Dominican Republic

Working in the Dominican Republic?

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Business Destination Dominican Republic

Many expats nowadays consider working in the Dominican Republic. The traditional exporter of sugar, tobacco, and coffee has one of the fastest-growing economies in the region and offers a lot to expats in the Dominican Republic. Read our guide on working in the Dominican Republic to learn more.
If you are both patient and persistent, finding work in the Dominican Republic should be no problem for you.

The Job Search

As in most other countries, working in the Dominican Republic requires some determination. Search local newspapers like the Listín Diario for job ads. They are usually listed under “Empleos” but may also be scattered all over the paper. Be sure to skim through the entire newspaper to avoid missing an interesting post. If you come across ads which do not specifically state what the job is about, you should be suspicious. More often than not, these ads are for rather dubious jobs.

Your embassy or consulate, as well as your country’s chamber of commerce, might also have a list of businesses and companies looking for employees from your home country. Employment agencies are another source which shouldn’t be disregarded throughout your job search. You are usually not required to pay for their services. Do remember to take your CV and photographs along when visiting them to ensure the appointments go as efficiently and effectively as possible. One of the bigger employment agencies is G.A. Tavares & Asociados, which mostly deals with secretarial, managerial, and executive positions.

Free Trade Zones in the Dominican Republic

There are over 46 industrial free zones in the Dominican Republic, with more of them under development. About 500 companies operate in the free trade zones, offering employment to around 200,000 people. The free trade zones play an important role in the Dominican economy. After all, 70% of all Dominican exports come from industries and businesses within the free trade zones.

While apparel is the leading industry, the focus is also shifting to other areas of production, including electrical products, cigars, medical instruments, and pharmaceuticals. It is not just the manufacturing industries, but also the services sector in the free trade zones which are growing; typical industries include telecommunications, marketing, and travel agencies. All in all, these zones keep attracting foreign investors. This is also due to the fact that local companies outside of the free trade zones are integrated with free zone operations. Exporters with producers located outside the free trade zones benefit from a special free zone status.

Major Ports

As an export nation, the Dominican Republic relies heavily on its major ports to transport its goods abroad. One of the biggest is Rio Haina Port near Santo Domingo, from which exports are shipped to Puerto Rico, as well as to over a dozen US ports. Millions of dollars are spent to renovate the Haina Port so that it can keep up with increasing demand. In 2003, the Multimodal Caucedo Port commenced operations; it is located east of Santo Domingo, close to Las Americas International Airport, and handles most of the free zone cargo.

The Port of San Pedro de Macoris and Manzanillo port are smaller ports which predominantly handle industrial and agricultural cargo. The Port of San Pedro is located at the mouth of the Higuamo River in the southeast while Manzanillo Port is located in the northwestern province of Monte Cristi close to the Haitian border. As well as the cargo terminals, many ports have terminals for cruise ships as well. The Port of Santo Domingo, for example, accommodates both cargo and passengers via its two modern terminals.

The Dominican Business Etiquette

In the Dominican Republic, it’s not what you know, it’s who you know! This is why networking, name-dropping, and doing and collecting favors are important aspects of doing business in the Dominican Republic. It is important that you put a lot of work into building trusted relationships. In this endeavor, show your business partners respect and pay close attention to hierarchies.

Although the first meeting is usually quite formal, small talk is common, as is the fact that you will often be interrupted and that several people might all speak at once. Try to be patient and be very careful with facial expressions and gestures. After all, you don’t want to start off your business life in the Dominican Republic by offending anybody, do you? Either way, it will take at least a few meetings to convince them of your brilliance. The Dominicans are known to be very direct and skilled in terms of negotiating; they drive hard bargains. Be patient, don’t try to rush the process along, and keep your eyes on the prize.


We do our best to keep this article up to date. However, we cannot guarantee that the information provided is always current or complete. 

Donald Moore

"Expat life in the Dominican Republic isn't just lying under palms all day, as you might think. But InterNations made it worthwhile. "

Jayanti Malhotra

"A helpful expat pointed out the international school in Santo Domingo to me when my husband asked me and the kids to join him there."

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