DAMA: Your pathway to PR
Are you looking for a pathway to becoming an Australian permanent resident? DAMA could be the solution.
It’s not as straightforward as skilled migration, though. You must also be willing to work in designated regional areas.
DAMA does have a huge advantage, however. Some applicants under this agreement could qualify for concessions, making it easier to be eligible for a work visa.
What is DAMA?
DAMA is not a visa subclass. It is an agreement signed between the Australian Government and a regional, state or territory authority.
The DAMA (Designated Area Migration Agreement) enables the local authority to nominate and sponsor skilled and semi-skilled overseas workers for specific occupations.
Furthermore, DAMA occupations are a broader range than is available through the standard skilled visa programs, as DAMA agreements support each regional area’s unique circumstances and labour market needs.
Why should you consider DAMA?
There are three reasons why you should consider DAMA as someone who wants to live and work in Australia:
1. DAMA is a pathway to Permanent Residence
Under DAMA, you’ll apply for a Temporary Skill Shortage visa (Subclass 482). You can then apply for PR through the Employer Nomination Scheme visa (Subclass 186), subject to meeting the qualifying criteria. Usually, you’d have to have worked in your occupation for two to four years.
2. DAMA occupations are broad
The Australian Government and local authorities negotiate DAMAs to address identified workforce shortages in a region, which means DAMAs cover additional occupations not on the skilled occupation lists of the Subclass 482 visa.
3. Lower entry requirements than standard migration programmes
DAMA agreements often allow concessions to standard visa requirements. These may include concessions to age, salary, work experience, or English language ability criteria, making it easier to qualify for a work visa under DAMA.
Here are some examples from DAMAs that are in place:
- The age limit for visa and PR applicants is raised from 45 to 55 for occupations with Skill Level 1 to 4, and up to 50 years old for Skill 5 occupations.
- IELTS scores of 5.0 overall, and a minimum IELTS score of 4.0 for individual bands, are accepted. For skilled migration, you must achieve an overall IELTS score of 7.0
- The identified market salary of a DAMA position must be at least the temporary skilled migration income threshold (TSMIT), but concessions could mean that the remuneration could be less. For instance, one concession from the Northern Territory DAMA stipulates workers must earn no less than 90% of the Northern Territory’s TSMIT.
- You only need 1 year of relevant work experience as opposed to 2 years as it’s usually required with a Temporary Skill Shortage visa.
How do you apply for a work visa under DAMA?
To apply for a Subclass 482 visa under DAMA, you must have nomination and sponsorship from an endorsed employer in a DAMA regional area.
1. Employer requirements
For the employer to be able to nominate and sponsor overseas workers, it must:
- Enter into an individual labour agreement under the conditions of the relevant DAMA
- Demonstrate efforts to recruit qualified and experienced Australians before recruiting candidates from overseas
- Meet salary and employment requirements
2. Visa applicant requirements
You must meet the following criteria:
- Be nominated in an occupation that’s on the relevant DAMA skilled occupation list
- Get a formal offer of employment from your employer, and your salary must meet the Temporary Skilled Migration Income Threshold (TSMIT) unless there is a concession in place
- Meet the English language requirements unless there is a concession in place
- Have the qualifications and experience necessary to work in your nominated occupations
How many DAMAs are there?
Australia has 12 DAMAs in place across six of its states and territories:
1. South Australia
2. Western Australia
- East Kimberley (109 occupations)
- Pilbara (66 occupations)
- South West (56 occupations)
- The Goldfields (125 occupations)
5. Northern Territory
- The Northern Territory DAMA (124 occupations)
6. New South Wales
- Orana (65 occupations)
Get assistance with your DAMA application
The major drawcard of DAMA is that it’s a pathway to PR – and that you could qualify even if you’re over the age of 50.
You shouldn’t wait until you’re 50 to start a visa application under DAMA, though. Do it today!
Take the first step by booking a consultation call with our licensed advisor. You’ll find out if you meet the requirements to live and work in Australia. You’ll also learn more about the visa application process itself, including the costs.
Our advisor is licensed and registered with MARA, so you can rest assured that you’ll get advice you can trust!