The Department of Immigration and Border Protection is seeking input as part of a public consultation process on a new programme called Designated Area Migration Agreements.

The DIBP believes that DAMAs will be good for Australia, helping areas in Australia experiencing skills and labour shortages to supplement their workforce with skilled and semi-skilled overseas workers.


The programme seeks to help areas in Australia experiencing skills and labour shortages​

'Australia's economy is complex and the circumstances affecting states and territories vary considerably. Skills and labour shortages can impact on the economic performance of different areas, potentially jeopardising the growth or existence of some Australian businesses. A DAMA provides flexibility for states, territories and regions to respond to their unique economic and labour market conditions,' explained a spokesman.

A DAMA will consist of an agreement between a representative of employers in the area seeking a DAMA, referred to as a designated area representative, and the Australian government to bring overseas workers to a designated area.

And there will also be individual agreements between employers and the Australian government that allow employers to sponsor overseas workers to the designated area under the terms and conditions agreed to in the overarching agreement.

Designated area representatives must have the support of their relevant state or territory government to enter into a DAMA.

Once a DAMA is in place, it will allow a designated area representative to endorse an employer to participate in the DAMA. The designated area representative and the government will jointly manage their DAMA. This includes providing the government with an annual report on the operation of the DAMA.

'Through a DAMA, an employer can sponsor an overseas worker for up to four years. These agreements are tailored to suit the employer's circumstances, including the number of overseas workers and the occupations to be filled,' explained the spokesman.

'The agreement allows employers to employ a broader range of overseas workers than allowed under the standard temporary skilled migration programme, without the need to individually negotiate terms and conditions. Small businesses, which may not have the resources to negotiate a labour agreement directly with the Australian government, may benefit from the DAMA programme,' he pointed out.

'The principles underpinning the DAMA programme include ensuring opportunities for Australians first, maintaining a fair work environment, supporting overseas workers and comprehensive stakeholder consultation,' he added.

The department is seeking the views of stakeholders, including the public, on the DAMA programme. The consultation closes on 13 June 2014.