Frequently Asked Questions

Why do we need DAMA for Townsville North Queensland?

Currently, Townsville has 3000 unfilled positions alone advertised on Seek. Other regional areas such as Cairns, have been successful in filling skills shortages through the DAMA application process. Based on the consultation with our members, it was made clear that one of the biggest challenges they face is workforce availability. The structure of the DAMA agreement means that when workers come here, they can look at bringing their immediate families, and they will have avenues to permanent residency provided they stay in our region. Their kids will go to schools, they’ll join community and sporting clubs, and participate in the social fabric of the regions. More families mean more funding for schools and hospitals. This means we are going to be growing our communities at the same time as we are growing our economies, and that is the best outcome for North Queensland.

When can businesses apply for a DAMA through Townsville Enterprise?

Local businesses can apply individually to access the Townsville DAMA from 1 July 2022.

What occupations are currently listed on the DAMA?

The Townsville DAMA covers 195 occupations across a broad range of sectors including areas of focus for future growth such as manufacturing, health care and social assistance, transport, postal and warehousing, professional, scientific and technical services. You can see the list below.

Who can sponsor prospective workers under the Queensland DAMA?

Townsville Enterprise will administer the process of accessing the Townsville DAMA which will open to businesses operating in any of the 9 Local Government Areas covered by the agreement - City of Townsville, Hinchinbrook Shire, Charters Towers Regional Council, Burdekin Shire, City of Mount Isa, Shire of Cloncurry, Shire of McKinlay, Shire of Richmond and Shire of Flinders.

Does a business need to identify the prospective worker/s before accessing the TNQ DAMA?

No. A business can seek endorsement to access the DAMA and be approved for a Townsville DAMA Labour Agreement without having identified any prospective worker/s in advance. This is because the endorsement and Labour Agreement are about the business need to address skills shortages. Nominating individuals comes next once a Labour Agreement with pre-approved occupation/s and position/s are in place. This helps with planning and makes the business a more attractive proposition to prospective skilled or semi-skilled overseas workers where the business cannot fill those positions from the Australian labour market.

What housing options are there for these new residents?

Businesses that apply for a DAMA should consider and discuss accommodation and housing opportunities for overseas workers as part of the onboarding process.

What are the Workers’ rights and visa protections?

Overseas workers are afforded the same rights and protections under Australian Workplace Laws which includes salary requirements being in accordance with Australian workers.

Some useful links:

Salary requirements to nominate a worker (homeaffairs.gov.au)
Workers rights and visa protections (homeaffairs.gov.au)

Can current employees in Australia with working Visa’s get a DAMA? If so, how does the employer provide proof of advertising prior, when they already have the employee hired with a Visa?

There is an opportunity for businesses to utilise the DAMA to retain existing employees. Depending on the current employee’s visa type, there may be Labour Market Testing (LMT) required to ensure that the business has made efforts to hire an Australian Citizen or Permanent Resident before an overseas worker. To see the LMT requirements for the DAMA, please visit the Home Affairs website.

Does utilising the DAMA process remove the need for the business to register as a Sponsor with the Immigration Department?

Where the business can use the standard program, they should do so under a standard business sponsorship. The DAMA does not seek to replace this process but instead works in conjunction with it and the same sponsorship requirements apply to the sponsor.

Is there any priority given to DAMA applications over visa applications progressed in the usual way?

Labour agreement requests along with Nomination and visa applications, follow the Ministerial Directions for skilled visa processing priorities which is available here: Skilled visa processing priorities (homeaffairs.gov.au)

Are the fees applied by the Immigration Department to submit a nomination still payable?

Yes, fees apply. Please see Department of Home Affairs website for relevant visa and nomination fees. The Business cannot pass on the costs of sponsoring to the overseas worker, but the overseas worker is responsible for their visa fees.

Is there a simplified step by step process people can use to brief their clients?

Once endorsed, the business will be provided with an application guide to assist in lodging the labour agreement request. Should a business require further advice or assistance they can consider engaging a Registered Migration Agent or Australian Legal Practitioner.

When can a nomination be lodged for a prospective worker under the TNQ DAMA?

There is no need to wait until the TNQ DAMA Labour Agreement has been approved to lodge associated nomination/s. However, nomination requests and visa applications relating to the TNQ DAMA Labour Agreement cannot be lodged for at least 1 business day after your labour agreement request has been submitted in ImmiAccount. If you are unable to lodge a nomination request in ImmiAccount after this timeframe, you may email labour.agreement.section@homeaffairs.gov.au for further advice.

How long is the processing time for the TNQ DAMA endorsement request?

The DAR endeavours to complete assessment for endorsement within 5 working days. However, due to the extensive amount of interest, it may take longer during the first few months. If you have not supplied all necessary information required to make a meaningful assessment and decision, the assessment can take longer. The DAR may request further information or clarification from your during the assessment process. The Department of Home Affairs determines its own processing times.

Do I have to use a Registered Migration Agent or Australian Legal Practitioner?

Many employers make a business decision to use a registered migration agent or Australian Legal Practitioner, while some choose not to. The decision is up to you. You should do your own due diligence in choosing a registered migration agent. Migration agents are regulated by the Migration Agents’ Registration Authority (MARA), and their official portal has a search function. If you encounter an agent who is not familiar with the TNQ DAMA, you may refer them to this website or ask them to email Townsville Enterprise at DAR@tel.com.au

I am interested in working in Townsville North Queensland. Can I apply for a visa under the TNQ DAMA independently?

No. The TNQ DAMA is an employer-sponsored visa program and can only be accessed by employers with genuine skill shortages who may then nominate individuals. Individuals cannot access the TNQ DAMA program directly or on their own.

Will Townsville Enterprise recommend employers that may want to sponsor me through the TNQ DAMA?

No. Townsville Enterprise does not match individuals with prospective employers. Individuals are free to contact prospective employers in the TNQ region. If the employer is not familiar with the TNQ DAMA, the individual can direct the employer to this website.

Are prospective workers guaranteed permanent residency under the TNQ DAMA?

Workers must meet the eligibility requirements for permanent residency under the TNQ DAMA. Refer to the Information Guide for details about the permanent residence pathway.

Skills & Migration

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