|DR to require migrant work permits for Haitians|
|Friday, 08 June 2012 12:11|
The government of the Dominican Republic recently announced plans to enforce stiffer penalties for companies hiring illegal workers under new labor legislation. Workers will now have to present work permits in order to continue working in the country.
The news has launched much protest among the country's Haitian inhabitants, estimated at approximately one million. Immigration Director Jose Ricardo Taveras has remained unyielding, announcing that businesses will have up to one month to fulfill the new regulations.
He also denied requests from numerous business officials to delay the enforcement of the new law, following concerns of significant declines in productivity in key economic industries. According to the Dominican Agro Board (JAD), approximately 80 percent of workers in the rice industry, and 60 percent of works in the banana industry, are Haitian immigrants.
"We cannot apply such a delay since we don't have the autonomy to do so," said Taveras to reporters recently. "Postponing the enforcement is dangerous because Dominican society has been demanding this regulation and the business sector itself has promoted it."
Many business groups and immigrant rights advocates however highlighted the immense unfeasibility of such regulations. Many of the documents needed for official approval, such as a no-criminal record certificate, are often unavailable due to the mass destruction of government buildings after the 2010 earthquake in Haiti.