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Dominican Republic approves first residency permits but few migrants make the cut

  • Dominican Haitian Migrants-1.jpg

    In this Aug. 26, 2014 photo, people line up to apply for Haitian identity cards at an office recently opened in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. The Dominican Republic is approving the first residency and work permits for migrants under a new program. To qualify for legal residency, migrants must have come to the Dominican Republic before October 2011. Migrants and advocates say the required documentation is hard to come up with and many may not make it by the May 31 deadline. (AP Photo/Ezequiel Abiu Lopez) (The Associated Press)

  • 3a1370e7d0091c215e0f6a706700cd4b.jpg

    This Aug. 26, 2014 photo shows a person holding a document that confirms that Sibina Miracle, a 27 years-old Haitian immigrant, has turned in the required documents to apply for legal status in the Dominican Republic, in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. The Dominican Republic is approving the first residency and work permits for migrants under a new program. To qualify for legal residency, migrants must have come to the Dominican Republic before October 2011. Migrants and advocates say the required documentation is hard to come up with and many may not make it by the May 31 deadline. (AP Photo/Ezequiel Abiu Lopez) (The Associated Press)

The Dominican Republic is approving the first residency and work permits for migrants under a new program that has drawn more than 115,000 applicants.

So far very few of the mostly Haitian migrants have qualified. Deputy Interior Minister Washington Gonzalez says only 275 people have produced sufficient documentation as of Thursday.

Gonzalez says the government expects to issue the first residency documents to about 80 people in the coming days.

The remaining applicants are trying to come up with documentation to prove they meet the eligibility requirements.

Migrants must have come to the Dominican Republic before October 2011 to qualify for legal residency. Migrants and advocates say the required documentation is hard to come up with and many applicants may not make the May 31, 2015 deadline.