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PROPOSED EAST KIMBERLEY DESIGNATED AREA MIGRATION AGREEMENT (DAMA)
UPDATE (16 NOVEMBER 2021)
The EKCCI has now completed a business case for an East Kimberley Designated Area Migration Agreement and has submitted this to government. Please monitor this webpage for progress or subscribe for updates (below).
The business case was informed by extensive consultation across industry and stakeholders, and also through the employer and migration agent surveys conducted in September and October this year.
The business case includes the need for access to a wide range of occupations, many not accessible through standard skilled migration pathways, including numerous occupations at Skill level 4 and some at Skill level 5. The business case also includes concessions across the board relating to age and experience, and access to a permanent visa pathway. English language and salary concessions were also included for specific occupations where deemed appropriate.
As always, our priority is employment for Australians first. Based on our consultations an urgent need for a EK DAMA exists and will better position industry to continuing employing more Australians in the longer term by supplementing existing recruitment options and easing skill shortages.
Thank you for your support and we will keep you informed via this webpage and subscriber function.
Important information for subscribers! The proposed DAMA and this associated subscription service for DAMA updates is for all employers and stakeholders operating in the East Kimberley region, and is not exclusive to EKCCI members.
What is a DAMA?
A DAMA is an agreement between a region (often a small region) and the Federal Government that allows the region to propose their own unique skilled and semi-skilled occupation list against which businesses can sponsor overseas workers. The DAMA can also include numerous concessions that firstly make it less onerous for business to access overseas workers where needed, but also create incentives for overseas workers to move to and stay in the region, in the specific occupation with the employer.
Does the DAMA include unskilled workers?
The DAMA is designed to address skilled and semi-skilled workers in occupations that are in short supply in the region, not unskilled positions. Usually these are core positions that need to filled on an ongoing basis to help a business remain sustainable or to grow. These positions can act as job multipliers that often then allow business to keep employing Australians or employ more Australians.
How does this differ from existing skilled migration pathways?
A DAMA can include occupations not available through other standard pathways and can have numerous concessions not available through other pathways. This is in recognition of the region’s unique challenges in attracting, recruiting, and retaining people in key skilled and semi-skilled positions.
Why is the EKCCI involved?
The Federal government requires that a DAMA is managed by a local entity that endorses businesses seeking to access the DAMA program, and that can value-add with local knowledge. The EKCCI proposes to fill this role and has broad support.
Do participating businesses need to be a member of the EKCCI?
No. The DAMA with the Federal government needs to be accessible to all employers in our region. Businesses will not need to be EKCCI members to access the DAMA or provide input.
What protections are there for Australian workers?
The DAMA has protections built in to ensure employment is for Australians first, but recognises that it is not always possible to fill key positions with Australians, particularly in our remote region. The EKCCI will also play a role in commenting on the ‘genuine need’ when a business seeks endorsement to access the program. Experience with DAMAs in other regional areas has shown that businesses that are able to fill key positions on a sustainable basis helps keep the business viable and sustainable, generating employment opportunities for Australians.
How can I have my say?
Developing a DAMA business case requires input from employers to identify where skills shortages exist, and why they need to be addressed. The EKCCI will be emailing employers in our region a survey link. It is important for our region that employers complete this survey in full so we can inform the government what skills shortages exist and where, and why they need to be addressed.
Other relevant stakeholders will also be consulted in this process. Their input is also important and valued.
Where can I get more information?
The EKCCI will be arranging online information sessions to explain the DAMA in more detail. The information sessions will be advised on this webpage or you can register your interest below.