Further information on the Designated Area Migration Agreements (DAMAs) continues to be forthcoming with the occupation lists for South Australia’s two DAMAs and the Warrnambool region in Victoria recently published. DAMAs are overarching intergovernmental labour agreements designed to assist local employers in areas where critical skill shortages exist. They come under the Subclass 482 – Temporary Skill Shortage visa regime and if possible, may provide a pathway to a permanent Subclass 186 – Employer Nomination Scheme visa.
SA’s Adelaide Metropolitan DAMA is tailored to assist its space and defence industries and innovation agenda, and is available only to businesses operating in Greater Adelaide. While many of the 60 occupations available are for engineering professionals and can be nominated under the standard business sponsorship regime, major attractions are that all occupations have a pathway to a permanent visa and many occupations have age concessions for people less than 55 years of age for that permanent visa. This may benefit professionals who would not meet the high-salary income thresholds for a 186 visa or will not meet the age requirements for the Subclass 494 – Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional (Provisional) visa when it becomes available on 16 November 2019.
While the SA regional occupation list does not have a pathway a permanent visa for all of the 114 occupations listed, the DAMA is broader and designed to fill skill shortages in the agricultural, forestry, hospitality, tourism, health and construction industries. There are also more concessions available depending on the occupation, including:
• Up to a 10 per cent reduction of the Temporary Skilled Migration Income Threshold (TSMIT), which is currently $53,900 plus compulsory superannuation
• English language concessions;
• Skill assessment concessions; and
• Age concessions for access to a 186 visa.
Further details on concessions, requirements and the application process will be available on 1 July 2019 when it is expected the SA Government will be accepting applications for its allotment of a collective 1050 nominations for their first year.
The Warrnambool DAMA is a smaller agreement in comparison to its western neighbor, offering a ceiling of 100 positions in its first year in 27 occupations. There will, however, be salary and English concessions for some occupations and a pathway to a permanent visa for all occupations with a skill level between 1 and 4, which currently only excludes the occupation of 831311 Meat Process Worker. More information will be provided on specific requirements in the coming weeks with a target date to be live from 1 July 2019. Currently, unless a labor agreement has been negotiated between employers and the Department of Home Affairs providing a pathway to a permanent visa, only skill level 3 or above occupations, excluding the occupation of 272211 Minister of Religion, can be nominated for a permanent Subclass 187 – Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme visa under the Direct Entry stream and most likely the approved list of occupations will not change when the 494 visa commences.
For the two other recently signed DAMAs, Orana in NSW and the Goldfields region in WA, the occupation lists have yet to be published, however, they too are expecting to begin accepting applications from July 2019.