Dama Australia — Designated Area Migration Agreements

Mario Grigorescu
7 min readNov 7, 2022


Dama Australia — Designated Area Migration Agreements

06/11/2022 by Maddie Phillips

A summary of the Designated Area Migration Agreements — DAMA Australia

The Designated Area Migration Agreement or DAMA is a gateway to long-term employment within Australia for more occupations than the standard skilled migration programs. For most skilled and semi-skilled overseas workers, the agreement is a pathway to permanent residency. DAMA is the result of a negotiation that took place between Australian states, territories, regional authorities, and the Australian Department of Home Affairs which concluded in complex agreements with various requirements.

The Designated Area Migration Agreements (DAMA) are an agreement-based framework that is utilized as a swifter way to gain access to a larger talent pool and more occupations than what is offered by more traditional skilled work visa programs. It is usually focused more on a particular region’s skill-shortage needs, as a response to economic and labour market conditions.

These agreements are generally in effect for five years from the date when the agreement is executed by both the Australian Department of Home Affairs and the Australian business sponsor. Each executed DAMA agreement outlines the sponsorship obligations, the location of the employment, the approved nominated occupation and the nomination ceiling allocated to the nominated occupation throughout the life of the agreement. Additionally, if the Australian business has negotiated various concessions such as salary or English language concessions, these concessions are listed in the executed DAMA agreement.

There are currently 12 Designated Area Migration Agreements (DAMA) that are in place across Australia. One of the main requirements for being a DAMA approved business is that the business must have been lawfully operational within the designated area for at-least 12 months, and must also be economically viable.

DAMA South Australia

Adelaide City Technology and Advancement Agreement is one of the DAMA’s that are currently in force in South Australia. It is one of two agreements that are currently in place within South Australia, with the second one being the South Australia Regional Workforce Agreement.

The Adelaide City Technology and Advancement Agreement is focused on primarily advancing Adelaide’s growing technology or high-tech industries. This includes areas such as: Defence, Space, Technology, and advancement manufacturing industries. All of this is centered around the Adelaide Metropolitan Area.

The South Australian Regional Work Agreement, by contrast is an agreement that is focused on regional high-growth industries, such as Agribusiness, which is farming and maintaining of farm operations/equipment. However, it also includes Mining, construction, Forestry, tourism, health and services. This agreement, unlike the prior City and Technology advancement agreement, is not limited to the city of Adelaide. It is a broader agreement that can encompass, the entirety of South Australia.

DAMA Western Australia

Within Western Australia, there is the East Kimberley Designated Area Migration Agreement. This agreement is made for the purpose of fulfilling key shortages in certain positions within the area of East Kimberley, but this agreement is put in place to ensure that this is not done at the compromise of hindering Australian access to these jobs. Rather, it is done to make sure that the conditions for overseas workers are more broad in allowing them greater access to certain positions. These positions are outlined within a key document on the EKDAMA website that outlines what’s available within the Shire of East Wyndum.

The Goldfields DAMA is one of the longer-running agreements within Western Australia, getting its start in 2019. It is done for the purpose of ensuring the area known as the Goldfields, which includes the shires of Coolgardie, Dundas, Esperance, Leonora, Menzies and Ravensthorpe, all have access to skilled and semi-skilled employment in key areas.

These occupations are primarily for Aged or Disabled Carer, Agricultural and Horticultural Mobile Plant Operator, Beef Cattle Farmer, Child Care Worker, Family Day Care Educator, Meat Boner and Slicer, Nursing Support Worker, Personal Care Assistant, and Shearer Slaughterer. However, some other concessions do exist for some other occupations.

Also within Western Australia, there is an agreement made for the area of Pilbara. The Pilbara Designated Area Migration Agreement is tailored to address current occupational staff shortages within key professions in the area due to the previous travel restrictions from Covid-19 and the remote location. While the Covid19 restrictions have lessened, there are still occupations that do need to be filled for the purpose of ensuring further economic stability in key areas.

The Pilbara region also includes the City of Karratha and the Town of Port Hedland. The occupations that can be accessed under this agreement, can be found on the RDA Pilbara website that outlines the occupations list.

