The Far North Queensland Designated Area Migration Agreement

by | Nov 26, 2021 | Blog

The Far North Queensland Designated Area Migration Agreement (FNQ DAMA) is the Labour Agreement program which provides an accessible option for employers seeking to fill one or multiple positions where they can demonstrate skills shortages. The program provides concessions to many skills, qualification, experience, English language and salary requirements and could help to fill demand for workers in particular occupations in circumstances where the foreign worker would not otherwise be eligible for another type of employer sponsored visa.

An FNQ DAMA occupation list designed for our region, with a great range of occupations not linked to standard occupation lists, including semi-skilled occupations and unique local occupations.

The FNQ DAMA Designated Area includes Australian Cairns, Douglas, Mareeba, Tablelands, Cook, and Cassowary Coast local government areas, the Torres Shire Council local government area, and the Weipa Town Authority area (postcodes 4852, 4854-4856, 4858-4861, 4865, 4868-4875, 4877-4883, 4885-4886 and 4895).

A Labour Agreement under the FNQ DAMA is a legally binding agreement made between the sponsoring business and the Commonwealth which allows the business to sponsor foreign workers under a Temporary Skill Shortage (TSS) Subclass 482 visa; a Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional (Provisional) (SESR) Subclass 494 visa and Employer Nomination Scheme (ENS) Subclass 186 visa.

Engaging foreign workers under the FNQ DAMA is a four-stage process:

– DAR endorsement. The Cairns Chamber of Commerce is the Designated Area Representative (“DAR”) for the FNQ DAMA. A DAR endorsement letter is valid for one year.

– Requesting a Labour Agreement with the Department of Home Affairs. The sponsoring business must provide evidence of genuine effort to recruit from within the Australian labour market, through prescribed Labour Market Testing (LMT). A Labour Agreement, once signed, can be valid for up to five years.

– Nominating the visa applicant. Once you have a Labour Agreement in place with the government, you can then nominate foreign workers against the occupations and positions negotiated in the Labour Agreement. The prescribed Labour Market Testing (LMT) also needs to be current when you lodge an associated nomination application.

– Applying for their visa. This is the final stage when the nominated individuals demonstrate their eligibility for the visa, provide the Skills Assessment if required, show their English fluency, undergo police and medical checks etc.

Stages 1 and 2 indicated above are about the sponsoring business need for the occupations and number of positions. At these stages the sponsoring business is required to address and provide evidence of the following:

  • whether the sponsoring business is financially viable and has been actively operating for at least 12 months within the Designated Area
  • whether the nominated position is genuine and will be located in the Designated Area.
  • whether the terms and conditions of employment are no less than would be provided to Australian workers
  • whether the proposed salary for the position meets the Temporary Skilled Migration Income Threshold  requirements (set currently at AUD53,900) and is justified for the regional location. The sponsoring Businesses may seek endorsement from the DAR for access to a TSMIT concession (90% of TSMIT)
  • whether the sponsoring business has advertised the position within Australia in an attempt to recruit a suitable Australian worker. Labour Market Testing requirements include the duration, content and eligible mediums of advertising.

Stages 3 and 4 are about any particular prospective foreign workers and their suitability for an occupation and eligibility for the visa. However, if the sponsoring business will require an access the concessions under the FNQ DAMA (TSMIT-salary concession, English language concession, age concession), the relevant explanations should be provided at the DAR endorsement stage.

If the sponsoring business has an outstanding immigration matter before the Administrative Appeals tribunal or the courts, any information about this must also be provided in the context of the request for endorsement.

For questions about Australian visas and Immigration matters please contact a Registered Migration Agent.

Yana Asmalovskaya


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1 Comment

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