East Kimberley Designated Area Migration Agreement

Welcome to the new East Kimberley Designated Area Migration Agreement (EK DAMA) information site, where you will find everything you need to know about how it can work for you, how to access it for your business, and more. The EK DAMA was achieved through a major collaborative effort by the East Kimberley Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and after being signed by the Minister for Immigration on 28 March 2022, is now in operation for five years. If not already, subscribe below for EK DAMA updates, news, and tips.  

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The East Kimberley Chamber of Commerce and Industry would like to sincerely thank the Kimberley Development Commission (KDC) for their very generous support through a Regional Economic Development grant, that has assisted us immensely to implement and administer the EK DAMA. The KDC’s kind contribution has allowed us to make huge inroads to addressing labour shortage issues across the East Kimberley.

EK DAMA News & Updates

TSMIT changes – 26th May 2023

You may be aware that the TSMIT (Temporary Skilled Migration Income Threshold) will increase from $53,900 to $70,000 from 1 July, 2023.

The EKCCI has received a number of queries about how the TSMIT increase will impact Labour Agreements. The official advice is that:

“From 1 July 2023, the TSMIT will increase from $53,900 to $70,000. New nomination applications from​ this date will need to meet the new TSMIT of $70,000 or the annual market salary rate whichever is higher.”

Although not confirmed yet in writing, the Department of Home Affairs have said that in respect of labour agreements, the TSMIT will be applied at date of nominating an individual overseas worker, therefore nominations lodged up to and including 30 June 2023 will continue to be subject to the current TSMIT (minimum $53,900), and those lodged from 1 July 2023 onwards, will be subject to the increased TSMIT (minimum $70,000 or $63,000 with an EK DAMA concession). It is expected that the Labour Agreement Section will soon confirm this advice in writing and we will advise when they have done so.

The EK DAMA currently provides access to a 10% TSMIT concession for many occupations (skill level 3-5) in the EK DAMA occupation list. Many employers that have been endorsed under the EK DAMA have not requested a TSMIT concession because proposed salaries were higher than $53,900 and a TSMIT concession was not needed.

Considering the new TSMIT of $70,000, it is expected that many employers who have not yet lodged associated nomination/s, may now seek to have the TSMIT concession added to or included in their EK DAMA labour agreements.

If you have an existing or pending EK DAMA Labour Agreement, and now wish to add a TSMIT concession, the EKCCI has created a form for employers to complete that can be used to request a TSMIT concession be added. Note that for nomination lodged from 1 July 2023, until the outcome of our Deed of Variation is known (see below**), these requests can only currently be agreed to where the salary is at least 90% of the new TSMIT of $70,000 (i.e. $63,000).

There will be a one-off $250 administrative payable to the EKCCI for facilitating the variation to add a TSMIT concession.

The form can be downloaded via the TSMIT concession variation form and once completed please send through to [email protected]

If you are preparing your initial EK DAMA Endorsement request, you can request the TSMIT concession through the normal endorsement process.

**Please note: The EKCCI has submitted an addendum to our current deed of variation requesting increased levels of TSMIT concessions become available under the EK DAMA for lower skilled level jobs that have an award or market salary below 90% of the new TSMIT ($63,000). We have requested that our deed of variation request be considered urgently and hope to have an update around this soon.

Decreased EK DAMA Endorsement fees – 30th March 2023

We are also very pleased to be able to offer reduced endorsement fees for the next 6 months for those businesses located within the SWEK boundary. We know businesses have been dealing with various challenges associated with the recent floods, and that labour shortages is further exacerbated by this.

To show our on-going support for businesses in the East Kimberley we have adjusted our endorsement fees to the following:

  • FOR EKCCI MEMBERS: $885 of the first position, and $585 for every position thereafter.
  • FOR NON-MEMBERS: $985 for the first position, and $685 for every position thereafter.

