In a first for the region, the five-year Far North Queensland Designated Area Migration Agreement
(FNQ DAMA), approved by the government in April, can now be immediately accessed by
businesses facing local skills shortages through the Cairns Chamber of Commerce.
The Chamber is now accepting requests for endorsement from businesses under the agreement.
Minister for Immigration, Citizenship, Migrant Services and Multicultural Affairs David Coleman
said the FNQ DAMA provides a tailored solution to businesses in the region to fill skills gaps that
can’t be filled by local workers.
“The Morrison Government is committed to supporting the skills needs of regional Australia,
where we know there are around 60,000 jobs that can’t be filled by Australian workers,” Mr
“We’ll continue to work with regions around the country to ensure they can grow their local
economy, with the help of the immigration system.”
Federal Leichhardt MP Warren Entsch said the DAMA will assist a range of industries including
tourism, hospitality, agriculture, shipping and health and help to drive economic growth.
“This initiative will help fill the employment void across many sectors,” Mr Entsch said.
“The FNQ DAMA recognises that our businesses need people to help grow our local economy.
“It is about backing our small businesses and ensuring they have access to workers so they can
continue to thrive in a competitive world.”
Businesses may choose to apply through a registered migration agent, with the application
process available through the Chamber website, which also hosts a list of the occupations
“We are huge supporters of jobs for Australians and particularly locals first, but there are many
businesses having difficulties in hiring and retaining skilled workers, and we encourage those
businesses looking to fill the jobs they can’t currently fill to start putting their cases together now,”
Chamber president Nick Loukas said. “We have been given a cap of 200 applications for the first
year, which we are anticipating will be easily reached.”
The Chamber, which has been working closely with the Department of Home Affairs, has
employed a person experienced in migration to help implement the scheme. Their role is also to
support local businesses and their agents to clearly understand expectations and ensure a level
playing field for those wanting to access the 200 places available in the first year.
“The government, in partnership with the Chamber, will look very closely that this scheme is being
used correctly on behalf of the employers and migration agents,” Mr Loukas said. “We will only
continue to get support if it meets the robust integrity measures the government has in the
Migrant workers cannot be paid less than an Australian would be paid for the same job, including
under the terms of a DAMA.
Three new occupations were approved for inclusion, most notably in the agricultural sector, a
huge industry in the region. For select occupations under the FNQ DAMA, successful visa
applicants may also be nominated for permanent resident visas after three years working in the
Formal information sessions for businesses and migration agents will be held in the second half of
The FNQ DAMA covers the Cassowary Coast, the Tablelands, Mareeba, Cairns and the Douglas
More information is available on the Chamber’s website.