The term DAMA stands for the Designated Area Migration Agreement and refers to an official agreement between an Australian designated area and the Government. The DAMA allows businesses or companies in certain areas of Australia to have special employer-nominated visa arrangements. As per the arrangements, those employers can access and hire a greater number of overseas employees as compared to the usual skilled migration program.
The DAMA is essential for employers to hire foreign nationals in the roles they cannot fill with Australians due to local skill shortages. The DAMA scheme operates on a framework based on agreements, offering flexibility for Australian regions to address their unique labour market and economic conditions.
DAMA Tiers, and Labour Agreements
A Designated Area Migration Agreement has two tiers that cover a designated area in Australia ,which can be a specific state, territory or region. Tier one involves a five-year agreement between an association or an organisation, which represents the area, and the Government of Australia. It is known as a head agreement. Usually, that representative is a Shire Council, or the office of the Regional Development Australia or the Chamber of Commerce.
The other tier comprises separate labour agreements between certain employers and the Government, under a head/DAMA agreement.To be more specific, a labour agreement that comes under the DAMA allows approved companies to sponsor overseas worker visas as they cannot meet the labour market requirements with Australians, particularly in the unavailability of temporary visa or PR visa programs. It is an agreement formed between the Government, as represented by the DHA, and Australian employers.
Note: DAMA visa individual workers cannot apply for a visa independently.
Why DAMA visa?
- It can lead to Permanent Residency (Unlike general 482 organization backed visas, this unique visa can also permit you to transition to PR in the future).
- There are extra jobs allowed to be backed on this visa (that are no longer on the STSOL). Each particular occupation comes up with a listing of in demand occupations for the region.
- You can solely practice for this precise kind of visa in a specified regional location (You can't observe for this visa in any regional area, solely in a specially authorized regional location authorized by immigration – listed below)
- There are regularly lower entry necessities for this visa. (Depending on the particular DAMA region, you may also be in a position to follow for this visa if you have a decrease English level, decrease earnings presented or even acquire age concessions)
Who Can Take Part in the DAMA Program, and How to Do It?
After a head agreement becomes effective and the area representative endorses companies in the Australian region, those companies may look for individual labour agreements with the DHA with the concessions and terms of the former agreement. The individual agreements are effective for up to five years and use the following programs:
- Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional (Provisional) (Subclass 494);
- Temporary Skills Shortage (Subclass 482);
- Employer Nominated Scheme Visa (Subclass 186).
To become eligible to participate in this program, an employer must enter an agreement with the DHA to sponsor overseas employees through one of those three visas. These visas have Labour Agreement streams and allow employers that are part of the agreement to nominate foreign nationals in specific occupations.
An employer must get endorsement from the organisation that represents the said area, to be able to lodge an application for a labour agreement. The application form available in ImmiAccount summarises the conditions and the supporting documents needed for a request for a labour agreement.
Applying for a Visa Under the DAMA Scheme
For skilled migrant workers to apply for a visa under the DAMA scheme, they need to be nominated and sponsored by a company or employer with an endorsement from the Designated Area Representative. Applicants will also need to meet other requirements specific to the DAMA scheme. Successful applicants can apply for permanent residency through the Subclass 186 visa after completing 3 years.
Contact one of our registered migration agents in Australia for help and assistance with finding the suitable DAMA scheme applicable to you.
The Benefits of the DAMA Program for international students
The program focuses on the requirements of businesses in Australia that cannot fill roles in their companies with Australian workers. Applicants who would be keen on it include skilled workers, semi-skilled workers, and others who look to get employment in Australia. If they are accepted through one of those Labour Agreement visa streams, skilled migrants may have priority processing for temporary entry into Australia or a pathway to permanent residency. However, DAMAs help confirm that employers hire permanent residents and citizens of Australia on a priority basis.
The DAMA may provide concessions for an array of selection conditions, which makes it more flexible with regard to accommodating employer requirements. Concessions vary from one DAMA to another and on a job by job basis, but are likely to apply to the minimum income limit, age, and the English language.
DAMA Visa Requirements
The program works either with the Temporary Skill Shortage (TSS) 482 visa, the 494 visa or the Employer Nomination Scheme 186 visa, so it does not enforce its own conditions. In other words, the DAMA visa eligibility requirements depend on the conditions of the visa stream that you apply for as a skilled worker. All those streams require the applicant to have a nomination from an eligible employer that allows them to work in a specific role. As an applicant, you must have a contract of employment from an eligible employer as well as enough experience and expertise to work in the relevant occupation.
There are other DAMA visa requirements, which may vary depending on your stream and the presence of concessions. On the other hand, an employer must meet the requirements for labour agreement endorsements.
A List of Active Designated Area Migration Agreements (DAMA)
1. Adelaide City Technology and Innovation Advancement Agreement
Covering the Metropolitan Adelaide area, this agreement pays attention to high-technology industries that grow quickly such as space, defence, advanced manufacturing and technology sectors. It tries to tackle skill shortages in the area as well as lets local employers sponsor overseas staffer visas for the four industries mentioned above with the capability of accessing and retaining highly-skilled workers.
