The Dominican Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced this Wednesday that it will hire companies to operate consular services, such as visa applications and passport renewals, after sparking a controversy over alleged irregularities.
In a statement, the Foreign Ministry announced the call, open to local and international companies, to submit proposals in order to operate consular services.
The project will initially be implemented in six cities, Buenos Aires, Barcelona, Boston, Caracas, Beijing and Santiago de Chile, according to the call for tender.
The announcement is made after Listín Diario has published a research in which alleged irregularities in Dominican consulates in several countries are denounced.
In Haiti alone, this newspaper recorded that at least some 3,700 million pesos were collected by the five Dominican consulates in that country for the issuance of visas between 2015 and 2020. In addition, the sale of visas at different prices and without an established regulation for all applicants was denounced.
In the United States, the complaint has been the cost of the services, and that many Creoles prefer to come to the Dominican Republic because of the prices that the consulate has for issuing a passbook.
The privatization of consular services will allow “significant progress in reducing of waiting times, improvement of communication channels and transparency in the income received”, affirms a Foreign Ministry statement.
After the “successful experiences” of countries such as El Salvador, Italy, Guatemala and Spain, the Government of the Dominican Republic “seeks to significantly transform the way consular services are provided, starting with a pilot plan in six locations in the first year,” the note added.
Taking into account the results obtained with this pilot, it is intended to extend its application to more cities in order to have a management “that takes advantage of the available tools around the efficiency that users demand,” he added.
The Dominican Republic currently has 47 consulates and 30 consular sections in the same number of embassies, serving a diaspora that exceeds 2.5 million of people, in addition to the visa procedures carried out by foreigners who move to the country mainly for work reasons.