🇦🇺 🇦🇺 AUSTRALIA: FAQ – Designated Area Migration Agreements (DAMA)

🇦🇺 🇦🇺 AUSTRALIA: FAQ – Designated Area Migration Agreements (DAMA)


1. What is the South Australian DAMA?

The South Australian DAMA, is a Designated Area Migration Agreement between the Commonwealth Government and the South Australian Government to enable employers to sponsor skilled overseas workers, for positions that they are unable to fill with local workers. SA will have two DAMAs:

The Adelaide City Technology and Innovation Advancement Agreement is the Designated Area Migration Agreement covering the Adelaide Metropolitan region only.

The South Australian Regional Workforce Agreement is the Designated Area Migration Agreement covering the entire state of South Australia.

2. Is this a new visa?

No. The DAMA is an employer-sponsored visa program which comes under the Temporary Skill Shortage visa (Subclass 482 labour agreement stream). Employers must apply to Immigration SA to access the SA DAMA.

3. What is a DAR?

The Designated Area Representative (DAR) is the signatory to the DAMA and is responsible for overseeing the Agreement, including endorsing employers seeking to access overseas workers through the DAMA. The Designated Area Representative (DAR) is Immigration SA, part of the Department of Innovation and Skills.

4. How is Immigration SA involved?

Immigration SA is the Designated Area Representative (DAR) and will be responsible for overseeing the DAMA, endorsing employers, monitoring and evaluation as per the Agreement with the Commonwealth.

5. How were the SA DAMA occupations determined?

Occupations were determined through consultation with industry associations and key employers, together with government  data about skills shortages in the target industries. As part of the management of the SA DAMA, there will be an opportunity for an annual review of this list.

6. Who can sponsor workers under the DAMA?

Businesses operating in South Australia experiencing skills and labour shortages can sponsor skilled and semi-skilled overseas workers. South Australian employers can sponsor propsective workers residing in Australia or overseas.

7. Why do some occupations not offer any concessions?

The South Australian Government undertook a comprehensive consultation with industry stakeholders as part of the DAMA business case process and occupations were subject to concession negotiation with the Commonwealth, notably not all occupations were offered concessions. The occupations not offered concessions will be closely monitored over the next 12 months with a view to submitting a revised business case to the Commonwealth should sufficient evidence of the need for the concessions be established.

8. Can an individual (worker) apply for a visa under the SA DAMA independently?

No. The DAMA is an employer-sponsored visa program which comes under the Temporary Skill Shortage visa (Subclass 482 labour agreement stream). Employers must apply to Immigration SA to access the SA DAMA.

9. Will workers access permanent residency under the SA DAMA?

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

10. Who will grant the visa under the SA DAMA?

The Australian Government Department of Home Affairs is responsible in making all visa decisions.

11. I am an employer and keen to participate in this program, what can I do right now?

The application process will open from 1 July 2019. Employers can consider commencing labour market testing.
If you are already a Standard Business Sponsor approved by the Department of Home Affairs, ensure this is current and you have the supporting documentation.
You can read more information on the endorsement requirements criteria as listed on the Immigration SA website.
You may also consider engaging a registered migration agent if you require professional services.

12. What is the Letter of Endorsement?

Employers interested in a Labour Agreement under the DAMA must first be endorsed by the Designated Area Representative (DAR).  If the employer is endorsed, the DAR will provide a Letter of Endorsement to the employer and the Department of Home Affairs. The endorsed employer may then apply for a DAMA Labour Agreement using the Department’s online lodgement portal, ImmiAccount.  The employer needs to attach supporting documents (including the Letter of Endorsement) during the application process.

13. What is a DAMA Labour Agreement?

A DAMA Labour Agreement is an agreement between the Australian Government and an employer, under the terms and conditions specified in the DAMA.  Under a DAMA Labour Agreement, an employer may sponsor an agreed number of overseas workers for the Temporary Skill Shortage (subclass 482) visa and, where available, the Employer Nominated Scheme (subclass 186) visa.

14. Will the Commonwealth offer priority processing for the Temporary Skill Shortage (subclasss 482) visa Labour Agreement Stream?

The Commonwealth Government recently announced a ‘Ministers Direction’ regarding the order of processing for the Temporary Skill Shortage (subclass 482) visa. The direction affects a five point order of priority, the second placed on nominations and visa applications for occupations carried out in regional Australia (South Australia is considered regional for the purpose of migration) and within this priority precedence will be given to applications lodged under a DAMA labour agreement.

15. Does Labour Market Testing apply under the SA DAMA?

Employers seeking to nominate overseas workers under a DAMA are required to provide evidence that they cannot find a suitable Australian Worker. Before an overseas worker can be nominated, employers need to test the local labour market by advertising the vacant position in Australia. Evidence of Labour Market Testing is required when applying for a DAR endorsement and at the nomination stage.

16. Does the Skilling Australian Fund levy apply under the South Australian DAMA?

Yes, for more information read the Skilling Australians Fund website.

17. Can prospective workers apply for a visa under the SA DAMA independently?

No. The South Australian Migration Agreements are an employer-sponsored visa program which come under the Temporary Skill Shortage visa (Subclass 482 labour agreement stream). Businesses must apply to the Government of South Australia to access the South Australian Migration Agreements for the occupations, concessions and number of workers they require. If the business is endorsed by the Government of South Australia and if the Australian Government signs a labour agreement with the business, they can then submit nomination applications for the appropriately skilled workers they have identified. A worker interested in a visa cannot apply independently.

18. How can I contact the DAR?

The Designated Area Representative (DAR) can be contacted by submitting an online enquiry through the Immigration SA Apply website.

19. I am a business employer operating in South Australia, how do I apply for DAMA endorsement?

Applications for endorsement must be submitted electronically on the Immigration SA Apply website.

If you do not have an account, you will need to log onto Immigration SA Apply website and create an account.

  1. Choose registration type from the drop down menu: South Australian Employer
  2. Complete your contact details on the ‘Register here‘ section then click on the ‘register now’ button.

If you are already registered as a South Australian Employer, login to your account and select to apply for Designated Area Migration Agreement (DAMA) – 482.

20. If my request for endorsement is refused can I appeal the decision?

There are no review rights should the DAR decide not to endorse an employer for a labour agreement. Similarly, there are no review rights if the Department declines a labour agreement request.

22. I have been endorsed by the DAR, does this mean I will automatically be granted a Labour Agreement with the Commonwealth government?

No. The Department takes the DAR endorsement into consideration when assessing a labour agreement request. A positive DAR endorsement does not guarantee Departmental approval of a labour agreement request. For example, there may be information before the Department that the DAR is not aware of and that is not appropriate for the Department to disclose.

22. Can I get help or assistance with the DAMA application process?

Immigration SA can provide information and guidance to assist you with the Request for Endorsement Application process. Following endorsement we will provide you with information guides on how to apply for the DAMA Labour Agreement process.

Employers or nominees who need assistance with whole or part of the migration application process, including the Labour Agreement, nomination and/or visa application should consider engaging a registered migration agent.

If you decide you want professional help, use an agent registered with the Office of the Migration Agents Registration Authority (OMARA).

23. Can I self-sponsor under the DAMA?

Whilst there are limited circumstances where self-sponsorship can be considered under the standard TSS program, self-sponsorship is not supported under any labour agreements, including DAMAs.



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