The Australian Federal Government has implemented DAMA to provide flexibility for States, Territories and regions to respond to their unique economic and labour market conditions through an agreement-based framework.
What is a DAMA?
A DAMA is an agreement between the Australian government (represented by Department of Home Affairs) and a regional or state/territory body to provide the following:
- To fill in positions in designated areas where employers are experiencing skills and labour shortages
- Streamlined access to a broader range of overseas workers than available through the standard skilled visa programs
- Wider range of occupations than available in the regular occupation lists with no applied caveats (limitations)
- Pathways to permanent residency as incentives to attract overseas workers
Which states and territories have a DAMA?
The following states and territory have access to a DAMA:
- Northern Territory – entire region
- Southern Australia will have two specific agreements:
- Adelaide Technology and Innovation Advancement Agreement – focus on Adelaide’s high-tech growth industries including defence, space, technology and advanced manufacturing industries.
- South Australia Regional Workforce Agreement – focus on agribusiness, forestry, health and social services, tourism and hospitality, construction and mining.
- Western Australia – Kalgoorlie-Boulder region
- Victoria – Great South Coast region which includes Glenelg Shire, Southern Grampians Shire, Moyne Shire, Warrnambool City, Corangamite Shire, Colac Otway Shire
- New South Wales – Orana region
Currently, only the Northern Territory DAMA is in operation, and is expected to last for five (5) years from 2018 to late 2023. The other DAMA agreements are expected to come into effect at the end of the financial year, July 2019.
Who can have access to DAMA?
Only employers or businesses can access the DAMA if:
- they are actively operating in the nominated region
- are viable and have been operating for at least 12 months
- have no adverse history, such as not meeting obligations to employees
- are looking to employ overseas workers to fill full-time positions with duties that align with one of the occupations on the relevant DAMA list
- can demonstrate they cannot fill the position locally with Australian citizens or permanent residents
- can provide terms and conditions of employment to overseas workers that are in accordance with those offered to Australian workers employed in the region.
What is the current procedure?
The following procedure is currently in place for the Northern Territory DAMA:
- First and foremost, employers in the designated area need to apply to be endorsed from the region they want to access the DAMA
- This involves completing an application form and satisfying the Labour Market Testing
- The employers will need to provide a summary of domestic recruitment efforts and must verify that there is no known adverse information about the employer
- Once the employer has been successfully endorsed, they can apply to enter into a Labour Agreement with DoHA.
- Once the Labour Agreement has been approved, the employer will be able to nominate workers for Subclass 482 (Temporary Skills Shortage) visas under the labour agreement pathway.
Why consider a DAMA?
- Availability of concessions
The Northern Territory (NT) DAMA provides for English language and Temporary Skilled Migration Income Threshold (TSMIT) concessions subject to relevant occupation.
- The English language level is reduced from the standard requirement to an average of 5 across the four IELTS components (reading, writing, speaking and listening) with speaking and listening components no less than 4.0 and no minimum core for the reading and writing components (unless registration or licensing requires a higher level of English).
- For TSMIT, the threshold currently sits at $53,900, however businesses can receive up to 10% concession amounting to no less than $48,510 (such earnings can also be comprised of non-monetary earnings)
- Additional occupations included that are not in ANZSCO
The NT DAMA provides three additional occupations that are not in ANZSCO. They include:
- bar attendant (supervisor)
- waiter (supervisor)
- cook (specialist ethnic cuisine)
- Other employer sponsored visa programs, specifically the Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme (RSMS) has undergone recent changes where businesses in regional and remote areas of Australia are no longer able to easily sponsor the overseas workers needed. Therefore, DAMA provides a solution by focusing on the needs of a specific region in a State and/or Territory.
What are the requirements of an overseas worker?
Once the business becomes able to nominate workers under Subclass 482 (after a successful endorsement), the overseas worker will need to demonstrate the same level of qualifications and experience as the required by the visa criteria.
How much does the DAMA cost?
There are no fees for:
- Endorsement by Migration NT to access the NT DAMA
- Labour agreement
- Skills verification for selected occupations
There are fees for:
- Nomination application
- Worker visa application
- Skilling Australians Fund levy
If you are an employer/business and would like us to assist you with any questions or endorsement applications relating to DAMA, contact us without delay. There are complex procedures involved in getting access to DAMA, more specifically satisfying technical requirements of Labour Market Testing and Market Salary Rate.
At Migration Centre of Australia, we are well-trained to handle highly complex matters. Book one of our agents for professional advice by calling 02 4626 1002 or email us to book in a time at email@example.com. We also speak fluent Hindi, Nepali and Turkish. If one of these isn’t your language, we can also help you arrange an interpreter.