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Designated Area Migration Agreement (DAMA): Paving The Way For Skilled Workers And Australian Businesses

This article, written by the All Access Migration Migration team, explains the intricacies of Designated Area Migration Agreements (DAMAs) and their pivotal role in fostering regional prosperity. By leveraging DAMAs, a bridge is formed between skilled workers and businesses, offering a tailored approach to migration to support regional development. the article outlines the benefits and operational aspects of DAMAs and sets out how they serve as an advantage for regional opportunities in Australia.


A Designated Area Migration Agreement (DAMA) represents a formal agreement between the Australian Government and a regional, state, or territory authority. Unlike the standard skilled migration program, DAMAs grant access to a larger pool of overseas workers. Operating within an agreement-based framework, DAMAs offer regions the flexibility to respond to their distinct economic and labour market conditions.

At its core, a DAMA is a two-tier structure encompassing a specific regional area. The first tier consists of a comprehensive five-year deed of agreement, commonly known as the “head agreement,” with the region’s representative. The second tier involves individual labour agreements with employers, operating under the parameters established in the head agreement for that specific region.


DAMA head agreements serve as the foundation for the entire process, and they are typically established between the Australian Government and a Designated Area Representative. These representatives often include regional bodies such as Chambers of Commerce, Regional Development Australia offices, or Shire Councils. These head agreements encompass a range of occupations and agreed-upon terms and concessions regarding skilled visa eligibility criteria, all negotiated between the parties involved. Once a DAMA head agreement is in place, businesses within the region can seek individual DAMA labour agreements, leveraging the terms and concessions outlined in the head agreement.


Individual DAMA labour agreements are entered into between the Australian Government and endorsed employers or businesses operating within the designated region. These agreements typically have a five-year duration and utilise the subclass 482 Temporary Skills Shortage (TSS), subclass 494 Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional (Provisional), and subclass 186 Employer Nominated Scheme (ENS) visa programs.

To initiate a DAMA labour agreement, employers must first secure an endorsement from the Designated Area Representative. Once endorsed, they can lodge a labour agreement request online through Immiaccount. The online form within Immiaccount outlines the specific requirements and supporting documentation necessary for labour agreement requests.

When a DAMA labour agreement is approved, businesses can nominate and sponsor skilled and semi-skilled overseas workers for specific occupations outlined in the DAMA Head Agreement covering that region.

It’s important to note that DAMAs strongly emphasise employers prioritising the recruitment of Australian citizens and permanent residents. Among other requirements, employers must demonstrate a genuine effort to recruit Australians before accessing a DAMA labour agreement.

Currently, there are 12 DAMAs currently in place, each catering to the unique needs of their designated regions. These DAMAs cover a range of locations, and Designated Area Representatives work closely with employers and stakeholders to understand local labour needs and community perspectives. They also undertake annual reviews of DAMA terms and operations while endorsing individual requests from businesses seeking access to DAMA arrangements.

Don’t worry if this sounds too complex. All Access Migration is here to simplify things every step of the way!


Ready to navigate the landscape of regional growth through Designated Area Migration Agreements (DAMAs)? All Access Migration simplifies the process, and will assist you in accessing the full potential of DAMAs for both businesses and skilled professionals in regional Australia.

Whether you’re an enterprise aiming to attract talent or a proficient individual exploring regional visas, our seasoned migration specialists are poised to guide and support you through every phase of the DAMA journey. Engage with All Access Migration now to actualise your regional ambitions.

Disclaimer: This article serves as a general guide and does not replace tailored legal advice. For personalised assistance, consult with our dedicated migration team.

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