New DAMA information now available for local businesses

Businesses across the Limestone Coast can begin preparing for the commencement of the recently announced Designated Area Migration Agreement (DAMA) for South Australia. Regional Development Australia Limestone Coast (RDALC) will assist in driving awareness locally by providing information on the new visa program. In the first of a series of publications, RDALC have produced a frequently asked questions document to assist business operators to understand how this agreement will work.

“With the imminent rollout of the DAMA, we want to be on the front foot and offer as much support and assistance to local businesses as possible,” said Rachael Ashman, Manager Business and Workforce Development, RDALC. “Commencing on 1 July 2019, employers across all of South Australia who are experiencing skills and labour shortages can sponsor skilled and semi-skilled overseas workers,” she said.

The DAMA will enable South Australian employers to sponsor skilled overseas workers for positions they are unable to fill with local workers. Employers who can demonstrate that they are experiencing skills and labour shortages will apply for endorsement from the South Australian government to enter into a DAMA labour agreement. This will enable local businesses to sponsor skilled and semi-skilled overseas workers with more flexible requirements than are available via the standard skilled visa programs.

Local businesses can access one of the agreements that the South Australian government have entered into with the Department of Home Affairs. The South Australian Regional Agreement comprises of 114 occupations and is accessible to all South Australian businesses.

“These occupations were determined through consultation with industry associations and key employers throughout the state, alongside data on skills shortages in our key industries,” said Ms Ashman. “For our region, employers can nominate occupations included on two lists, which include skilled occupations across a wide range of industries including in the meat industry, agriculture and forestry, hospitality and healthcare,” she said.

Some eligible occupations included in the lists for the Limestone Coast are cooks, diesel mechanics, forestry workers, meat boner and slicer, sawmilling operator and waiters.

“It’s important to acknowledge that these lists comprehensively address state wide skills shortages, so while some occupations listed may seem unrelated to our region, they will address needs across other parts of the state,” said Ms Ashman. “Some of the most significant skills shortages we are experiencing locally are in the meat processing industry and in the agri-business and forestry sector so we are pleased to see that key occupations in these areas have been included for our region,” she said.

“The Agreement recognises the needs of regional Australia and provides our employers with an opportunity to respond to our unique circumstances when it comes to finding skilled workers” said Ms Ashman. “RDALC want to best support the needs of our local industries and will continue to consult with local businesses to identify future demands and how these can be met through the DAMA process.” she said.

RDALC will provide a more detailed guide in coming weeks. Information is also available through Immigration SA. To discuss the DAMA, local businesses can contact Rachael Ashman, Manager Business and Workforce Development on 87231057 or email