2. South Australian Regional Workforce Designated Area Migration Agreement
This DAMA has been made to deal with skill shortages across South Australia. It is among the two types of South Australian DAMAs, with the other being the Adelaide one. Many new occupations have been added to the occupation list under this agreement. You might wish to check that list if you are seeking to apply for a South Australian DAMA visa.
3. East Kimberley Designated Area Migration Agreement
East Kimberley Chamber of Commerce and Industry prioritises promoting occupations for Australians. However, it has underlined the requirements for better access to foreign workers for positions that cannot be filled with Australians. This agreement allows East Kimberley employers to access more occupations than what the usual skilled migration avenue allows, with many concessions.
4. Far North Queensland Designated Area Migration Agreement
It is a DAMA adapted to the requirements of the Far North Queensland (FNQ) region. Offering more certainty and flexibility for sponsors and employees, this DAMA is unlike a usual skilled migration pathway in many ways. It allows employers to seek one or more jobs in one agreement.
5. Goulburn Valley Designated Area Migration Agreement
This DAMA allows employers in the Goulburn Valley to sponsor semi-skilled and skilled workers from other nations to do the jobs they cannot fill with Australians. The agreement may be accessible for five years, but the initial allotment of jobs and the number of openings are only for the first twelve months. When looking to access more overseas workers, businesses will have to apply for endorsements for more worker nominations, jobs, or other changes to the labour agreement they have with the Government.
6. Northern Territory Designated Area Migration Agreement
With this DAMA, Northern Territory (NT) employers can sponsor overseas employees to do the jobs they find difficult to fill purely with Australians. It has been changed to help deal with the existing and emerging skill shortages in the NT labour market.
7. Orana Designated Area Migration Agreement
Regional Development Australia Orana and the Government have this agreement accessible to employers in Orana for five years. It has been formed to offer employers in the region a way of sponsoring skilled foreign nationals in specific industries with major labour and skill shortages. Regional Development Australia (RDA) recommends offering employment to Australians before others. However, RDA also believes that skilled foreign workers play an important part in supplementing the local labourforce in the case of a skill shortage.
8. Pilbara Designated Area Migration Agreement
This DAMA aids in addressing shortages in skilled labour in Pilbara. The RDA Pilbara and the Government developed this five-year-long agreement together with the Town of Port Hedland and Karratha City. This DAMA is also accessible to businesses if they operate in the town or city and meet the other requirements.
9. South West Designated Area Migration Agreement
The South West and the Commonwealth have an agreement to help address the skill shortages that affect the South West region. Businesses in the region that cannot find skilled workers from the local labour market can access the agreement and thus fill nominated jobs in their workforce.
10. The Goldfields Designated Area Migration Agreement
The City of Kalgoorlie–Boulder as well as the Shires of Dundas, Coolgardie, Leonora, Esperance, Ravensthorpe, and Menzies entered an agreement with the Government and thus created this DAMA. It looks to lure skilled employees from overseas to come to the so-called Goldfields DAMA Region and work here. The City of Kalgoorlie-Boulder recommends offering jobs to Australians on a priority basis but considers skilled migrants the key to supplementing the local labour force during a skill shortage situation.
11. TNQ DAMA
This is an agreement between Townsville Enterprise and the Government, which provides businesses that have run out of Australian recruitment options with access to skilled foreign nationals. Thus, it offers the kind of flexibility that the usual skilled visa programs do not provide. This DAMA also covers around 200 occupations, many of which have language, experience and age concessions.
12. Great South Coast Designated Area Migration Agreement
This DAMA enables employers in the Great South Coast region to sponsor semi-skilled and skilled workers from overseas for jobs in the positions that are challenging for them to fill with domestic workers. This DAMA also promotes the region in the form of a popular employment destination for foreign nationals as well as aids Australian industries in expanding their labour force with more job opportunities.
If you want to find out more about the DAMA visa processing and requirements contact our education counsellor
Frequently Asked Questions About the DAMA
What is a DAMA Visa?
The term DAMA alludes to an agreement between an area in Australia and the Government that allows an endorsed employer to hire skilled foreign nationals. You cannot apply for a Labour Agreement stream visa without any employer nomination and sponsorship. The term DAMA visa refers to the form of immigration arrangement that requires the nomination and sponsorship.
How Do I Get a DAMA Visa?
It requires an employer to sponsor your visa and nominate you in a position that comes on the Skilled Occupation List. After you get that sponsorship and nomination, you could apply for a relevant visa.
How Much Does a DAMA Visa Cost?
It depends on the specific DAMA visa you are applying for in its Labour agreement stream. If it is a TSS visa (subclass 482), you would have to spend $2,770 or more. The other two labour agreement stream visas would cost you $4,240 or more.
Where do I Find the Best Region for Me?
Each DAMA scheme has a specific list that it adheres to. For help and assistance with finding the best region or option for you, contact any of our AECC offices and book a consultation with one of our registered migration agents. You can also call us at 1800-960-591 on weekdays from 9:30 am to 5:00 pm AEST/AEDT.
Found it helpful? We can help you take it further. Contact us and get all your queries on PR, visas, migration, scholarships, and others answered today!