What is the Far North Queensland Designated Area Migration Agreement (FNQ DAMA)?
The FNQ DAMA agreement has been signed between the Commonwealth Government and Cairns Chamber of Commerce. While the FNQ DAMA is not yet operational, we provide the following information for better understanding of migration pathways that will be available for participating businesses and visa applicants under the FNQ DAMA agreement.
01. What is the Far North Queensland Designated Area Migration Agreement (FNQ DAMA)?
The Far North Queensland Designated Area Migration Agreement (FNQ DAMA) is a Designated Area Migration Agreement between the Commonwealth Government and the Cairns Chamber of Commerce, which will allow employers in Far North Queensland regions (Cairns, the Cassowary Coast, the Tablelands, Mareeba and the Douglas Shire) to sponsor skilled overseas workers for positions that they are unable to fill with local workers.
The Cairns Chamber of Commerce as a Designated Area Representative (DAR) is the signatory to the FNQ DAMA and is responsible for overseeing the Agreement, including endorsing employers seeking to access overseas workers through the DAMA. The Agreement is valid for the period of 5 years.
02. Is FNQ DAMA a new visa?
NO: The FNQ DAMA is an employer-sponsored visa program stream under the Temporary Skill Shortage (TSS) Visa (Subclass 482 TSS Visa Labour Agreement stream). Employers must first apply to the Cairns Chamber of Commerce (Designated Area Representative) to access the FNQ DAMA. Only endorsed businesses will be able to access the DAMA migration pathway to nominate and sponsor employees on subclass 482 TSS Visa under the Labour Agreement stream.
03. Can a visa applicant apply for a visa under the FNQ DAMA independently?
NO: The FNQ DAMA is an employer-sponsored visa program which comes under the TSS Visa (Subclass 482 TSS Visa Labour Agreement stream), each applicant must be nominated by an eligible sponsor.
04. Is FNQ DAMA operational and can employers apply to access the FNQ DAMA program?
NO: While the agreement has been signed, the FNQ DAMA is not yet operational. Our team will keep our business sponsors and clients updated about the progress of the FNQ DAMA implementation.
Businesses operating in the Far North Queensland regions included in the Agreement experiencing skills and labour shortages will be able sponsor skilled and semi-skilled overseas workers subject to endorsement by the Cairns Chamber of Commerce and meeting legislative criteria for subclass 482 TSS Visas once the FNQ DAMA is operational.
05. Which occupations will be included in FNQ DAMA?
The details of the approved FNQ DAMA skilled occupation list have not been released yet. The FNQ DAMA skilled occupation list may include up to 70 occupations negotiated under the Agreement and may provide different concessions for some occupations, including 10% TSMIT concession, English and skills requirements concessions and provide for permanent residency pathway through 186 Transitional Stream Visa for certain occupations subject to meeting the eligibility requirements.
Occupations were determined through consultation process and its aim is to address the shortages of skilled employees in the FNQ regions, including hospitality, agriculture, tourism, health and other industries affected by skills shortages. Skilled occupation lists under DAMA Agreements are usually reviewed on an annual basis.
06. What will the FNQ DAMA process to nominate overseas employees include?
The businesses that wish to nominate overseas employees under the FNQ DAMA will have to be endorsed by Cairns Chamber of Commerce and apply to enter into a Labour Agreement under the DAMA program with the Department of Home Affairs.
- Employer will apply for endorsement with Cairns Chamber of Commerce (CCC) as a Designated Area Representative.
- CCC will undertake the assessment for endorsement. The details of the endorsement criteria and process will be advised when the FNQ DAMA becomes operational and may include the number of positions required, evidence of active operation, financial viability, evidence of Labour Market Testing (LMT) and other details. The endorsement is usually valid for a 12 months period.
- CCC will review the application and if approved, issue a Letter of Endorsement to the employer and notify the Department of Home Affairs (The Department).
- Employer will then request a DAMA Labour Agreement with The Department.
- The Department will assess the Labour Agreement application and notify employer of outcome.
- When the employer has entered into a Labour Agreement with The Department they will proceed with lodgement of subclass 482 TSS nomination and visa application under the Labour Agreement stream. The subclass 482 TSS Visa may be granted for a period of up to 4 years and may provide a pathway to permanent residency through transitional stream for certain occupations on the FNQ DAMA skilled occupation list.
07. What can businesses who plan to participate in the FNQ DAMA program do while waiting for the program to become operational?
The application process under FNQ DAMA is not yet opened and our team will keep clients informed.
Migration Plus recommend that employers experiencing skills shortages continue with LMT for purposes of subclass 482 TSS Visa applications. Please contact us for further information regarding LMT legislative requirements.
If you are already a Standard Business Sponsor approved by The Department, you need to ensure that this is current or contact us for advice on how to become an approved Standard Business Sponsor.
08. Will Labour Market Testing (LMT) apply under the FNQ DAMA?
YES: Employers seeking to nominate overseas workers under the FNQ DAMA will be required to provide evidence that they cannot find a suitable Australian Worker. Evidence of LMT will be required when applying for a DAR endorsement and at the nomination stage.
09. Will the Skilling Australian Fund (SAF) levy apply under the FNQ DAMA?
YES: SAF levy applies to all nominations under TSS 482 pathway, including the Labour agreement stream. For more information about SAF levy, please contact our team or the information can be found on our website.
FNQ DAMA fees and charges may include
- Endorsement by Cairns Chamber of Commerce to access FNQ DAMA (tbc)
- Entering into a Labour Agreement with the Australian Government- Nil
Please note that there will be fees and charges applicable for:
- Nomination application payable to The Department
- Skilling Australians Fund (SAF) levy payable to The Department
- Worker visa application payable to The Department
- Migration Plus professional fees.
Further information on the fees payable to The Department are published on the Department of Home Affairs DAMA Costs factsheet.
Migration Plus team has extensive experience and expertise and will be pleased to assist our business clients to access FNQ DAMA, contact us for further information.