For the final region within Western Australia, there is the South-West DAMA. This was the most recent DAMA agreement that has come into effect starting in January of this year, hoping to bring in more professions to fill key areas that were impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Even now, many of these areas are still in high demand across the region, which is the most vast of the DAMA agreements as it includes twelve areas in total; 2 Cities and ten Shires. As with the other agreements, the South-West DAMA has a list of approved occupations that can be found on the website.

DAMA Queensland

Within Queensland, there are only two DAMA agreements currently in effect. The first, and most far-reaching, of these DAMAs is the Far North Queensland or DAMA FNQ. This agreement has recently undergone some changes, namely in the removal of some unused occupations, addition of new occupations , elimination of some non-ANZSCO occupation options that had now become obsolete along with changes in the age-concessions and more flexibility with English language concessions.

These were brought in back in March 30th of this year, making it the most recent updates to this agreement and it’s occupations list. This agreement includes the areas: Cairns, Douglas, Mareeba, Tablelands, Cook, or Cassowary Coast local government areas, or the Torres Shire Council local government area, or the Northern Peninsula Area Regional Council local government area, or the Weipa Town Authority area.

The second and final Queensland DAMA in effect is the Townsville North Queensland Destination Area Migration Agreement. This area covers: Mount Issa, Shire of Cloncurry, Shire of McKinlay, Shire of Richmond, Shire of Flinders, Charters Towers Region, Burdekin Shire, Hinchibrook Shire and the City of Townsville. It has a vast occupation list of over 200 occupations that are available, giving it extensive options for employment in a more remote regional area compared to the previous DAMA FNQ.

DAMA Victoria

As with Queensland, Victoria only has two DAMA agreements available at present. The first of these is the Goulburn Valley Designated Area Migration Agreement. This agreement is one of the smaller areas, encompassing only the government areas of Greater Shepparton City Council, Moira Shire Council and Campaspe Shire Council.

The Goulburn Valley DAMA includes a list of 56 occupations that are in demand, making it a smaller list compared to other regions in addition to its smaller size. However, this does not make it any less important as the agreement allows for the employers in Goulburn Valley to supplement their workforce with skilled and semi-skilled overseas workers and help grow the local economy.

The Great South Coast DAMA is the second of the Victorian situated agreements. This region is set to include the areas of: Glenelg Shire, Southern Grampians Shire, Moyne Shire, Corangamite Shire, Colac-Otway Shire and Warrnambool City Council. While it include more designated areas, it is an agreement that only has a maximum of 38 occupations to select from compared to the Goulburn Valley DAMA. This agreement allows for more support for the Great South Coast region, and enables the economy to be able to grow back to what it had been prior to the COVID-19 pandemic restricted travel to this area.

DAMA Northern Territory

The Northern Territory Designated Area Migration Agreement is unique among the other DAMA’s. Not only is it the singular agreement that is currently offered for the state of the Northern Territory, but it is the only DAMA agreement that is said to encompass an entire state area in its singular entirety.

This makes the Northern Territory DAMA the one with the broadest possible area of reach compared to the other agreements, and one of only two states that only have a singular DAMA agreement currently in effect. The Northern Territory DAMA also has stipulations that allows for feedback to be given to the Industry Skills Advisory Council of Northern Territory to keep it updated on what occupations need to be filled or ensure if the occupations list needs to be updated.

DAMA Orana, New South Wales

The final DAMA agreement that needs to be examined is the Orana Designated Area Migration Agreement (DAMA) which come into effect in April 2019.

This is the only agreement currently offered in New South Wales, and is limited to the Orana Region, a regional area of Northern New South Wales, with the DAMA itself being more focused on regional development due to the regions location and size. The list of occupations that can be sponsored under the Orana DAMA program is here — occupations All occupations under the Orana DAMA are eligible for the TSS skilled work 482 visa to ENS 186 Permanent Residency Pathway.

The processing time for a full DAMA process including DAR endorsement application, DAMA Labour Agreement application, business nomination and visa application is between 4 to 6 months. Contact our migration experts today to start the process as soon as possible and secure your skilled work visa Australia.



Mario Grigorescu

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