What is the Northern Territory DAMA?
The Northern Territory Designated Area Migration Agreement (DAMA) is an umbrella agreement that allows eligible Northern Territory employers to sponsor overseas workers with some concessional arrangements using the Temporary Work (Skilled) Subclass 457 visa.
Concessions that may be available to Northern Territory employers have been agreed between the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) and the Department of Business. These concessions include access to some occupations that are not available under the standard Subclass 457 visa arrangements and limited concessions for English language requirements and salary levels in certain circumstances.
Northern Territory employers must meet eligibility requirements in order to be endorsed by the Department of Business to access the DAMA. When the Department of Business endorses an employer it will provide a letter of endorsement to DIBP stating the occupations for which the employer can sponsor overseas workers, how many workers for each of those occupations and for which of the occupations the Temporary Skilled Migration Income Threshold (TSMIT) and English concessions may be accessed. While employer endorsement to access the DAMA is valid for three years, the initial allocation of the type and numbers of occupations is for the first year of the agreement only.
The Deed of Agreement has been signed with the Australian Government and DAMA Stage 2 is now in place.
Please note: Those Northern Territory employers who have already been endorsed to access overseas workers under DAMA Stage 1 and who would now like to include additional occupations or numbers to their DAMA endorsement, will need to contact the Department of Business once more.
Who is the Northern Territory DAMA for?
The NT DAMA is for employers who are actively operating in the Northern Territory and who:
- are viable and have been operating for at least 12 months
- have had no adverse findings against them by DIBP, Fair Work Australia or NT WorkSafe
- wish to employ overseas workers to fill full-time positions with duties that closely align with one of the occupations on the DAMA list
- are able to demonstrate they are unable to fill the position(s) locally with Australian citizens or permanent residents
- are able to demonstrate they meet the Subclass 457 approved sponsor requirements
- are providing terms and conditions of employment to their overseas workers that accord with those offered to Australian workers employed in the region.
How does the Northern Territory DAMA work?
The Northern Territory DAMA requires several steps in the assessment processes involving the Department of Business and DIBP. In each step different aspects of the employer and the overseas worker will be assessed.
Step 1: Northern Territory employer completes the application forms for assessment by the Department of Business:
In their request for endorsement employers will need to identify:
- which occupations they wish to sponsor in the first year
- what concessions they are seeking for each occupation and
- the number of overseas workers for each occupation they are seeking in the first year.
Step 2: Employers who meet the requirements will be endorsed by the Department of Business to access the Northern Territory DAMA. The Department of Business will provide the DIBP with a letter of endorsement along with copies of the supporting documents provided by the employer which were used to make the assessment. This letter of endorsement to the DIBP automatically triggers the employer's application for a Labour Agreement.
Please note: This step requires no immediate action by the employer. Generally the endorsement provided by the Department of Business will be all that DIBP requires.
Step 3: The DIBP negotiates a Labour Agreement with the employer. This may include the type of occupations and the number of positions being sought, as well as the concessions that are available to the employer in the first year of their agreement.
Step 4: The employer finds a prospective overseas worker with the appropriate skills and experience to fill a vacancy for which they have approval to fill under the DAMA. For those occupations not on the DIBP's Consolidated Skilled Occupation List (CSOL), the Department of Business will assess whether the overseas worker’s qualifications and experience accord with those for the nominated DAMA occupation. In order to undertake this verification the Department of Business will require the overseas worker to provide translated copies of their qualifications, along with verifiable evidence of their work experience. Where work references are provided as evidence of work experience they must provide specific details of the position(s) held and the duties undertaken. Other supporting evidence may include pay slips, contracts, position descriptions.
In addition, employers are required to provide the Department of Business with a statutory declaration stating that they, or a member of their staff, have interviewed the overseas worker and attest that their qualifications and work experience have been verified and they are satisfied that the overseas worker has the skills required to perform the duties of the position.
The Department of Business's qualification and work experience verification letter will be provided to the nominating employer and must be included with the overseas worker's visa application.
Step 5: The employer submits a nomination application to the DIBP by using their 'ImmiAccount' online lodgement platform which is available on the DIBP website. The employer will need to select the Labour Agreement stream and use the Permission Request ID (PRID) number provided by DIBP to proceed with their nomination application.
Please note: The Northern Territory employer seeking to nominate an overseas worker must submit a new nomination application to the DIBP for each overseas worker they are seeking to employ under DAMA arrangements.
Important: Employers who sign a Labour Agreement with DIPB to sponsor overseas workers under the Northern Territory DAMA are required to provide each of those workers with a Settlement Package, prepared by and available from the Department of Business, before each overseas worker lodges their visa application.
Step 6: Once the employer has submitted a nomination application they will receive a Transaction Reference Number (TRN) from the DIBP. The TRN will need to be used by the overseas worker to submit their Subclass 457 visa application on their DIBP ImmiAccount.
Apply for the DAMA
- Occupations accessible under the DAMA - more information about which occupations can be sponsored under the DAMA Stage 2 and the concessions that may be available.
- Concessions - more details on the English language and Temporary Skilled Migration Income Threshold concessions.
- Nominee to demonstrate - a nominated overseas worker will need to demonstrate they have the skills and experience to undertake the position. How this will be achieved will depend on the occupation.
- Assessment by the department - information on what the Department of Business will assess Northern Territory employer, application forms and fact sheets.
- Where to apply - contact details for the Department of Business.
- List of all fees and charges.