WA DAMA: the South-West and pathways to Permanent Residency.

 In Usefull resources

The South-West region (Western Australia) has entered an agreement called the Designated Area Migration Agreement (DAMA). This is to help with the shortage of skilled workers in the area.

The South West DAMA officially started in January 2022. It helps businesses in the South-West region that can’t find enough skilled workers locally. With DAMA, these businesses can hire and sponsor skilled and semi-skilled overseas workers for a wider range of jobs than metropolitan areas and get some special benefits.

The South West DAMA covers a beautiful region known for its wineries, surfing spots, and ancient forests. It includes major towns and local government areas that are pivotal to its economy, focusing on sectors such as tourism, hospitality, and agriculture

Areas included in the DAMA South West are:

  • City of Bunbury
  • City of Busselton
  • Shire of Augusta Margaret River
  • Shire of Boyup Brook
  • Shire of Bridgetown-Greenbushes
  • Shire of Capel
  • Shire of Collie
  • Shire of Dardanup
  • Shire of Donnybrook-Balingup
  • Shire of Harvey
  • Shire of Manjimup
  • Shire of Nannup

This agreement helps businesses find the workers they need and supports the economy of the South-West region and helps overseas workers to find an employer and spons

Why DAMA was created for the South West region?

There is currently a skills shortage being experienced in the South-West region and employer-sponsored workers from overseas can be an avenue to addressing these shortages.

It allows employers to access a wider range of occupations, as well as concessions for those employers who are unable to find a suitably qualified Australian to fill a role within their company. As the overseas worker is being sponsored through a Labour Agreement, it ensures the terms and conditions a prospective applicant receives are no less favourable than those provided to Australian workers, providing protection for both employers and employees.

An age concession is available for all occupations for subclass 494 or subclass 186 visa, if at the time of the approved sponsor’s nomination, the applicant has not yet turned;

  • 55 years for overseas workers in skill level 1-4 occupations; and
  • 50 years for overseas workers in skill level 5 occupations

The South West Region

The South West is one of Western Australia’s nine recognised regions located outside the Perth metropolitan area. Fronting the Indian and Southern oceans, covering 24,000 square kilometers and including 12 local government areas, the South West is the most populous and economically diverse of WA’s regions.

The regional landform comprises the Swan Coastal Plain to the north, the Scott Coastal Plain to the south, Darling Range in the east, and Whicher Range linking the Darling Range to the Leeuwin-Naturaliste Ridge in the Capes area. Of the landmass that comprises the region, about two-thirds is made up of State Forest, National Parks and regional parks, with the southern forests being the largest component. About 25% is occupied by agricultural and rural uses, with about 8% used for industrial and urban development.

DAMA in 4 steps

  • First, the Designated Area Representative, or DAR, approves the employer.
  • Next, the Labour Agreement, or LA, is negotiated.
  • Then, employers nominate their candidates in the Nomination stage, or NOM.
  • Finally, the candidate applies for a visa

Occupations

The South West DAMA includes a diverse range of occupations tailored to the region’s economic needs, here the job title and ANZSCO code

Accommodation and Hospitality Managers – 423111

Aged or Disabled Worker – 321111

Automotive Electrician – 721212

Backhoe Operator – 351111

Baker – 070499

Bar Attendant (Supervisor) – 141111

Café or Restaurant Manager – 421111

Child Care Worker – 233211

Civil Engineer – 411711

Community Worker – 821211

Concreter – 133111

Construction Project Manager – 351411

Cook – 841512

Dairy Cattle Farm Worker – 831114

Dairy Products Maker – 321212

Diesel Motor Mechanic – 411712

Disabilities Services Officer – 712211

Driller – 721211

Earthmoving Plant Operator (General) – 411411

Enrolled Nurse – 721214

Excavator Operator – 411713

Family Support Worker – 841211

Fruit or Nut Farm Worker – 841212

Fruit or Nut Picker – 253111

General Practitioner – 431999

Hospitality Workers – 149999

Hospitality, Retail and Service Managers – 141311

Hotel or Motel Manager – 431411

Hotel Service Manager – 135112

ICT Project Manager – 721216

Loader Operator – 721112

Logging Plant Operator – 321213

Motorcycle Mechanic – 321211

Motor Mechanic (General) – 899411

Motor Vehicle Parts and Accessories Fitter (General) – 841217

Mushroom Picker – 423312

Nursing Support Worker – 324111

Panelbeater – 351112

Pastrycook – 233513

Production or Plant Engineer – 411715

Residential Care Officer – 621511

Retail Supervisor – 711913

Sand Blaster – 839412

Sawmill or Timber Yard Worker – 251214

Sonographer – 821713

Steel Fixer – 233215

Transport Engineer – 733111

Truck Driver (General) – 899415

Tyre Fitter – 841214

Vegetable Farm Worker – 841215

Vegetable Picker – 841216

Vineyard Worker – 431511

Waiter – 070499

Waiter (Supervisor) – 272613

Welfare Worker – 411716

Youth Worker – 272613

Specific criteria (skill level and industry sector)

The grouping of occupations under the South West DAMA is organised based on various criteria such as skill level, industry needs, and specific qualifications or work experience required. This structured grouping helps tailor the DAMA to the specific economic and labor market needs of the South West region. Here’s a breakdown of how the occupations are typically grouped:

1. Skill Level Grouping

ANZSCO Skill Levels: Occupations are grouped according to the Australian and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations (ANZSCO) skill levels. These range from skill level 1 (which includes occupations that typically require a bachelor degree or higher qualification) down to skill level 5 (which includes occupations that may require a certificate I or compulsory secondary education).

