Making the world local employers’ oyster

25 October 2023

By Murray Silby, as published in the Shepparton News, Friday 20 October 2023.

A niche employment program is helping businesses from three neighbouring municipalities in the Goulburn, Campaspe and Murray valleys to fill vacancies with overseas workers.

The Goulburn Valley Designated Area Migration Agreement is a skilled migration program tailored to the needs of the local region and enables employers who are unable to recruit appropriately qualified Australians to supplement their workforce with overseas workers.

“It’s niche because there are 10 DAMAs in Australia and only two in Victoria. The GV DAMA is the three local government areas of Greater Shepparton City Council, Moira and Campaspe,” GV DAMA co-ordinator Tina Pellegrino said.

“There are concessions appli­cable to this designated area, and this is what’s unique about us.”

Concessions applicable to a DAMA include more flexible age, pay and job restrictions, with the intention of making it easier to fill a difficult-to-fill role.

Since the GV DAMA’s launch in March 2022, 16 employers have been endorsed to nominate 54 skilled migrants to fill labour shortages across a variety of industries in the region.

Those industries include health, agriculture, transport, hospitality and manufacturing, with roles including concrete pump operators, registered nurs­es, truck drivers, arborists and agricultural technicians filled by skilled migrants from Argenina, India, Croatia, Ireland and the Philippines.

Ms Pellegrino said several oth­er Goulbum Valley employers had applications under way for many more occupations, including secondary school teachers, mechanics and civil engineers.

“There’s 56 occupations avail­able through this DAMA program, and of those, about 16 of them would otherwise not normally be available for an employer to spon­sor someone for,” she said.

“In most cases, our employers aren’t necessarily finding people overseas and then sponsoring them to come over; they’re often already in Australia. They have been working in the industry or potentially working for them.

“They can contact me to see if they are eligible for the agree­ment, and the main eligibility is that the employer’s location is in the desinated area, which is as vast as the three local government areas, and then showing that they are viable.

“It’s not necessarily for every business, but I do want to get the information out to businesses that if you’re in the designated area, you’re eligible for this pro­gram, so it’s good to know about it and see if it’s applicable.”

For more information regarding the GV DAMA, contact Tina Pellegrino on 5832 9700 or via email