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  • Writer's pictureAndrew Heathcote

"Can I apply for a DAMA visa?" - Designated Area Migration Agreements

The DAMA is an employer-sponsored visa program and individual applicants CANNOT apply for a DAMA visa independently. In fact there is no visa that is called a DAMA visa.

The DAMA agreement utilises the labour agreement stream of the subclass 482 Temporary Skill Shortage visa> Businesses enter into an agreement with the Australian Government and applicants apply for a subclass 482 TSS visa.

So what is all the fuss about? These new Designated Area Migration Agreement lets employers sponsor skilled and semi-skilled overseas workers for positions they are unable to fill with local workers. They are tailored to address current and emerging labour market shortages and local terms and conditions of employment. To date there have been a a number of agreements entered into

  • Far North Queensland DAMA

  • Goldfields DAMA

  • Northern Territory DAMA

  • Orana DAMA

  • Pilbara DAMA

  • South Australia DAMA

  • Warrnambool DAMA

Permanent residency - There may be opportunities for pathways to permanent residency, for selected visas and occupations and workers will be required to meet the eligibility requirements.

How do employers access DAMA?

As the DAMA procedure is as follows:

  • An employer must become endorsed 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.

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.


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