Designated Area Migration Agreement (DAMA) is a special type of visa in a regional area that is sponsored by a company. The DAMA visa often lets people apply for employer-sponsored visas for jobs that aren’t allowed in most parts of Australia.
It also requires less work experience and gives people a way to become permanent residents (often up to the age of 55!). Even though the information is general, it is normal for people applying for visas through DAMA to get breaks on things like:
- The kinds of jobs that can apply
- What It Was Like to Work
- How old you have to be
- How good your English has to be
- Paths to permanent residency based on salary
There are twelve DAMA Agreements in place right now, but this number is likely to grow as more areas join. Please keep in mind that each area has a different list of jobs and a different list of requirements to be eligible.
- East Kimberley, WA Adelaide City Technology and Innovation Advancement, SA
- QLD, Far North Queensland
- Goulburn Valley, Victoria; Great South Coast, Victoria; Northern Territory, Northern Territory;
- Orana, NSW
- Pilbara, WA
- Regional of South Australia, SA
- WA, South West
- WA’s GoldfieldsTownsville, Queensland
Let’s take a look at the job of a Childcare Worker as an example.
This job is on a number of DAMA Occupations lists, and for many DAMA deals, you only need one year of work experience to be eligible for an employer-sponsored visa. This also makes it possible, after 3 years, to apply for permanent status.
Care for the elderly or people with disabilities is another example of a job.
Like childcare, this is on some DAMA Occupations Lists. Many DAMA agreements only require 1 year of work experience (at least 20 hours per week) and an appropriate Cert III qualification to apply for an employer-sponsored visa. This also makes it possible, after 3 years, to apply for permanent status.
How does it work?
The process for getting these cards can be different in each DAMA area, but in general, they are pretty similar. Please keep in mind that these visas are always sponsored by a company, so you will always need an employer to sponsor you!
As an example, we will look at the DAMA for South Australia Outer Regional areas with the 482 visa road to PR.
Susy’s age is 46. She just finished a course in Australia called the Diploma of Early Childhood Education and Care. She has worked with children for a year, and a company in rural South Australia has offered to pay for her visa. Susy knows that if someone sponsors her, she can get a way to become a permanent resident, even though she is older than 45.
The Outer Regional South Australia DAMA agreements give breaks by:
- Only needing one year of work experience
- It only lets you sponsor as a child care worker.
- English needs are slightly lower.
- And it gives people up to the age of 55 a way to get PR.
Basically, the company or their migration agents start the process from the beginning. It’s a lot like the normal process for an employer-sponsored visa, but there are two extra steps.
- Step 1: The childcare centre must do the needed testing of the labour market (job ads) and submit a DAMA Endorsement. (This is a lot like the application, but it is for each DAMA area).
- Step 2: Once the DAMA endorsement is accepted, you will get an endorsement letter and can then apply for the Labour Agreement with immigration.
- Step 3: Once the Labour Agreement has been approved, you will file the Nomination with immigration, just like you would for any other visa sponsored by a company.
- Step 4: Once you’ve sent in the nomination, you can apply for the visa. This is usually a normal 482 visa, but it can also be a 494 visa.
After 3 years of working on a 482 visa, the person will be able to apply for the permanent 186 ENS visa.
- DAMA visas allow regional Australians to apply for employer-sponsored visas for jobs that may not be allowed under conventional visa programs.
- DAMA offers lower work experience requirements and permanent residency up to 55 years old.
- Australia has twelve DAMA Agreements, each with its own list of qualified jobs and restrictions.
- Childcare workers and caregivers for the elderly or disabled are examples of DAMA jobs that require a year of experience and specific certifications.
- Employer sponsorship includes labour market testing, DAMA endorsement, nomination, and visa application. DAMA visa holders may apply for a permanent visa after three years.