Designated Area Migration Agreements (DAMAs) are a formal arrangement between the Commonwealth of Australia and a designated area representative (DAR). A DAR may be a state /territory government or regional body.
Under the terms of a DAMA, the designated area may be able to access to a broader range of overseas workers than is available through the standard skilled visa programs by allowing variation to standard occupations and skills lists and/or negotiable concessions to visa requirements.
DAMA requests are considered on a case by case basis, taking into account the unique circumstances and labour market needs of the geographical region. The terms of the DAMA including any concessions are negotiated with the Commonwealth. Broad stakeholder engagement and consultation is encouraged in the development and implementation of DAMAs; however there is no requirement for State or Territory governments to formally endorse the DAMA (unless the State or territory is the designated area representative).
For a DAMA to be approved there must be demonstrated efforts to recruit Australians first, ceilings on numbers of overseas workers employed annually and local support made available to migrant workers. Robust arrangements to manage and monitor activity under the DAMA will need to be in place. Once an agreement is in place, the designated area representative assesses local employers. Endorsed employers can apply to enter into individual labour agreements under the conditions of the overarching DAMA. Labour agreements allow employers to access skilled and semi-skilled overseas workers using the Temporary Skill Shortage visa (subclass 482) and the permanent Employer Nomination Scheme (subclass 186).
Individuals cannot directly access a DAMA. Individuals need to be sponsored:
- by an employer operating in a designated region
- for an occupation that is specified in the head agreement.
For more information visit Designated area migration agreements.