The scheme – known as the Designation Area Migration Agreements (DAMA)s have been announced for two regions in Australia – Warrnambool region in Victoria and the Northern Territory which are experiencing labour shortages and need a population boost.
This special five-year agreement with the Commonwealth will allow employers in the Great South Coast region in Victoria and in the Northern Territory to bring in skilled workers under the Temporary Skill Shortage visa (Subclass 482) and will offer pathways to permanent residency for these visa holders.
To check the occupations included in the agreement for Northern Territory (NT) click: https://business.nt.gov.au/business/migration-information-for-business/northern-territory-designated-area-migration-agreement/occupations-included-in-the-agreement
The Key elements of Northern Territory (NT) DAMA are:
- Pathways to permanent residency for NT DAMA visa holders (including transitional arrangements for existing visa holders).
- A broad range of occupations that reflect NT skilled and semi-skilled shortages, with no caveats to apply.
- English language concessions for some occupations.
- Salary concessions that reflect NT market rates, ensuring that worker terms and conditions of employment are not eroded, and NT businesses and consumers are not subjected to inflationary costs.
- A range of risk and integrity actions to ensure that the rights of both employees and employers are protected
- A five-year agreement to reduce red tape.
How do employers’ access (NT) DAMA ?
As the DAMA currently only applies to the Northern Territory, the procedure is as follows:
- An employer must become endorsed by the Northern Territory Department of Trade, Business and Innovation. This involves completing an application form and verifying that the business has completed Labour Market Testing and has been unable to find Australian workers to fill the positions.
- A summary of domestic recruitment efforts must be provided, and there must be no known adverse information about the employer (i.e. the employer must not have breached any Fair Work, immigration or Occupational Health & Safety rules and regulations).
- Once an employer has been successfully endorsed, it can then apply to enter into a Labour Agreement with the Department of Home Affairs. This is a streamlined process compared to a normal Labour Agreement application process, and forms part of the DAMA agreement with the Northern Territory.
Once the Labour Agreement has been approved, the employer is then able to nominate workers for Subclass 482 visas, who will be able to progress to permanent residence once the normal requirements for transitioning to permanent residence are met e.g. three years with the same employer, unless different requirements are specified in the Labour Agreement.
Warrnambool Region in Victoria:
The DAMA will provide opportunity for the region’s businesses to apply for individual labour agreements under which they can sponsor skilled workers.
It has recognized by the government that more people are needed to grow the region’s economy by increasing production and exports.
The DAMA will:
- Will assist key agriculture, hospitality and other businesses on the Great South Coast to fill critical employment gaps by providing access to a broader range of overseas workers than is available through the standard skilled migration programs;
- Will be accessible to employers in Glenelg, Moyne, Warrnambool, Corangamite, Colac Otway and Southern Grampians municipalities;
More than 20 eligible occupations will be available under the Great South Coast DAMA with the full list to be posted in the first quarter of 2019.
A range of concessions may be available to both employers and visa nominees under the terms and conditions of the DAMA and these will be indicated for each specific occupation.
FAQ For Businesss
Who can sponsor prospective workers under the Northern Territory Designated Area Migration Agreement (NT DAMA)?
Northern Territory (NT) businesses with well-established operations in the NT for a minimum of 12 months. Find out more about how businesses are assessed as being eligible
Can businesses sponsor prospective workers currently residing overseas under the NT DAMA?
NT employers can sponsor workers residing in Australia or overseas from any country.
How long is the process time for the NT DAMA application?
The NT Government endeavors to complete processes within 10 working days, however if businesses have not supplied all necessary information required to decide the process will take longer. The Department of Home Affairs determines its own processing times.
Does the labour market testing apply under the NT DAMA?
Yes, find out more about how businesses are assessed as being eligible.
Does the Skilling Australian Fund levy apply under the NT DAMA?
Yes, for more information read the Skilling Australian Fund page.
FAQ For Prospective Workers
Can prospective workers apply for a visa under the NT DAMA independently?
No. The NT DAMA is an employer-sponsored visa program which comes under the Temporary Skill Shortage visa (Subclass 482 labour agreement stream). Businesses must apply to the NT Government to access the NT DAMA for the occupations, concessions and number of workers they require.
If the business is endorsed by the NT Government and if the Australian Government signs a labour agreement with the business, they can then submit nomination applications for the appropriately skilled workers they have identified.
An worker interested in a visa cannot apply independently.
Will the NT Government recommend businesses that may want to sponsor prospective workers under the NT DAMA?
No. The NT Government does not connect those interested in a visa with businesses who are endorsed, or may be interested in applying to be endorsed, under the NT DAMA. Find out more about looking for jobs in the Northern Territory.
Will the prospective workers be guaranteed permanent residency under the NT DAMA?
No. Workers must meet the eligibility requirements for permanent residency under the NT DAMA. The current pathway to permanent residency is through the subclass 186 (labour agreement stream) permanent residency sponsorship in an employer’s choice.
What visa will be granted to a nominee worker under the NT DAMA?
A worker who is successfully sponsored under the NT DAMA is granted a subclass 482 (labour agreement stream) visa.
Who will grant the visa under the NT DAMA?
The Australian Government Department of Home Affairs makes all visa decisions.
Is there age limit on the applicant?
The subclass 482 does not have an age limit, however businesses and workers aspiring to access the permanent residence pathway must be aware that this has an age limit of 49-year-old (cannot have turned 50) at time of permanent residence nomination.