Designated Area Migration Agreements (DAMA)

The South Australian DAMA, is a Designated Area Migration Agreement between the Commonwealth Government and the South Australian Government to enable employers to sponsor skilled overseas workers, for positions that they are unable to fill with local workers. SA has two DAMAs: 

The Adelaide City Technology and Innovation Advancement Agreement is the Designated Area Migration Agreement covering the Adelaide Metropolitan region only.

The South Australian Regional Workforce Agreement is the Designated Area Migration Agreement covering the entire state of South Australia.

No. The DAMA is an employer-sponsored visa program which comes under the Temporary Skill Shortage visa (Subclass 482 labour agreement stream) and the Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional visa (Subclass 494 labour agreement stream). Employers must apply to Skilled & Business Migration to access the SA DAMA.

The Designated Area Representative (DAR) is the signatory to the DAMA and is responsible for overseeing the Agreement, including endorsing employers seeking to access overseas workers through the DAMA. The South Australian Designated Area Representative (DAR) is Skilled & Business Migration, part of the Department for Industry, Innovation and Science.  

Occupations are determined through consultation with industry associations and key employers, together with government  data about skills shortages in the target industries. As part of the management of the SA DAMA, there is an opportunity for an annual review of this list.

Eligible businesses operating in South Australia experiencing skills and labour shortages can sponsor skilled and semi-skilled overseas workers. South Australian employers can sponsor prospective workers residing in Australia or overseas. 

The South Australian Government undertook a comprehensive consultation with industry stakeholders as part of the DAMA business case process and occupations were subject to concession negotiation with the Commonwealth, notably not all occupations were offered concessions. The occupations not offered concessions will be closely monitored over the next 12 months with a view to submitting a revised business case to the Commonwealth should sufficient evidence of the need for the concessions be established. 

No. The DAMA is an employer-sponsored visa program. Employers must apply to Skilled & Business Migration to access the SA DAMA. 

There will be opportunities for pathways to permanent residency, for selected visas and occupations. Nominees will be required to meet the eligibility requirements for the permanent pathway.

The Australian Government Department of Home Affairs is responsible in making all visa decisions. 

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 employer requires the DAR endorsement letter to apply for a DAMA Labour Agreement using the Department’s online lodgement portal, ImmiAccount.

A DAMA Labour Agreement is an agreement between the Commonwealth and an employer, under the terms and conditions specified in the DAMA.  Under a DAMA Labour Agreement, an employer may sponsor an agreed number of overseas workers for the TSS (subclass 482), SESR (subclass 494) and, where available the ENS(subclass 186) visas.

Employers seeking to nominate overseas workers under a DAMA are required to provide evidence that they cannot find a suitable Australian Worker. Before an overseas worker can be nominated, employers need to test the local labour market by advertising the vacant position in Australia. Evidence of Labour Market Testing is required when applying for a DAR endorsement and at the nomination stage.

No. A worker interested in a visa cannot apply independently. Employers must apply to the DAR to access the South Australian DAMA first.

The Designated Area Representative (DAR) can be contacted by submitting an online enquiry through the Skilled & Business Migration portal.

Applications for endorsement must be submitted electronically on the Skilled & Business Migration portal.

Refer to our How to Apply section for further information.

There are no review rights should the DAR decide not to endorse an employer for a labour agreement. Similarly, there are no review rights if the Department declines a labour agreement request.

Refusal of an application will not prevent you from reapplying should your circumstances change.

No. The Department takes the DAR endorsement into consideration when assessing a labour agreement request. A positive DAR endorsement does not guarantee Departmental approval of a labour agreement request.

Skilled & Business Migration can provide information and guidance to assist you with the Request for Endorsement Application process. Following endorsement we will provide you with information guides on how to apply for the DAMA Labour Agreement process. 

If you are having difficulty navigating these processes, you can seek immigration assistance from a third party who can help you understand all requirements and options available to you. Visit the Immigration Assistance page.

Self-sponsorship is not supported under any labour agreements, including DAMAs.

There is no application fee for applying endorsement through Skilled & Business Migration, Department for Industry, Innovation and Science. However, you must pay for all other Federal Government costs associated with nominating and sponsoring an overseas worker. The Department of Home Affairs determines its own costs

Skilled & Business Migration do not provide a service linking prospective nominees with employers. If you need to connect with the employers who currently have labour agreements in place with the Department of Home Affairs, you can find the list here.

