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Updates on Designated Area Migration Agreements

Senior Migration Agent, Katrin Hodder, recently attended a Continuing Professional Development training program in Adelaide with a focus on the South Australia and Northern Territory Designated Area Migration Agreements (DAMA). In this article, Katrin shares some insights on the latest updates and how entering into a DAMA can be beneficial to you as a business owner.

If you have a business located and operating in regional Australia and have found it challenging to sponsor overseas skilled workers through the traditional pathways, then perhaps registering into an agreement through a DAMA may be of benefit to you.

What is a DAMA?

It is a deed of agreement between the Commonwealth of Australia and a regional, state or territory authority (in a Designated Regional Area).

A DAMA can provide access to more occupations than the standard skilled migration program. It also enables employers to tap into various concessions that may be available such as age, English language ability, salary.

Both the SA and NT DAMA permit Employers to submit nominations under the Temporary Skill Shortage (subclass 482), Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional (Subclass 494) and Employer Sponsored Permanent (subclass 186).

DAMAs in South Australia

South Australia (SA) currently has two DAMAs in place.

• One for Adelaide City (for Adelaide Metropolitan area) which has a focus on key sectors including defence, space, advanced manufacturing and technology. There are only 50 approved occupations under this DAMA.
• The second DAMA is for the entire state of South Australia. There was a recent addition of 128 occupations in May 2024, taking the total number of occupations that can be nominated to 400.

DAMA in Northern Territory

In the Northern Territory (NT), there is one overarching agreement for the entire Territory, and their DAMA agreement is valid until 13 Dec 2024. They are hopeful a further extension may be negotiated this year (but this is subject to the upcoming changes that are expected in the latter half of 2024.

There are 135 occupations that can be nominated in NT, which includes 11 new occupations that have recently been added (including from the public sector) to allow a concession for permanent residence. There are English concessions for most occupations, and age, LMT and salary concessions available for certain occupations.

Similar to SA, there are 6 occupations not on the standard occupation lists which can be accessed under this program – this includes bar attendant (supervisor), waiter (supervisor), cook (specialist ethnic cuisine), high access maintenance and cleaning technician, skilled horticultural worker and aquaculture supervisor.

Whilst a DAMA is typically negotiated for a period of 5 years, given the Migration Strategy announcements made last year a shorter duration has been agreed given the expected legislative changes that will happen in the latter half of 2024. DAMAs and Labour Agreements will fall under a new ‘Essential Skills Pathway’. The government is currently working through the policy setting and logistics of this pathway with more updates on requirements to be provided between July-December 2024.

Should you have any queries on how to navigate and negotiate these agreements, please contact one of our experienced Migration Agents to assist you.

Published Thu 30 May 2024.

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