Examples:

Skill Level 1: Occupations like Civil Engineers, General Practitioners.

Skill Level 5: Occupations like Dairy Cattle Farm Workers, Vineyard Workers.

Skill Level 1

Qualifications: Typically requires a bachelor degree or higher qualification. In some cases, at least five years of relevant experience and/or relevant vendor certification may substitute for the formal qualification. Examples: Professionals like Accountants, Engineers, Doctors, and Teachers.

Skill Level 2

Qualifications: Requires an Associate Degree, Advanced Diploma, or Diploma. At least three years of relevant experience may substitute for the formal qualifications. Examples: Associate professionals such as Technicians, Paralegals, and Hospitality Managers.

Skill Level 3

Qualifications: Requires a Certificate IV, Advanced Certificate, or Diploma. At least three years of relevant experience may substitute for the formal qualifications. On-the-job training might also be required. Examples: Tradespeople like Electricians, Chefs, and Office Managers.

Skill Level 4

Qualifications: Requires a Certificate II or III, which may include at least two years of on-the-job training, or at least three years of relevant experience may substitute for the formal qualifications. Examples: Personal Care Assistants, Motor Mechanics, and various Operator roles like Forklift and Excavator Operators.

Skill Level 5

Qualifications: Requires a Certificate I or compulsory secondary education, or short-period on-the-job training. In some cases, no formal qualification or experience is required, just basic training. Examples: Occupations like Farm Hands, Cleaners, and Kitchen Hands.

Industry Sector Grouping

Occupations may also be grouped based on the industry sectors they belong to, such as healthcare, engineering, agriculture, or hospitality. This allows the DAMA to address the specific shortages in key sectors crucial to the region’s economy.

Healthcare: Nurses, General Practitioners.
Agriculture: Fruit or Nut Farm Workers, Vineyard Workers.

Qualification and Experience Requirements

This grouping considers the specific qualifications and work experience required for each occupation. Some roles may allow work experience to substitute formal qualifications, especially in skilled trades.

Formal Qualification Required: Civil Engineers must typically have a degree in civil engineering.
Work Experience Can Substitute: Motor Mechanics might not need formal qualifications if they have significant relevant work experience.

Click to access the list of eligible occupations: DAMA Skills and Qualifications
For job descriptions and requirements for the included occupations not included in ANZSCO, see attached: Non-ANZSCO Occupations

Specific Concessions or Requirements

Some groups of occupations might have specific concessions related to age, English language proficiency, or salary thresholds, which are designed to make it easier to fill these roles under the DAMA.

English Language Requirement

For some occupations, a concession to the minimum standard English requirements may apply.

  • 494, 482: average score of IELTS 5.0 with no minimum component score (unless registration or licensing requires a higher level of English)
  • 186: The minimum standard English language requirements applicable to the 186 non-labour agreement visa streams under the Migration Regulations apply

TSMIT (Salary)

For some occupations, a reduction in the current Temporary Skilled Migration Income Threshold (TSMIT) may apply. Where a business case can be made for the reduction, there are two concession types available:

  • Type 1: Reduced TSMIT – at least 90% of the current TSMIT
  • Type 2: At least reduced TSMIT and included non-monetary earnings (such as food and board) equal to no more than 10% of TSMIT

Click to access the list of eligible occupations: DAMA TSMIT Concession Occupation List

Please note that the TSMIT was increased to $70,000 from all new Nominations lodged since July 1, 2023.

Skills Assessments

Certain occupations require a compulsory skills assessment. For example, Child Care Workers must be assessed by ACECQA.

Skill Levels 4 and 5: Occupations at these skill levels typically require a skills assessment for any nomination or visa application under the South-West DAMA. This includes roles not on an eligible list of skilled occupations but requested under the DAMA, suggesting that a skills assessment is mandatory across these levels to ensure that the candidates meet the required competencies and qualifications.

Skill Levels 1, 2, and 3: Skills assessments are also required here, but the application might be more targeted depending on the occupation’s inclusion in eligible lists of skilled occupations and the specific visa subclass involved (e.g., 482, 494, 186). For some occupations, such as those listed in the eligible skilled occupations, a skills assessment is mandatory as per standard visa programs unless exceptions are noted under the DAMA framework.

Permanent Residency Pathway

All of the occupations contained within the South-West DAMA have a pathway to permanent residency. As follows:

Skill level 1-4 occupations may be eligible for permanent residency pathway after three years holding a 482 visa or 494 visa
Skill level 5 occupations may be eligible for permanent residency pathway after four years, with at least two years of this period at a skill level 4 occupation.

DAMA not only helps businesses in filling critical roles but also supports the South-West region’s economy while providing opportunities for overseas workers.

Remember, we’re here to assist both skilled workers and businesses. If your employer is interested in leveraging the benefits of DAMA and would appreciate professional guidance, we can arrange a consultation to guide the business through the process of becoming an approved sponsor.

✅ MARN 1679969 | QEAC M628 

🏆 Best Migration Agency in Western Australia for 2023 by APAC Legal Awards 

The information provided is a general guide and does not constitute legal or immigration advice; there are many regulations that may apply depending on each individual’s circumstances alongside changes in the industry. It is the user’s responsibility to verify the currency of information. Those seeking advice should engage a MARA registered migration agent.

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