Deed of variation – 10 December 2023

The EKCCI submitted our first Deed of Variation on the 8th of December 2022.

The Deed of Variation submission seeks the following variations to the EK DAMA:

  1. Extend the designated area to include all four LGAs that make up the broader Kimberley;
  2. Change the name of the EK DAMA to the ‘Kimberley DAMA’;
  3. Add numerous occupations to the existing EK DAMA occupation list, based on the demonstrated needs of the broader region, with concessions that align with existing EK DAMA occupation concessions;
  4. Some minor technical amendments to skills, qualifications and experience requirements, that also serve to simplify those requirements;
  5. Amend the way caps are applied, to time of endorsement rather than time of nomination.
  6. Additional TSMIT concessions for lower skills occupations*

*Following the recent announcement that TSMIT will be increased to $70,000 effective 1 July 2023, The EKCCI has submitted an addendum to our current deed of variation requesting that increased levels of TSMIT concessions become available under the EK DAMA for lower skilled level jobs that have an award or market salary below 90% of the new TSMIT ($63,000).*

We have requested that our deed of variation request be considered urgently and hope to have an update around this soon.

The EKCCI would like to thank Melissa Price MP for advocating in Parliament recently for our deed variation request to extend the designated area to include the broader Kimberley and further help with labour shortages in our area.

Watch the video: https://www.youtube.com/clip/UgkxS_duSg_SXmiNEXTngHvoYzI6ZQrSn8Z_

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The EKCCI is proud to have officially launched the EK DAMA on 26th April 2022. There has already been significant interest and the first EK DAMA request for endorsement has been submitted.

The face-to-face EK DAMA information sessions following the launch were well-attended. Stay tuned for more online EK DAMA employer information sessions in coming weeks! For registered migration agents, note there will be a EK DAMA Information Session for migration agents only on 11th May at 2pm. To register follow this link.

The EKCCI has also been advised that VETASSESS has now been confirmed as the skill assessing authority for the remaining occupations in the EK DAMA Occupation and Concessions List. The list has now been updated in the EK DAMA webpages to reflect this. The VETASSESS EK DAMA information will be available in the VETASSESS website shortly, at this link.

The East Kimberley now has a new Designated Area Migration Agreement in place (EK DAMA). The East Kimberley Chamber of Commerce and Industry (EKCCI) has just co-signed the agreement with the Minister for Immigration, Citizenship, Migrant Services and Multicultural Affairs, the Hon Alex Hawke MP, bringing the five-year agreement into operation from 29 March 2022.

“Researching and developing the EK DAMA business case and negotiating the agreement was an intensive process but well worth the effort”, said EKCCI President Amanda McLean. “The EK DAMA will help better position employers in our remote region to source skilled and semi-skilled workers needed to fill our many skill shortages. We are always about employment for Australians first but the reality is that this is not always possible.”

The new EK DAMA includes over 100 occupations identified as affected by skill shortages, many that are not accessible outside the EK DAMA. Employers in the region now have a mechanism to source overseas workers against a tailor-made occupation list, with clear pathways to permanent resident and a range of concessions that will help to attract and retain the right people. With an increased ability to restore their core workforce, employers will be better positioned to employ Australians in the longer-term as well.

“The EKCCI would like to thank all of those involved in the long road to securing this landmark agreement for our region, including local Federal member, the Hon Melissa Price MP, key industry bodies and stakeholders in our region, and of course the many employers themselves who responded to surveys and provided background regarding their skill shortages and the impact of not being able to address them”, said EKCCI Executive Officer, Clare Smith.

From today, employers will be able to access the public information, instructions and forms about how to request endorsement to access the EK DAMA. This will be available in the EK DAMA portal in the EKCCI website. Request for Endorsement are immediately open for submission.

The EKCCI will soon be hosting EK DAMA information sessions for employers and for registered migration agents (online). Interested employers and agents may also sign up via the website for automatic EK DAMA updates.

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