We are developing a new programme called Designated Area Migration Agreements (DAMAs) and are seeking your views on this new programme.
DAMAs will be good for Australia, helping areas in Australia experiencing skills and labour shortages to supplement their workforce with skilled and semi-skilled overseas workers.
Australia’s economy is complex and the circumstances affecting states and territories vary considerably. Skills and labour shortages can impact on the economic performance of different areas, potentially jeopardising the growth or existence of some Australian businesses. A DAMA provides flexibility for states, territories and regions to respond to their 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.
Why should an employer be involved in a DAMA?
Through a DAMA, an employer can sponsor an overseas worker for up to four years. These agreements are tailored to suit the employer’s circumstances, including the number of overseas workers and the occupations to be filled.
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. Small businesses, which may not have the resources to negotiate a labour agreement directly with the Australian Government, may benefit from the DAMA programme.
The principles underpinning the DAMA programme include ensuring opportunities for Australians first, maintaining a fair work environment, supporting overseas workers and comprehensive stakeholder consultation.
The department is seeking the views of stakeholders, including the Australian public, on the DAMA programme. You can find the draft DAMA guidelines and we invite you to comment on them by emailing us at email@example.com.
Consultation closed on 13 June 2014. Thank you for your feedback on the DAMA programme.