Designated Area Migration Agreements (DAMAs) are an agreement between an area and the Australian government for businesses in that area to enter into a labour agreement.

Before you think that this would not apply to you, think again. As a business covered under a DAMA or a visa applicant that is struggling to meet requirements, there are many possibilities and opportunities offered under the different DAMAs that could open up pathways to your business or visa future!

Local businesses under DAMAs are able to sponsor overseas workers under the labour agreement stream Temporary Skill Shortage visa (subclass 482) for occupations under the DAMA that are not under the occupations available to the ‘general public’ via the current migration program schemes. Beyond occupations not available in the current occupation lists, DAMAs also allow for semi skilled occupations.

Each DAMA is a specific arrangement between an area and the Australian government and therefore it is important to understand how the DAMA works for a specific area.

In our prior articles, we explored the Northern Territory DAMA.

Read: Labour Agreement TSS 482 Visa: Northern Territory – Visa Applicants

The South Australian DAMA

In this article, we shall expand on the South Australian DAMA. Are you a local business in South Australia? Read on to see how you may be able to access the South Australia DAMA to sponsor overseas workers that are outside the occupation lists and also obtain certain benefits.

Read: South Australia DAMA

The South Australia DAMA is very new, and opened for applications on 1 July 2019. South Australia has entered into two DAMAS, the Adelaide Technology and Innovation and Advancement Agreement and the South Australian Regional Workforce Agreement.

Adelaide Technology and Innovation Advancement Agreement: Focuses on Adelaide’s high tech growth industries including defence, space, technology and advanced manufacturing industries. This covers the Greater Adelaide planning region.

South Australian Regional Workforce Agreement: Which focuses on the South Australia’s regional high growth industries including agribusiness, forestry, health and social services, tourism and hospitality, construction and mining. The South Australian Regional Workforce Agreement is the Designated Area Migration Agreement covering all of South Australia.

Benefits for employers under the South Australia DAMA

  • Allows for local employers experiencing skills and labour shortages to sponsor overseas workers in skilled and semi-skilled positions. 174 occupations have been approved offering a ceiling of 1,050 positions in the first year
  • Concessions such as English language, salary, occupations not included in the standard skilled occupation lists and age to facilitate pathways to permanent residency are available
  • Priority processing by Department of Home Affairs (DOHA) is given to applications lodged under a DAMA labour agreement

Look out for our second article on the South Australia DAMA and what benefits apply!

Note that businesses are still required to pay the Skilling Australian Fund levy. This levy came into effect in August 2018.

Read: TSS, ENS & RSMS Visas: Skilling Australians Fund In effect From 12 August 2018

How it works

The Immigration South Australia acts as the Designated Area Representative (DAR), which is responsible for endorsing employers seeking to access overseas workers through the South Australia DAMA. Employers who seek to sponsor overseas workers will need to meet the South Australia DAR requirements.

  1. Employer applies for DAR endorsement via the Immigration SA Apply website
  2. DAR undertakes assessment for endorsement
  3. DAR issues a Letter of Endorsement to the employer and notifies DOHA
  4. Employer requests DAMA Labour Agreement with the DOHA
  5. DOHA assesses Labour Agreement application and notifies employer of outcome
  6. Employer proceeds to lodge nomination and visa application with DOHA

South Australia DAMA Occupation List

Within Adelaide City there are 60 occupations under the Adelaide City Technology and Innovation Advancement DAMA.

Occupations available under the South Australia DAMA for Adelaide City can be found in the following link.

Read: Adelaide City Technology and Innovation Advancement DAMA Occupation List

Covering the entire state of South Australia is the South Australian Regional Workforce DAMA which has 114 occupations under it. Employees must be under the age of 50 to access this occupation list.

Read: South Australian Regional Workforce DAMA Occupation List

In our following article we will also cover what the specific requirements on each occupation is.

Employers under the South Australia DAMA

Employers under the South Australia DAMA must:

  • Meet the Terms and Conditions of Endorsement as set by the DAR (endorsed by the South Australia DAR to enter into a DAMA labour agreement with the Australia government)
  • Enter into individual DAMA labour agreements with the Department of Home Affairs (DOHA)
  • Ensure the nomination criteria are met and to the best of their knowledge the nominee satisfy their visa criteria
  • Pay all applicable fees and levies when lodging nomination applications
  • Lodge nominations to fill vacancies up to a 4 year period through the Temporary Skill Shortage (TSS) 482 visa program under the labour agreement stream
  • Meet sponsorship obligations
  • Work with the DAR and Commonwealth Department to review the DAMA labour agreement annually
  • Are financially viable and have been lawfully operating for at least 12 months
  • Have no adverse history of not meeting their obligations to employees
  • Can demonstrate they cannot fill the position locally with Australian citizens or permanent residents
  • Can provide conditions of employment to overseas workers that are in accordance with those offered to Australian workers employed in the region.
  • Meet a range of risk and integrity requirements to ensure that the rights of both the worker and the employer are protected

Note that labour hire companies are not able to access endorsement under the South Australia DAMA.

Read: South Australia DAMA Terms and Conditions

South Australian employers must provide evidence on meeting on the following criteria:

  1. Specify which agreement and request the number of positions they need to fill in one year, detailing the occupation(s) and concession(s) they seek
  2. Show they are based in South Australia and are lawfully operating that business for more than 12 months
  3. Are financially viable
  4. Demonstrate the position(s) they seek to fill is genuine and there is a genuine vacancy
  5. Demonstrate they cannot fill the position locally with Australians citizens or permanent residents
  6. Show employment terms and conditions are in accordance with those offered to Australian workers employed in the region
  7. Provide detail on any recent changes to workforce composition in the last 6 months
  8. Show that requested occupations and concessions are reasonable with regard to current labour market conditions in the region
  9. Declare there is no adverse information about the employer
  10. Show that concessions will not undermine Overseas Worker’s ability to support themselves or lead to exploitation

Read: South Australia DAMA Endorsement Application Checklist

Labour Market Testing (LMT)

South Australian businesses must demonstrate they cannot fill the position locally 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 a DAR endorsement and at the nomination stage.

This requirement is similar to other employer sponsored visas, businesses will need to show that they have attempted to fill the position with an Australian citizen or permanent resident, but have not been successful. The business must show that this is despite offering terms of employment and salary that meets the market standard. In our previous article we have covered what the government looks for with the Labour Market Testing (LMT) requirement.

Read: Temporary Skill Shortage 482 Visa: Labour Market Testing (LMT) Requirement

Are you a business in South Australia looking to sponsor an overseas worker with an occupation or skill level not currently in the occupation lists? Find out more about what it takes to do so under the South Australia DAMA and how this will benefit you in finding the right workers for your business. Australian Immigration Law Services has a two decade long history in helping both employers and potential employees solve their visa woes. Call +61 2 8054 2537, 0434 890 199 or book online today to speak to our migration specialists.