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All you wanted to know about DAMA

Posted on November 5, 2020
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Migrate to Australia

What is DAMA?

DAMA is a Designated Area Migration Agreement (DAMA) that is used in migration to Australia. It is a type of labor agreement.

A labor agreement is a work agreement that permits approved employers to sponsor skilled and semi-skilled overseas workers for positions which they find difficult to fill with local workers due to the shortage of local workers in the market.

The DAMA is an agreement that is made between the Designated Area Representative (DAR) and the Australian Government. Other types of labor agreements also include: Company specific labor agreements, Project agreements, Global Talent Scheme (GTS) agreements and Industry labor agreements.

The DAMA provides an opportunity for applicants who are too old to apply for a PR visa through the normal visa pathways. Apart from this, a DAMA helps applicants obtain a PR visa through employer sponsorship especially when this is not possible through traditional visa pathways.

The DAMA agreement provides access to additional occupations and concessions to standard migration programs under the:

Temporary Skill Shortage visa (Subclass 482)

Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional visa (Subclass 494)

Employer Nomination Scheme (Subclass 186)

With a DAMA agreement, local businesses can apply for endorsement and enter into individual labor agreements under the conditions of the relevant DAMA.

 Active DAMAs

There are currently seven DAMA lists in place these are:

  1. The Orana region DAMA with 73 occupations available and skills and work experience, salary, English and permanent pathway concessions.
  2. The Northern Territory DAMA II with 117 occupations available and English and salary concessions for some occupations.
  3. The Far North Queensland DAMA with 70 occupations available and English, skills, experience, salary and permanent pathway concessions for some occupations.
  4. The Adelaide City Technology and Innovation Advancement DAMA (Metro) with 63 occupations available and English, age, salary and permanent residency pathway concessions.
  5. The South Australian Regional Workforce DAMA (Regional) with 137 occupations available and English, age, salary and permanent residency pathway concessions.
  6. The Victoria’s Great South Coast DAMA with 27 occupations available and English, skills, experience, salary and permanent pathway concessions for some occupations.
  7. The Goldfields DAMA with 72 occupations available and English, salary and permanent pathway concessions for some occupations.

Why opt for DAMA?

  • A DAMA can help you get a Permanent Residency in the future
  • Additional jobs can be sponsored on this visa which are not in the Short-term Skilled Occupation List (STSOL)
  • The entry requirements for a visa under DAMA are lower than conventional visa, these include lower English language requirements, lower salary requirements and even age concessions

How to apply under a DAMA?

Since the DAMA is an employer-sponsored visa program, it is not possible for individual workers to make a visa application on an independent basis. The employers in this case must apply to the relevant DAR to access the DAMA for information on occupations, concessions and the number of workers.

Requirements for DAMA application

  1. As an applicant you must be nominated by an employer in a relevant occupation. The employer must have a labor agreement through the specific DAMA region.
  2. You must meet the English requirements. Your score can be lesser than the standard requirement of 5 in IELTS but should not be lesser then 4.5.
  3. You must have an employment contract from your employer. The salary offered to you must meet the standard requirements. For instance, the minimum salary requirement for Subclass 482 visa applicants is 53,900 dollars per year.
  4. You must have the qualifications and work experience to work in the occupation

Steps in the application process

Step 1. Your employer should apply to the relevant DAR for endorsement.

Step 2. The DAR will assess the endorsement application.

Step 3. If the assessment is positive the DAR issues a letter of endorsement to the employer and notifies the Department.

Step 4. The sponsoring business will now make an application to enter into an individual DAMA labor agreement with the Department.

Step 5. The Department will assess the DAMA application.

Step 6. Once the employer receives a positive assessment, the employer can then lodge a nomination for the employee and the employee in turn can lodge a visa application under the labor agreement stream with the Department.

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