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Public consultation about Designated Area Migration Agreements

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 dama@immi.gov.au.

Consultation closed on 13 June 2014. Thank you for your feedback on the DAMA programme.


Comments (5)


What's the difference between the DAMA and the previous RMA initiative?



Thanks for your question Simon.

The DAMA replaces the Regional Migration Agreement (RMA ) programme, which was previously announced in the 2011-12 Budget. DAMAs will have a broader and more flexible application than RMAs. They are designed to assist areas experiencing skill and labour shortages to supplement their workforce. They also provide states, territories and regions, with an additional workforce planning tool to support economic performance and help them adjust to changing economic conditions. They are not limited to regional areas.


What is the format for State/Territory support & what government department/agency will be designated to provide it?


Does this mean DAMAs will replace State Migration Plans?


Thanks For your question Geraldine.

Relevant state or territory governments must provide their support for a DAMA submission in writing and this will be provided to the department by the designated area representative. The department has requested that state and territory governments provide details of an appropriate area within their respective bureaucracies which will be authorised to assess whether the state or territory supports a DAMA submission. These details will be provided in the final version of the DAMA guidelines.

John, to answer your question as to whether DAMAs will replace State Migration Plans - DAMAs will complement and not replace State Migration Plans.