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Sponsor Employees through DAMA program in South Australia

Updated: May 3, 2023

This blog will explore sponsoring employees through the Designated Area Migration Agreement.

If you have difficulty filling vacancies locally in your business, sponsoring a skilled migrant through an employer-sponsored visa program may help you fill your skills needs.

Two employer-sponsored visa pathways are available to local businesses in South Australia.

1. Designated Area Migration Agreement (DAMA) - Temporary Skill Shortage visa (subclass 482) & Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional (Provisional) visa (subclass 494) - Labour Agreement Streams

2. Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional (Provisional) visa (subclass 494 Employer-Sponsored Stream)

The South Australian Designated Area Migration Agreement (DAMA) is a formal agreement between the Australian Government, represented by the Department of Home Affairs, and the South Australian Government, Department for Industry, Innovation and Science.

The DAMAs enable South Australian employers to sponsor skilled overseas workers for positions they cannot fill with local workers. Employers experiencing skills and labor shortages can apply for endorsement to enter a DAMA labor agreement. This enables them to sponsor skilled and semi-skilled overseas workers with more flexible requirements than are available via the standard skilled visa programs.

The South Australian Government has entered two DAMAs:

Adelaide Technology and Innovation Advancement Agreement

This agreement focuses on Adelaide's high-tech growth industries, including defense, space, technology, and advanced manufacturing. The Adelaide City Technology and Innovation Advancement Agreement are the Designated Area Migration Agreement (DAMA) covering metropolitan Adelaide.

South Australian Regional Workforce Agreement

This agreement focuses on South Australia's regional high-growth industries, including agribusiness, forestry, health and social services, tourism and hospitality, construction, and mining. The South Australian Regional Workforce Agreement is the Designated Area Migration Agreement (DAMA) covering the entire state of South Australia.

Who can access DAMA Labour Agreement?

The DAMA is intended to assist local businesses in meeting their skills needs. Individuals cannot apply directly for a DAMA labour agreement.

Who should apply for a DAMA Labour agreement?

This program is for South Australian Businesses that:

  • Have identified a skills or labour shortage that they cannot fill locally

  • Have vacancies for occupations that are available on the DAMA Occupation Lists for South Australia, or occupations with duties that align with the nominated occupation

  • Have permanent full-time positions vacant, which cannot be filled locally.

Who can you nominate?

  • An employer can nominate Skilled migrants living overseas or temporary residents currently in Australia.

There are various concessions available through the DAMA program.

Concessions vary from DAMA agreement and by occupation and can include:

  • Work Experience

  • Temporary Skilled Migration Income Threshold (TSMIT)

  • English language

  • Permanent Residence Pathway and Age Concessions

It is essential to check your occupation for available concessions.

The DAMA caps reset on the 3rd of April each year. There are 750 places for the Regional Workforce DAMA and 300 for the Adelaide City DAMA. So far, South Australia DAMA has endorsed 514 positions, and many places remain left to be endorsed.

There are many occupations available under the DAMA occupation lists. Some examples of the occupations on the DAMA list are :

  • Aquaculture process worker

  • Hospitality Supervisor

  • Hospitality Worker

  • Aged or disability carer

  • Child care worker

  • Personal care Assistant

  • Poultry Farm Supervisor

  • Skilled Horticultural worker

You can see the requirements for each occupation on the occupation list: As an example, let's look at the Aged or Disability carer occupation and the requirements before sponsoring them under DAMA.

Skill Level

It is available in the whole of South Australia.

It requires At least a relevant AQF Cert III qualification or equivalent or two years of relevant work experience within the last three years to substitute for the qualification.

  • Work Experience: Work experience needs at least 20 hours per week.

  • For TSS and SESR: One year of work experience within the last three years is required.

  • For ENS: 3 years of work experience within the last five years is required.

Skills Assessment Requirements:

The Designated Area representative in South Australia can do a skills assessment.

There are also Concessions available.

  • English Concession 482 & 494 - IELTS score of 5.0 overall (or equivalent), and a minimum of IELTS score 4.0 (or equivalent) for individual bands

  • English Concession 186 - IELTS score 5.0 overall (or equivalent), and a minimum of IELTS score 4.5 (or equivalent) for individual bands

  • TSMIT Concession

There is also Permanent Pathway and Age Concession - SESR and ENS visa applicants may be nominated if they have not turned 55 years of age at the time of SESR or ENS nomination.

If you are an employer in South Australia and would like to sponsor employees currently working for you on temporary visas, please get in touch with us. We offer a 15-minute free Discovery call with our Registered Migration Agent, who specializes in sponsorship visas for Aged and Disability support workers. In this call, we can check to see if the DAMA sponsorship program may suit you. Please book through the link in the description below. Please note that this Free 15-minute call is available for Employers based in South Australia and for a minimal time.


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