About the GV Dama
What is a DAMA?
A Designated Area Migration Agreement (DAMA) is an agreement between the Australian Government and a designated area. Through an agreement-based framework, it provides flexibility for states, territories or regions to respond to their unique economic and labour market requirements.
The Goulburn Valley (GV) region has negotiated a DAMA to include occupations and conditions that assist our region in addressing acute labour shortages. Under this framework, employers in the GV area who are experiencing skills and labour shortages can apply for endorsement to enter into a DAMA labour agreement. Compared to the standard skilled visa program, this agreement enables employers to sponsor skilled and semi-skilled overseas workers with more flexible requirements.
DAMA’s ensure employers recruit Australian citizens and permanent residents as a first priority and then recruit overseas workers to fill the gaps where needed.
The GV DAMA is a skilled migration program that is tailored to the needs of the Goulburn Valley (GV) Region, being the Greater Shepparton, Campaspe and Moira Shire areas. The GV DAMA provides flexibility and certainty for both employers and workers, including;
- The ability to have occupations added (or removed) based on local demand and evidence;
- Semi-skilled as well as skilled occupations (Skill Levels 1-5);
- Access to well-defined permanent visa pathways for all occupations in Skill Level 1-5;
- Access to age concessions of 55 or 50 (depending on occupation) rather that the general age limit of 45 applying to standard migration pathways;
- Multiple visa options – Temporary Skill Shortage (TSS), Employer Nomination Scheme (ENS) (providing the qualifying time has been met) or Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional (Provisional) (SESR), (that provides a pathway to permanent residence under the Permanent Residence Skilled Regional (PRSR));
- Concessions to work experience requirements, compared to those in standard skilled migration pathways;
- Salary concessions for lower skilled occupations;
- English language concessions for numerous occupations;
Note: This is a summary only – do not make business decisions based on this summary.
Goulburn Valley DAMA
The Goulburn Valley region, in Northern Victoria, entered into a DAMA with the Australian Government in December 2021. This includes the Local Government areas of Greater Shepparton City Council, Moira Shire Council and Campaspe Shire Council.
The GV DAMA enables the region’s employers to sponsor skilled and semi-skilled overseas workers for specified occupations they are unable to fill with local workers.
- Providing the GV with a flexible mechanism to assist with workforce shortages and support workforce planning.
- Enabling employers in the GV, who are unable to recruit appropriately qualified Australians, to supplement their workforce with overseas workers.
- Supporting the expansion of the GV economy through job growth.
- Ensuring that overseas workers sponsored through labour agreements receive terms and conditions that meet applicable Australian workplace law, providing them with no less favourable terms and conditions than those given to Australian workers.
- Promoting the training of Australians by employers entering into a labour agreement.
The DAMA program utilises the subclass 482 Temporary Skills Shortage (TSS), subclass 494 Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional (Provisional), and subclass 186 Employer Nominated Scheme (ENS) visa programs.
Employers interested in a labour agreement under the DAMA must first be endorsed by the Designated Area Representative (DAR)
If the employer is endorsed, the DAR will provide a letter of endorsement to the employer and the Department of Home Affairs. The endorsed employer may then apply for a DAMA labour agreement to the Department of Home Affairs through ImmiAccount. Workers may then be nominated for a subclass 482 or provisional 494 visa.
The DAMA program is an employer-sponsored program and individual workers cannot apply independently.
GV DAMA key elements:
- Providing a pathway to permanent residency (refer to Frequently Asked Questions for more information).
- Restricted to fifty-six (56) Approved Occupations that reflect skilled and semi-skilled shortages in the GV region.
- English language concessions for some occupations.
- Salary concessions for some occupations, while ensuring that worker terms and conditions of employment are not eroded.
- A range of risk and integrity actions to ensure that the rights of both workers and employers are protected.
Accessing the GV DAMA
Businesses can access the GV DAMA if they are actively operating in the GV region. Other requirements needed for these businesses include:
- Viability and at least 12 months of operation.
- A history of meeting their obligations to employees, including previous employment of overseas workers.
- Looking to employ overseas workers to fill full-time positions with duties that align with one of the Approved Occupations on the GV DAMA list.
- Demonstration that they cannot fill the position locally with Australian citizens or permanent residents.
- Providing terms and conditions of employment to overseas workers that are in accordance with those offered to Australian workers employed in the region.
Designated Area Representative
The Designated Area Representative (DAR) is responsible for the management and broad oversight of the DAMA program. This includes:
- Endorsement of employers seeking to access a labour agreement and thereby employ an overseas worker.
- Monitoring activities, including labour market patterns in the GV region.
- Providing support services for employers and visa holders involved in a labour agreement under the GV DAMA program.
- Reporting to the government on the program.
- Providing regular evaluation reports to the Australian Government.
The Greater Shepparton City Council is the DAR for the GV DAMA.