Dominica is an ideal destination for those interested in a quiet and easy life. With a warm tropical climate, Dominicans enjoy the sun and sea year-round with a lot of water activities like river tours, kayaking, river tubing, diving and snorkelling. The island has a very diverse topography. Tropical rainforests cover two-thirds of the island, and with annual rainfall ranging from 50 inches (127 cm) on the coast to 300 inches (762 cm) in the mountains, they’re kept beautifully lush. The island is also mountainous and has an abundance of rivers and waterfalls, making it ideal for exotic hikes or horseback riding.
English has been the official language since the British took control in 1763, but it ranges from the standard varieties to more creolized varieties in rural villages. Roman Catholicism is practiced by over 60 percent of the population and the rest hold Protestant beliefs (multiple denominations), West African beliefs or Rastafarianism .
Holidays and important religious ceremonies are celebrated with the preparation of large meals and gatherings, where guests visit homes throughout the day and are given food, desserts, and alcoholic beverages or other drinks.
The Dominican economy was previously dependent on agriculture primarily on bananas, citrus, mangos, root crops, coconuts and cocoa. However, due to increased competition and cheaper alternatives, Dominica’s economy has recently been driven by tourism as the government seeks to promote Dominica as an “ecotourism” destination. According to latest statistics, agriculture only makes up around 14% of Dominica’s GDP, while services comprise close to 60% of the GDP.
However, Hurricane Maria, which passed through the island in September 2017, destroyed much of the country’s agricultural sector and caused damage to all of the country’s transportation and physical infrastructure. Due to this, the finances of the state are fragile and so the government’s focus has shifted to getting the country back to pre-hurricane conditions as it attempts to begin to re-service cruise ships. Real GDP growth fell by -9.53% in 2017, although this blow seems to have ameliorated in 2018 with a projected 0.53% GDP rate. The country also suffers from high debt levels, having an estimated 87.7% debt-to-GDP ratio in 2018.
Nevertheless, the Government of Dominica strongly encourages foreign direct investment, particularly in the sectors of hotel accommodation, including eco-lodges and flagship boutique hotels; nature and adventure tourism services; fine dining restaurants; information and technology services; film, music and video production; agro-processing; and manufacturing, amongst others.
Dominica is one of five countries in the East Caribbean that have citizenship by investment programs whereby foreigners can obtain passports for a fee and where revenue from this contributes to government budgets. The Dominican currency is the Eastern Caribbean Dollar.
Despite the onslaught of Tropical Storm Erika in August 2015, Dominica remained attractive for foreign buyers, with sales transactions remaining steady. North Americans were the top real estate investors followed by the British and Dominicans living abroad. However, 2017 delivered another blow to the island when Hurricane Maria hit Dominica leaving about 90% of the structures on the island either damaged or destroyed.
However, efforts have been made to try to boost the real estate market. The Dominica Citizenship by Investment Programme itself encourages investment through an approved real estate project. There are a number of local properties for sale or rent and no capital gains tax on purchase of property or sale is applicable. Property taxes are also negligible. As opposed to large resort property more commonly found on other Caribbean islands, private homes nestled in Dominica’s lush and pristine nature make up the large percentage of the island’s real estate market. Some of the most popular areas for real estate include Roseau, Portsmouth, Calibishie, Marigot, and Central Dominica.
Primary health care services are provided through a network of 52 health centres and 2 district hospitals located across the country. Medical care, home visits, family planning, maternity services, and child health are all available, including services such as immunization, nutrition, health education, school health, mental health, and dental care. Specialist staff also conduct clinics in the districts.
Private health care services are limited in Dominica, consisting mainly of outpatient care provided by private practitioners who are based in the capital. Privately owned health facilities include a 28-bed hospital, a medical laboratory, and several pharmacies. Secondary health services are delivered through the Princess Margaret Hospital in the Bahamas. The standard of the healthcare system in Dominica is not the highest in the region, indeed the most recently available figures show that health expenditure only made up 5.3% of the country’s GDP in 2016.
Education is free and compulsory in the Dominican Republic. The system is based on western standards whether provided by private or state schools. Opportunities begin with a network of Roman Catholic day-care centres / preschools until the age of five. Thereafter children attend primary school for 8 grades. The final two years of the school education system are done at state secondary schools.
Students who wish to go on to university may continue on to 12th grade at private schools and obtain an advanced level certificate. These schools are all in larger wealthier urban centres, and there are few bursaries for those who live in the rural villages and come from disadvantaged backgrounds. Some students who choose to complete trade training in all traditional disciplines may do so in a number of state-funded technical colleges for vocational learning.
Since the University of the West Indies does not have a campus, Dominican students who want to pursue a tertiary education at a prestigious level have to travel across the oceans to obtain degrees. There have however been 3 lower-level tertiary institutions on the island, namely the Dominica State College, the School of Nursing and the Dominica Teachers Training College.
Dominica is especially vulnerable to hurricanes as the island is located in what is referred to as the hurricane region. The hurricane season in Dominica normally runs from June to November and it is advisable to avoid staying on the island during these months. There is no established presence of international organised criminal groups and crime rates are moderate . The justice and security sectors suffer from under-resourcing and inefficiency, but corruption rates are also quite low. Indeed, the country places 45th out of 180 countries in Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index. Arguably the most serious problem is a severe backlog of cases in the justice system.
FACT BOX: BENEFITS
- Fast Process of preparation
- Include family members
- 139 Visa-free destinations inc UK & EU
- Dual citizenship is allowed
- Minimum taxation
- Invest in the Economic Diversification Fund of USD $100.00 or;
- Real Estate Investment of USD $200.000
- Exempt from taxation on foreign income
- Exempt from taxation on wealth tax
- Exempt from taxation on inheritance tax
- Exempt from taxation on gift or capital gains
Main applicant must
- Main Applicant Minimum 21 years of Age
- Good character
- Clean criminal record