Tackling Skills Shortages Workshop Summary

By February 11, 2021 February 15th, 2021 Workshops & Industry Training

MRBTA recently partnered with the City of Busselton and Perdaman Global Services to present a workshop exploring:

  • The development of a Designated Area Migration Agreement (DAMA) for the region, and how this might assist your business
  • Other types of visa programs available and how to determine what will work best for your business

This was a very informative workshop and attendees were able to provide feedback that will feed into the DAMA feasibility study currently being undertaken by Perdaman Global Solutions. Members and other South West Region businesses experiencing skills shortages are encouraged to continue providing their feedback by completing this short survey.

Skills Shortage Survey

Please read on below for a summary of the information provided in the workshop.

What is a Designated Area Migration Agreement (DAMA)?

Designated Area Migration Agreements are a formal arrangement between the Commonwealth of Australia and a designated area representative (DAR). A DAR may be a state/territory government or regional body such as South West Development Commission (SWDC) or local government.  Dardanup Shire is being explored as a potential DAR for the South West Region DAMA however this is yet to be confirmed.

Under the terms of a DAMA, the designated area may be able to access to a broader range of overseas workers that is not available through the standard skilled visa programs by allowing variation to standard occupations and skills lists and/or negotiable concessions to visa requirements.

DAMA labour agreements are between the Australian Government and endorsed employers operating within the relevant region. They are generally in effect for five years and use the Temporary Skills Shortage and Employer Nominated Scheme visa programs.

Benefit of a DAMA

The majority of DAMA  agreements include occupations available under the standard TSS 482 visa or regional 494 visa program. However, the benefit of a DAMA is that concessions to the English language, TSMIT (Temporary Skilled Migration Income Threshold), Age, Skills and PR requirements may be available.

  • English Language Concession: The English test scores required under a DAMA can be lower than under the standard visa program making it easier for the applicant’s visa to be processed. This is especially the case where a person is generally a good English communicator but perhaps not able to meet the requirements of a stringent English test for a visa.
  • Temporary Skilled Migration Income Threshold (TSMIT) Concession: The TSMIT concession allows the employer to pay the visa holder the same or more salary thatn is paid to an Australian Worker. The DAMA offer salary concessions that reflect the market, ensuring that worker terms and conditions of employment are not eroded, and businesses and consumers are not subject to inflationary costs.
  • Skills Concession: Every occupation requires the applicant to meet certain qualification and work experience criteria to be eligible to work under their occupation. So, the skills concession offers concessions relating to qualifications and experience for some occupations.
  • PR requirements: Under the DAMA agreement, the immigration has provided an opportunity to move from temporary 482 visa to permanent resident, regardless of what the occupation is. The DAMA region has its own specific pathway to PR. This will, however, involve the applicant working in the occupation for 2-4 years being eligible to transition onto the permanent 186- Employer Nominated Scheme Visa.
  • Age Concession: To transition into Permanent residency, every applicant must meet the age criteria of being under the age of 45. The age concession under the DAMA agreement will offer concession related to the age of an applicant.

Another benefit of the DAMA is that the semi-skilled occupations that are in shortage in the particular region could be available under a DAMA, while they are not available under the standard visa program.  Some examples of such occupations are truck driver, waiter, bar attendant, driller, driller Assistant, earthmoving/mobile plant operator, horticultural workers such as process workers and field workers.

Basic requirements for application to DAR to request access to South West DAMA

  • The business has been actively operating for at least 12 months and is financially viable.
  • The business is located within the 11 approved shires of South West Region (Boyup Brook, Bunbury, Collie, Donnybrook-Balingup, Dardanup, Harvey, Margaret River, Bridgetown-Greenbushes, Busselton, Manjimup and Nannup Shires )
  • The occupation to be filled should be listed on the South West DAMA occupation list.
  • The business can pass the Labour Market Testing requirements, including providing evidence that it cannot attract an Australian citizen or resident to fill the position.

Alternative Visa Options

There may be other options to address skills shortages that are more appropriate and accessible for your business.  These include:

The Pacific Labour Scheme enables citizens of partner countries to take up low-skilled and semi-skilled work opportunities in all sector in rural and regional Australia for up to 3 years.

Partner Countries:  Fiji, Kiribati, Nauru, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Timor-Leste, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu.

The Seasonal Worker Programme enables citizens of partner countries to take up unskilled and low-skilled work opportunities in the Australian agriculture and accommodation sectors in selected rural and regional locations of Australia for up to 9 months.

Partner Countries:  Fiji, Kiribati, Nauru, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Timor-Leste, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu.

Industry Labour Agreements enable approved businesses to sponsor skilled overseas workers when there is a demonstrated need that cannot be met in the Australian labour market and where standard temporary or permanent visa programs are not available. Industry labour agreements are for specific industries with fixed terms and conditions. The industry is required to show ongoing labour shortages and extensive consultation within the industry.  Various approved industry labour agreements are in the following industries: Dairy, Fishing, Meat, Pork, Advertising, Restaurant (Fine Dining), Horticulture, On-hire and Minister of Religion.

The team at Perdaman Global Services are contactable to answer any questions that you might have and to discuss circumstances specific to your business. Perdaman Global Services is a local specialist with a global network and capabilities across immigration, recruitment, education, translation services and interpreters. Please contact Noelene Murray on +61 8 9429 5111  or via email.