The age limits for visa subclasses are determined by the Department of Home Affairs. Currently applicants over 45 are ineligible to apply for these visas however under DAMA, they are eligible for a concession to the age restriction.

The 482 subclass currently has no age restriction, however applicants will need to meet the age requirement if transitioning to the permanent pathway (subclass 186). See age concession for further information.

No. Endorsements are valid for 12 months only, so if more employees are required in the second year, you may need to request a Variation to your endorsement. See Variation Request for more information.

No. The application system will allow you to process multiple occupations and visa subclasses within one application

As a general guide, a skills assessment is not required at the endorsement stage, however some nominees (depending on occupation) will require a skills assessment at nomination and/or visa application stage. See Skills Assessment for further information.

For occupations not on the Combined List of Skilled Occupations, or not listed under ANZSCO, the nominee will require a skills assessment by the Designated Area Representative (DAR), which is currently Skilled & Business Migration.

Please contact the Department of Home Affairs for further information on which occupations require a skills assessment.

Submit an online application. You will need to provide a range of documentation. See ‘Skills Assessment’ for further details.

You will be guided to the correct DAMA based on the nominated occupation.

Yes. Full time positions for the purposes of a nomination application cannot be casual positions.

Positions should generally be considered full time where the employee works:

  • 38 hours per week; or
  • a period between 32 and 45 hours that is specified under:
    o an industry award or agreement; and
    o is consistent with the National Employment Standards (NES).

The applicant is required to have the relevant work experience as published on the SA DAMA occupation lists to be eligible to apply for TSS or SESR visa under the DAMA. This reduced amount of work experience is the concession negotiated with the Department of Home Affairs for the SA DAMAs.

Note that Skilled and Business Migration do not assess the skills and qualifications of the nominee - this is the remit of the Department of Home Affairs at nomination stage.

No. To nominate an applicant for an ENS visa, an ENS ceiling must be available in the year in which the ENS nomination is to be lodged. Therefore, an employer who is ready to nominate a worker through the ENS pathway will need to submit a Variation Request for ENS ceiling in the appropriate year of the DAMA agreement.

The employer will need to provide relevant documentation to support their variation request, including recent Labour Market testing. See DAMA Variation Request for further details.

No. When nominating an overseas worker for a TSS visa the approved sponsor will select a proposed period of stay up to 4 years. To re-nominate the employee once their visa expires, you will need to have a position available in your Labour Agreement for the relevant year. This may mean you will need to submit a Variation Request for approval.

Only eligible employers are able to apply for a Labour agreement under the DAMA. Visa applicants under the DAMA will need to be nominated by the employer. The employer must first determine that there are no suitable local applicants for the role, using the prescribed Labour Market Testing.

Employers can access the updated concessions through a variation request to their existing labour agreement. The variation request must be endorsed by the DAR for the updated concessions and the employer must ensure they include the request in their application for a labour agreement with the Department.

If you operate a business under a trust arrangement, you cannot apply for DAMA, however the Trustee of the company can. The name of the trustee (as it appears in the trust deed) should be entered as the legal name on the

application form (e.g., ‘ABC Pty Ltd’ or ‘John Smith’). All the supporting documents as well as the company ABN should be consistent.

No. The nominating business would need to be a party to the labour agreement as the direct employer. An on-hire labour agreement may be a more suitable arrangement. Please refer to the Department of Home Affairs website for more information about available labour agreements.

If you wish to nominate after the first year of your DAMA, a variation request must be submitted close to the start of the new year. For example:

  • Your agreement was signed on 1/1/2023 – making year one 1/1/2023-12/31/2023
  • Year two is 1/1/2024-12/31/2024
  • If you wish to nominate after year 2, you would need to submit a variation request close to 1/1/2024.

Variation requests are considered annually. Employers are required to consider their staffing needs for the 12 month period prior to applying for DAMA or variation. Skilled & Business Migration understand that situations change, and you may need to increase your occupation ceiling or add additional occupations. In such cases, you may submit additional variation requests, however Skilled & Business Migration will provide endorsement on a discretionary basis.