The South Australia government has released new details on the state's Designated Area Migration Agreement (DAMA), including the list of eligible of occupations.
DAMAs assist employers in filling skilled and semi-skilled positions which are facing a labour shortage in a designated area. A DAMA offers greater access to occupations and concessions on other criteria when compared to the standard Temporary Skill Shortage subclass 482 visa. Applications under the SA DAMA are also afforded priority visa processing with the Department of Home Affairs.
Applications under the SA DAMA will commence in early July 2019.
SA DAMA summary
The SA DAMA will come under two separate agreements, each with their own list of eligible occupations and concessions available:
Adelaide Innovation and Technology Agreement
- 60 occupations are eligible
- Restricted to employers in the Adelaide Metropolitan region (Greater Adelaide)
- Age concessions to facilitate a permanent residency pathway
- All occupations have a pathway to permanent residency via the Employer Nomination Scheme subclass 186 visa.
The full occupation list can be viewed here.
South Australian Regional Workforce Agreement
- 114 occupations are eligible;
- 78 occupations eligible for employers in the whole of South Australia.
- 36 occupations eligible for employers in the postcode range 5110 to 5734 (non-metropolitan SA)
- Concessions vary per occupation and include:
- Skills and experience;
- Temporary Skilled Migration Income Threshold (TSMIT);
- and age concessions to facilitate a permanent residency pathway
- Only certain occupations have a pathway to permanent residency via the Employer Nomination Scheme subclass 186 visa.
The full occupation list can be viewed here.
It is important to note that not all concessions apply to every occupation. You will need to check your individual occupation on the list to see which apply. There are also several occupations listed that have no concessions available and are already eligible for the standard subclass 482 visa. In these cases it may not be necessary to apply under the DAMA , however priority processing will still be an advantage over the standard subclass 482 visa.
The SA DAMA includes several popular occupations that will be of great interest to employers and prospective migrants. Some examples are:
- Baker (351111)
- Cook (351411)
- Diesel Motor Mechanic (321212)
- Enrolled Nurse (411411)
- Motor Mechanic (General) (321211)
There are also a number of occupations included in the SA DAMA that are not on any other skilled occupation list. Below are some examples listed by the industry they will directly benefit:
- Farm, Forestry and Garden Workers nec (841999)
- Fishing Hand (899212)
- Meat Process Worker (831311)
- Production Horticulturalist *
- Senior Production Horticulturalist *
- Slaughterer (831212)
- Aged or Disabled Carer (423111)
- Nursing Support Worker (423312)
- Personal Care Assistant (423313)
- Therapy Aide (423314)
Mining and Construction
- Driller (712211)
- Earthmoving Plant Operator (General) (721211)
- Loader Operator (721216)
- Miner (712212)
- Sand Blaster (711913)
- Scaffolder (821712)
- Shot Firer (712213)
- Truck Driver (General (733111)
Film and Gaming
- Digital Artist *
- Senior Digital Artist *
Hospitality and Tourism
- Passenger Coach Driver (731213)
- Gaming Worker (431311)
- Hotel or Motel Receptionist (542113)
- Waiter (431511)
Note: * denotes that the occupation is not listed in ANZSCO and has been identified by the SA government.
Skills and experience
An applicant for the standard subclass 482 visa must hold the relevant skills assessment for the nominated position, however under certain occupations in the SA DAMA this will not be required. Currently only lower skilled occupations are eligible for this concession (ANZSCO skill level 4). Further details on whether there will be any concession to the two years of work experience requirement are not yet available.
Temporary Skilled Migration Income Threshold (TSMIT)
The TSMIT which applies to the standard subclass 482 visa is currently set at AUD53,900 per annum. Under the SA DAMA concession, the TSMIT can be reduced by up to 10%, which indicates a minimum salary of AUD48,510 per annum. This amount is more closely aligned to award rates, particularly in trade occupations.
The standard subclass 482 visa has an English language requirement equivalent to an IELTS overall band score of at least 5.0 with a score of at least 5 in each of the test components. The English concession available under the SA DAMA for certain occupations is equivalent to an IELTS overall band score of at least 4.5 with at least 4 in each of the test components.
While the standard subclass 482 visa does not have any age requirements, applicants accessing permanent residency via the standard Employer Nomination Scheme subclass 186 visa must be less than 45 years of age. The SA DAMA includes an age concession that extends this to 50 or 55 years of age for selected occupations to facilitate permanent residency.
This concession is major advantage to those workers in the 45-54 age bracket who now have a much more promising pathway to permanent residency.
Pathway to permanent residency
The SA DAMA offers a pathway to permanent residency through the Employer Nomination Scheme subclass 186 visa for a majority of the occupations listed. However full details of the requirements to qualify for permanent residency via this process are still to be provided. It is also important to note that the occupation must still be on the list at the time of the permanent residency application.
It is expected that applicants will need to hold the 482 visa for at least three years before being eligible for permanent residency. So even with some age concessions in place, applicants will need to consider what their age will be at the time of lodgement for permanent residency. For example, if there is a permanent residency age concession of up to 50 years of age, but if the applicant is 48 when they are granted the 482 visa, they will not be eligible to apply after three years having turned 51.
How long will a DAMA application take?
At this ealry stage, it is expected that a DAMA application will take at least three months. This includes around one month to be endorsed by the state government and around two months to receive a standard employer sponsorship approval. Once applications commence, we will have a better understanding of how long the process takes, but it is reasonable to say that a DAMA will not be able to address an employer's urgent need for staff.
What does this mean for industry and employers?
The SA DAMA provides a range of benefits to South Australia industries and employers. Of particular note are industries such as film and gaming, hospitality and tourism, agriculture, mining and construction, and the healthcare sector. In particular, several occupations that are otherwise not available for skilled migration have been included meaning that employers will now be able address these skills shortages. The TSMIT concessions will benefit employers in regional areas and bring salaries closer in-line with award rates for trade occupations.
In the development of the SA DAMA, industry and employers were able to provide input into the occupation list and concessions. It is positive to see that many aspects of the submission by the Migration Institute of Australia (SA Committee) have been adopted, particularily around the expansion of occupations available in the agriculture, construction and mining sectors.
What does this mean for employees and graduates?
The concessions provided in the SA DAMA, particularly around age and pathways to permanent residency, means that people will have more opportunities to stay in South Australia. Whether any work experience concessions will be available, a requirement that is otherwise difficult for international graduates to achieve, are yet to be made available.
Overall, the SA DAMA provides more opportunities for skilled migrants to work and settle in South Australia.
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