Designated Area Migration Agreement (DAMA)

Designated Area Migration Agreements (DAMA) enable employers to sponsor more overseas workers than the standard skilled migration programmes. The labour agreement takes place between the Australian Government and authorities representing a region, state, or territory.

DAMA Labour Agreements

A DAMA agreement takes place at 2 levels.

  1. The head agreements are between the government and a representative of the designated area. This agreement contains the different occupations and visa eligibility requirements applicable to that designated area.
  2. The second agreement happens on the individual level between the government and employers working in that area.

Hiring Under DAMA Labour Agreements

Before submitting their labour agreement request, the employer must also get an endorsement from the Designated Area Representative.

Once approved, the business can nominate and sponsor skilled and semi-skilled overseas workers. The DAMA labour agreements between the government and businesses are generally for 5 years.

To hire someone under the individual labour agreement, the sponsor uses one of the following subclasses of visa:

  • Temporary Skills Shortage (TSS), or subclass 482
  • Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional (Provisional), or subclass 494
  • Employer Nominated Scheme (ENS), or subclass 186

It’s important to note here that employers are required to show that they first made a genuine attempt to hire Australian citizens and permanent residents.

Active DAMA Labour Agreements

The Australian Government has entered into 12 DAMA labour agreements. The department of home affairs provides links to pages of each agreement. The pages provide important information, including eligibility requirements, fees, concessions, and occupations.

The occupations list contains all the available occupations, along with the required skill level, English language requirements, concessions, etc. Here are the occupation lists for 3 agreements: the Far North Queensland, QLD: Cairns Chamber of Commerce, the Northern Territory, NT: Northern Territory Designated Area Migration Agreement, and Pilbara, WA: RDA Pilbara.

The concessions available may include concessions for wages (Temporary Skilled Migration Income Threshold (TSMIT)-related concessions), the age of the nominee, and the language skills of the nominee.


The fees and charges vary from agreement to agreement. For example, RDA Pilbara charges a DAMA Processing Fee of $350.00 + GST. The Northern Territory agreement has no fees for the labor agreement and varying fees for the nomination application, worker visa application, and Skilling Australians Fund levy.

Whether you’ll get an English language concession will depend on the occupation. The occupation list and relevant website may provide this information.