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New Designated Area Migration Agreements proposed for Australia

Posted on May  29 , 2014

Australian Immigration (Department of Immigration and Border Protection) is developing a new programme called Designated Area Migration Agreements (DAMAs) and is currently seeking public views on it.

DAMAs are intended to help Australia fill skill/labour shortages with skilled and semi-skilled overseas workers. They will provide flexibility for different states, territories and regions of Australia’s unique economic and labour market conditions.

What’s the structure of a DAMA?

A DAMA will have a two-tiered structure:

  • An overarching agreement between a representative of employers in the area seeking a DAMA (referred to as a designated area representative) and the Australian Government to bring overseas workers to a designated area.
  • Individual agreements between employers and the Australian Government that allow employers to sponsor overseas workers to the designated area under the terms and conditions agreed to in the over-arching agreement.

Designated area representatives must have the support of their relevant state or territory government to enter into a DAMA.

Once a DAMA is in place, it will allow a designated area representative to endorse an employer to participate in the DAMA. The designated area representative and the government will jointly manage their DAMA. This includes providing the government with an annual report on the operation of the DAMA.

Sponsorship of overseas workers

Through a DAMA, an employer can sponsor an overseas worker for up to four years.

The agreement allows employers to employ a broader range of overseas workers than allowed under the standard temporary skilled migration programme, without the need to individually negotiate terms and conditions.

Consultation closes on 13 June 2014.