Designated Area Migration Agreements (DAMA)
A Designated Area Migration Agreement (DAMA) is a formal pact forged between the Australian Government and regional, state, or territory authorities. It offers an avenue to bring in more overseas workers than the conventional skilled migration program.
Two-Tier Structure of DAMA
DAMAs operate on a two-tier framework within a defined regional area. The first tier encompasses a comprehensive five-year deed of agreement, known as the “head agreement,” with the representative of the region. The second tier consists of individual labour agreements with employers, following the guidelines set by the head agreement for that specific region.
DAMA head agreements are established between the Australian Government and a Designated Area Representative. These representatives typically include regional bodies like Chambers of Commerce, Regional Development Australia offices, or Shire Councils. They cover various occupations and agreed-upon terms and concessions to meet skilled visa eligibility criteria. Once a DAMA head agreement is in place, businesses within the region can seek individual DAMA labour agreements, adhering to the terms and concessions outlined in the head agreement.
Individual DAMA Labour Agreements
Individual DAMA labour agreements are made between the Australian Government and endorsed employers or businesses operating within the designated region. These agreements generally remain in effect for five (5) years and are applicable to visa programs such as the subclass 482 Temporary Skills Shortage (TSS), subclass 494 Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional (Provisional), and subclass 186 Employer Nominated Scheme (ENS).
To initiate the process, employers must secure endorsement from the Designated Area Representative (often referred to as DAR) before submitting a labour agreement request online through ImmiAccount. The online form on ImmiAccount outlines the specific requirements and supporting documentation necessary for labour agreement requests.
Prioritizing Australian Workers
DAMAs prioritize the recruitment of Australian citizens and permanent residents. Employers must demonstrate their sincere efforts to recruit Australians before gaining access to a DAMA labour agreement. Seeking endorsement from a DAR constitutes the initial step of this two-stage process. The subsequent stages involve nominating individual Overseas Workers and obtaining their visas.
Current DAMAs in Place
Presently, there are twelve (12) active DAMAs. Here is a list of these agreements along with links to the respective Designated Area Representative websites, providing information on how to access each DAMA and the regions, locations, or shires covered:
New South Wales
- Orana DAMA by Regional Development Australia
- Goulburn Valley DAMA by Greater Shepparton City Council
- Great South Coast DAMA by Warrnambool City Council
- Far North Queensland DAMA by Cairns Chamber of Commerce
- Townsville DAMA by Townsville Enterprise Limited
- Pilbara DAMA by RDA Pilbara
- South West DAMA by Shire of Dardanup
- Goldfields DAMA by Kalgoorlie Boulder Council
- East Kimberley DAMA by East Kimberley Chamber of Commerce and Industry
- South Australia Regional DAMA by SA Skilled & Business Migration
- Adelaide City Technology and Innovation Advancement DAMA by SA Skilled & Business Migration
- Northern Territory DAMA by Northern Territory Department of Industry, Tourism and Trade