DAMA – A new path to regional visa

Designated area migration agreements

Designated Area Migration Agreement (DAMA) is a formal agreement between the Australian Government and a regional, state or territory authority. It provides access to more overseas workers than the standard skilled migration program. DAMAs operate under an agreement-based framework, providing flexibility for regions to respond to their unique economic and labour market conditions.

A DAMA is a two-tier framework covering a defined regional area. The first tier is an overarching five-year deed of agreement (head agreement) with the region’s representative. The second tier comprises individual labour agreements with employers under the settings of the head agreement for that region.

DAMA labour agreements are between the Australian Government and endorsed employers operating within the relevant region. They are generally in effect for five years and use the Temporary Skills Shortage (TSS) and Employer Nominated Scheme (ENS) visa programs.

Employers must seek and gain endorsement from the Designated Area Representative before lodging a labour agreement request. Under the DAMA framework, employers in designated areas experiencing skills and labour shortages can sponsor skilled and semi-skilled overseas workers. Individuals cannot directly access a DAMA.

Individuals need to be sponsored:

  • by an employer operating in a designated region,
  • for an occupation that is specified in the head agreement.

DAMAs ensure employers recruit Australian citizens and permanent residents as a first priority. Among other things, employers must demonstrate a genuine attempt to recruit Australians prior to getting access to a DAMA.

For information about labour agreements or other options for regional areas, the following resources are available: Regional Migration and Labour AgreementS.

We currently have seven DAMAs in place:

Northern Territory: Northern Territory Designated Area Migration Agreement

The Goldfields, WA: City of Kalgoorlie Boulder

Great South Coast, VIC: Warrnambool City Council

Adelaide City and Regional SA: Immigration South Australia

Orana, NSW: Regional Development Australia – Orana, NSW

Far North Queensland: Cairns Chamber of Commerce DAMA – Cairns Chamber of Commerce.

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