DAMAs – The Future to Addressing Skill Shortage Issues in Australia?

    View Authors March 2019

    In response to the ongoing labour skill shortages in Australia’s regional areas and an attempt to draw the migrant population to live and work outside Australia’s major cities, the Australian federal government (AFG) has designed an agreement that will allow regional employers who are not able to utilise the common streams of the Temporary Skill Shortage visa (Subclass 482) (TSS Visa Program) to bring in skilled and semi-skilled workers. Whilst still utilising a stream of the TSS Visa Program, the agreements are said to offer more occupations, more flexibility and a pathway to permanent residency for visa holders.

    The agreements are called “Designated Area Migration Agreements” (DAMAs) and are utilised under the Labour Agreement stream of the TSS visa. A DAMA is negotiated by states, territories or regions, which have employers who are experiencing skills and labour shortages to sponsor overseas workers for positions in their businesses.

    Currently, the most prominent DAMA is in the Northern Territory (NT). The Australian government has also recently announced a DAMA with Victoria’s Great South Coast region. There are also discussions with a range of other regions around Australia that are experiencing skills shortages, including the Pilbara and the Kalgoorlie-Boulder regions in Western Australia, the Orana region in central New South Wales and Cairns in North Queensland.