican agriculture, construction and other low-wage industries, will have to start the process to stabilize and legalize their status after the regulations, in effect since October 2011, expired June 1.
According to reports, the new requirements for work permits are worrying employers, workers and labour advocates alike that it will become harder and more expensive to hire immigrant labourers. An estimated 1 million Haitians live in the Dominican Republic, which has a population of about 10 million.
The agricultural industry has reportedly been the most reluctant to comply with the migratory regulation for fear of affecting national production.
Immigration Agency director Jose Ricardo Taveras has stated that all parties must share the cost of implementing the migratory regulation once the term expired in June, since the law took effect immediately. "The application of the migratory regulation has its costs, since the Foreign Relations Ministry has its fees to issue a visa and that’s like that worldwide."
However, this is not the only measure that is set to affect immigrants.
There is also a proposed regulation in the works to stop illegal immigrants from studying in the nation's public schools.
Immigration officials say requiring students to have valid identification documents is part of the nation's sovereign right.