WHAT IS DAMA?
If Australian employers are unable to fill a position in a business with local workers they can use the Temporary Skill Shortage (TSS) visa (subclass 482). However, this pathway applies to any business across Australia so it is very general in it’s requirements and can’t take into account the specifics of any local labour market.
DAMA (Designated Area Migration Agreement) is one of the employer-sponsored visa programs that utilises the labour agreement stream of the TSS visa and is tailored to address current and emerging labour market shortages and local terms and conditions of employment.
The main benefit of DAMA is that the list of occupations available for this program includes a broad range of occupations which reflects regional skilled and semi-skilled shortages and regional conditions of employment. In addition, there are salary concessions that reflect local market rates, English language concessions and concessions relating to qualifications and experience for some occupations.
Currently the Far North Queensland Designated Area Migration Agreement (FNQ DAMA) is in operation. Businesses can access the FNQ DAMA if they are actively operating for at least 12 months within the Cairns, Port Douglas, Atherton, Mareeba or Cassowary Coast local government areas, have no history of not meeting its obligations to employees and can provide terms and conditions of employment to overseas workers that are in accordance with those offered to Australian workers employed in the region.
70 skilled and semi-skilled occupations are eligible for sponsorship under the FNQ DAMA. The full list of occupations included in the FNQ DAMA could be found here: https://www.cairnschamber.com.au/files/media/original/35d/1c0/536/FNQ-DAMA—Occupation-List-20190909-.pdf
The DAMA sponsorship process has 4 stages:
- When a business has a full time vacant position in occupation on the FNQ DAMA list and is not able to fill the position locally with Australian citizens or permanent residents the business could apply for the endorsement by the Designated Area Representative (the Cairns Chamber of Commerce);
- As soon as the endorsement is received the business should submit a DAMA Labour Agreement request with the Department of Home Affairs;
- Next stage is the lodgement of Nomination Application with the Department of Home affairs;
- And lastly the visa applicant, a prospective foreign employee, should lodge a visa application.
For questions about Employer-Sponsored Australian visa programs, or to deal with relevant visa application please contact a Registered Migration Agent Yana Asmalovskaya