Designated Area Migration Agreements (DAMAs) represent exciting opportunities for both businesses and visa applicants alike, offering a chance for business to employ (and applicants to be sponsored for) occupations that are not usually available, concessions on requirements and more.
Not too long ago we introduced the Orana DAMA, an agreement between an area and the Australian government, which would allow businesses in the area to apply for a Labour Agreement. That Labour Agreement would allow those businesses to sponsor overseas workers for employment under the Labour Agreement stream Temporary Skills Shortage (TSS) visa (subclass 482). The benefits of the Labour Agreement stream are not to be overlooked and include occupations as well as occupation skill levels that are otherwise not typically available. These exceptions and the requirements are specific to a DAMA, and if you were a business or applicant, you would need to look at each DAMA individually to see if you were eligible.
The Orana DAMA has only just become open to applications and very recently released information on the requirements and benefits that are available under the agreement.
A business that is covered by the Orana DAMA must first apply to the Regional Development Authority (RDA) of Orana, after which they may begin to sponsor applicants for the Labour Agreement stream TSS 482 visa.
Benefits include a broader range of occupations for both skilled and semi skilled applicants, English concessions and salary concessions.
This is a two part article, so do check back in to get the full picture of how the Orana DAMA works. We highly encourage that both employer and applicant understand what is required from both parties to avoid disappointment and difficulties in this rather complex visa application.
About the business (part I):
- Business eligibility
- Labour Market Testing
- Skilling Australians Fund
- Business application to Orana RDA
About the applicant (part II):
- Orana DAMA occupation list
- Skill concessions
- Temporary Skilled Migration Income Threshold (TSMIT) concessions
- English proficiency concessions
- Pathway to permanent residency
A business wishing to sponsor overseas workers under the Orana DAMA must meet certain requirements:
- The employing business must have a physical presence in the Orana region
- The activities of the occupation must be substantially within the Orana region
- Be a registered Australian entity
- Has been actively operating for at least 12 months
- Be able to show the capacity to employ the overseas worker for at least the length of the requested visa
- Have a history of compliance with all relevant workplace legislation
- No adverse information
The Orana RDS will take the following factors into consideration when considering a businesses application:
- The current and further workforce needs to determine which occupations and concessions requested will be endorsed under the Orana DAMA
- How many positions can be nominated for each occupation and for each concession
Businesses seeking to access additional overseas workers will need to apply to the Orana RDA for additional positions (see application process at the end of this article).
No adverse information
Simply put, adverse information includes the following. For detailed explanations, visit the link below.
- A person has contravened a law of the Commonwealth, State or Territory
- A person is under investigation, subject to disciplinary action or subject to legal proceedings
- A person has been a subject of administrative action
- A person has become insolvent
- A person has provided bogus documentation or information that is false or misleading in a material particular
- Other adverse information
Labour Market Testing (LMT)
Businesses must demonstrate they cannot fill the position with Australian citizens or permanent residents. 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 an endorsement with Orana RDA and is checked at the pre-lodgement interview. Evidence must again be provided with the visa application.
This requirement is similar to other employer sponsored visas. Advertisement of the position must have occurred in over four months in the six months before the application is made. Advertisement of the role must have offered terms of employment conditions and a renumeration that meets the standard currently in the market. As per the usual 482 visa requirements the adds must be in place for at least 4 weeks and meet the usual criteria.
Advertisement can be done through:
- A recruitment agency
- Advertising the vacancy in:
- professional and trade publications
- industry associations’ newsletters.
- Advertising on a recruitment website like:
- Working with Job Services Australia, who work with businesses to assess the types of workers required and attempt to match them with trained and work ready job seekers.
- Consider employing an apprentice – if you don’t have enough work for an ongoing or full-time apprenticeship position, group training organisations can organise to share an apprentice with another business, go to the Australian Apprenticeships website.
Skilling Australians Fund (SAF) Levy
Orana businesses are not exempt from paying the Skilling Australian Fund (SAF) levy, which is a levy applied to all employer sponsored visas.
Small business (under AUD $10 million in annual turnover)
TSS: AUD $1,200 per year of the proposed visa period
RSMS/ENS: AUD $3,000 one off payment
Other businesses (AUD $10 million and above in annual turnover)
TSS: AUD $1,800 per year of the proposed visa period
RSMS/ENS: AUD $5,000 one off payment
A business must complete an application form and make an appointment for a pre-lodgement meeting with RDA Orana. The interview will check the following:
- The business meets the requirements for business endorsement by Orana
- The intended position is on the Orana DAMA occupation list
- Labour Market Testing (LMT) has been correctly conducted
- What concessions are required for the position
- The documents required are available
Only when eligibility is confirmed, will the Orana RDA provide the business with the ability to lodge the application. There is an application fee of $1,000 plus GST for each position.
Orana RDA has a turnaround time of 10 business days from the date of the application. Should there be a need for more information and the decision cannot be made, the application will be valid for 3 months after which you must reapply to Orana RDA.
If the result in positive and Orana RDA endorses the business, they will provide a letter of endorsement, which must be provided when the application for a Labour Agreement is made to the Department of Home Affairs (DOHA). There is no fee associated with a Labour Agreement application.
An endorsement by Orana RDA is valid for 12 months at a time.
Once a Labour Agreement is approved, the business has up to 12 months to nominate an applicant.
Are you a business in Orana and are confused by what benefits are available to you or how to go about sponsoring an overseas worker? The Orana DAMA is completely new in the market, but we are here to help. Australian Immigration Law Services has looked after many businesses and applicants in their employer sponsored visa applications. We have experience in regional applications and applications under other DAMAs. Call +61 2 8054 2537, 0434 890 199 or book online today to speak to our migration specialists.