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Many people have been contacting us in relation to the DAMAs. What is it? Is it a visa? Can I “apply for” a DAMA? Is it a Northern Territory thing only?

Let’s go with the basics: DAMA means a Designated Area Migration Agreement. The agreement is made between a state, territory or region and s – where certain states or regions can sponsor workers to fill specific gaps that they have due to skills shortages.

In a DAMA, employers of the region that is signatory to the agreement enter into a labour agreement with the Australian Government and workers are then granted a Subclass 482 TSS temporary Sponsorship visa.

People cannot apply for a visa independently, they need an employer and that employer needs to take part of the agreement. Employers and individuals can continue to apply for a Subclass 482 TSS Sponsorship Visa by themselves in the regions where a DAMA is in place, but applying under the DAMA has its advantages:

• Occupations that wouldn’t normally take the worker to a permanent residency visa have a pathway for PR;

• More occupations available for employment/sponsorship than those in the regular occupation lists;

• No caveats (restrictions);

• English language concessions for some occupations;

• Minimum salary concessions that reflect the region’s market rates.

The Northern Territory signed the first DAMA ever with the government, and after running it for 3 years they signed another DAMA for another 5 years, taking them until 2023.

In March 2019, the state of South Australia and the region of Kalgoorlie-Boulder in Western Australia. At the time of writing this, even though these DAMAs have been signed and announced, details about these agreements will work have not yet been published as they are still being negotiated.

What we know already is that South Australia has signed not 1, but 2 DAMAs: one will be called the Adelaide City Technology and Innovation Advancement Agreementand the other is the Regional South Australia DAMA. Both were signed for 5 years.

TheAdelaide City Technology and Innovation Advancement Agreementwill include 60 occupations and a number of up to 300 people per year will be able to get 482 TSS visas under it in the 5 years of the agreement.

TheRegional South Australia DAMAwill cover 114 occupations in agriculture, forestry, hospitality, tourism, health and construction among others and it will allow 750 people a year to be sponsored in regional areas during the 5 year agreement.

The Premier of South Australia is very happy about the agreement, having said in a media release that “these new DAMA arrangements provide a springboard for businesses to access the skills they need to meet their specific workforce requirements, and try and minimise where possible any critical shortages.”

“Importantly, they give our growing regional industries support to attract skilled workers and boost the population of regional areas, creating more local jobs and a thriving economy.”

In the Northern Territory the DAMA lets business access employees if they have been operating for at least 12 months, have no history of not meeting its obligations to employees, are looking to employ overseas workers to fill full-time positions with duties that align with occupations on the NT DAMA list, can demonstrate they cannot fill the position locally with Australians and can provide terms and conditions of employment to overseas workers that are in accordance with those offered to Australians in the region.

The City of Kalgoorlie-Boulder in Western Australia has also signed a 5-year DAMA to boost industries such as mining, engineering, construction, childcare and health hoping to drive economic growth.

There will be 73 occupations and up to 500 people per year will be able to be sponsored.

We will publish more details about the new DAMAs once they become available but if you are thinking about moving to these areas, or you already have a potential employer in one of these areas, please contact us for an assessment to see if you meet all the requirements.

Erica Carneiro
Co-Founder, Director and Registered Migration Agent 0532487