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Nominating a position

​​​Designated area migration agreements

A Designated Area Migration Agreement (DAMA) is a formal agreement between the Australian Government and a regional, state or territory authority. It provides access to more overseas workers than the standard skilled migration program. DAMAs operate under an agreement-based framework, providing flexibility for regions to respond to their unique economic and labour market conditions.

A DAMA is a two-tier framework covering a defined regional area. The first tier is an overarching five-year deed of agreement (head agreement) with the region’s representative. The second tier comprises individual labour agreements with employers under the settings of the head agreement for that region.

DAMA head agreements are between the Australian Government and a Designated Area Representative (DAR) (usually state or territory governments or regional bodies such as Chambers of Commerce, Regional Development Australia offices, or Shire Councils). ​They contain a range of occupations as well as agreed terms and concessions to skilled visa eligibility criteria, as negotiated between parties. Once a DAMA head agreement is established, businesses in the region may seek individual DAMA labour agreements under the head agreement terms and concessions.

Individual DAMA labour agreements are between the Australian Government and endorsed employers/businesses operating within the relevant designated region. They:

  • are generally in effect for five years, and
  • use the subclass 482 Temporary Skills Shortage (TSS), subclass 494 Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional (Provisional), and subclass 186 Employer Nominated Scheme (ENS) visa programs.

Employers must seek and gain endorsement from the DAR before lodging a labour agreement request online through ImmiAccount. The online form in ImmiAccount outlines the requirements and supporting documentation required for labour agreement requests.

Where a DAMA labour agreement is approved, the business will be able to nominate and sponsor​ skilled and semi-skilled overseas workers for certain occupations (each DAMA head agreement covers a specified range of occupations).

DAMAs ensure employers recruit Australian citizens and permanent residents as a first priority. Among other things, employers must demonstrate a genuine attempt to recruit Australians prior to getting access to a DAMA labour agreement.

Existing DAMAs​

There are currently 12 DAMAs in place. Below is a list of those DAMAs with links to the respective DAR* websites that contain information on how to access each DAMA as well as which regions/locations/shires are covered:

* DARs work closely with employers and stakeholders in their region to understand their unique labour needs and the broader community views. They undertake annual reviews of DAMA terms/operation and also endorse individual requests from businesses seeking access to DAMA arrangements, prior to the business lodging a DAMA labour agreement request with the Department of Home Affairs.

New DAMAs

On 11 December 2023, the Government’s Migration Strategy: Getting migration working for the nation was released. The Migration Strategy commits to an evaluation of regional migration settings, including regional visas, regional definitions, regional occupation lists and DAMAs. The objective of this work will be to evaluate how the migration settings can better support community and workforce needs in regional Australia while not contributing to migrant worker exploitation.

The Government will publish a discussion paper early in 2024 on regional migration settings.

In light of the upcoming consultation and anticipated reform, new DAMA requests are currently not being accepted at this time, though guidance materials to assist interested stakeholders will be available shortly.

For further information, see: Migration Strategy

For information about labour agreements or other options for regional areas, the following resources are available: