Since becoming operational in December 2019, there have been very few applications under the Far North Queensland (FNQ) Designated Area Migration Agreement (DAMA) with its higher than standard skills requirement being identified by Migration Agents as the main reason the scheme has had limited use.
Currently, all occupations included in the FNQ DAMA require a formal Skills Assessment whilst under the Standard Business Sponsorship (SBS) (standard 482 visa, available Australia wide) some of the same occupations can be applied for with evidence of work experience alone.
In February 2020, the Cairns Chamber of Commerce (the Chamber) announced they have made an application with the Department of Home Affairs (the Department) to vary the current DAMA to ensure applicants applying are not disadvantaged by heightened skills requirements.
The variation is also seeking to broaden the designated area to include Cape York and the Torres Strait, an age concession for the permanent residency pathway and a wider variety of occupations.
The Chamber has been in continuing negotiations with the Department and it’s hoped an outcome will be reached by late April. In the meantime, nominations for occupations of Skill Levels 1-3 where the applicant has not undergone a Skill Assessment can be put forward for endorsement and will be assessed on a case by case basis.
The Migration Plus team will continue to keep our business sponsors and visa applicants updated about the progress of the FNQ DAMA variation as soon as further information is received.