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FNQ DAMA Deed of Variation update (as of 2 June 2021)
The Cairns Chamber of Commerce has now completed discussions with the Department of Home Affairs on the wordng of the revisions to the FNQ DAMA, following the Minister's agreement to the variations on 14 May 2021. The revised agreement is now due to be co-signed, and it is anticipated this will be finalised in coming days. Once it is co-signed in Canberra the variations will come into immediate effect.
The variations to the FNQ DAMA include (summary only):
- Extension of the Designated Area to include Cape York and Torres Strait (non-Indigenous) areas (i.e. Cooktown/Weipa/Thursday Island etc);
- Removal of 33 occupations from the FNQ DAMA occupation list (none of which have ever been accessed to date);
- Addition of 110 occupations, bringing the total to 164 occupations, including a small number of Skill Level 5 occupations;
- Addition of a Subclass 494 visa pathway in addition to the existing Subclass 482 pathway;
- A permanent visa pathway for all occupations (except Skill Level 5);
- Access to an age concession of 55 for all Skill Level 1 occupations, and for Aircraft Maintenance Engineers (Skill Level 3);
- Access to an age concession of 50 for all Skill Level 2-4 occupations;
- Significant revisions to the skills, qualifications, and experience requirements, including removal of 'post-qualification experience' and replacement with 'relevant experience' in most cases;
- Re-alignment of the need for skills assessments for occupations that are also on the SOL, so that they are consistent with the standard (non-DAMA) Subclass 482 (or Subclass 494) requirements;
- A provision allowing inclusion of time spent on a non-DAMA Subclass 482 or 457 visa towards the waiting period for a permanent visa under the FNQ DAMA in certain circumstances.
Note: This is a summary only - do not make business decisions based on this summary. You should wait until the revised agreement is co-signed and full details are published in this site.
Once signed, full details will be posted in this site and also emailed to subscribers (click here to subscribe for automatic updates).
About the Far North Queensland Designated Area Migration Agreement (FNQ DAMA)
The Chamber welcomes all FNQ DAMA enquiries from businesses and their agents. Please email with your queries.
For individual overseas workers, please note the FNQ DAMA is an employer-sponsored visa program and individual workers cannot apply for a visa independently. As such, we are only able to respond to enquiries from businesses or their registered migration agents.
The FNQ DAMA allows Far North Queensland (FNQ) employers to sponsor skilled and semi-skilled overseas workers for positions they are unable to fill with local workers. The FNQ DAMA is tailored to address current and emerging labour market shortages and local terms and conditions of employment. The FNQ DAMA utilises the labour agreement stream of the Temporary Skill Shortage (TSS) visa (subclass 482). Businesses approved for a labour agreement with the Department of Home Affairs can nominate overseas workers under the Temporary Skill Shortage (TSS subclass 482) visa program - many of the occupations also have access to apply for a permanent visa pathway after three years. Employers must first be endorsed by the Cairns Chamber of Commerce as the Designated Area Representative (DAR) before submitting a DAMA Labour Agreement request with the Department of Home Affairs.
The key elements of FNQ DAMA are:
- pathways to permanent residency for holders of TSS visas granted under the FNQ DAMA in select occupations
- a broad range of occupations that reflect FNQ skilled and semi-skilled shortages, with no caveats to apply
- English language concessions for some occupations
- salary concessions that reflect FNQ market rates, ensuring that worker terms and conditions of employment are not eroded
- concessions relating to qualifications and experience for some occupations
- a range of risk and integrity actions to ensure that the rights of both employees and employers are protected
- a five year agreement to reduce red tape.
Businesses can access the FNQ DAMA if they:
- are operating within the 'Designated Area' (currently within the Cairns, Port Douglas, Mareeba, Tablelands, or Cassowary Coast local government areas - postcodes: 4852, 4854-4856, 4858-4861, 4865, 4868-4873, 4877-4883 and 4885-4886)
- are viable and have been operating for at least 12 months
- have no history of not meeting obligations to employees
- are looking to employ overseas workers to fill full-time positions with duties that align with one or more of the occupations on the FNQ DAMA list
- can demonstrate they cannot fill the position locally with Australian citizens or permanent residents
- can provide terms and conditions of employment to overseas workers that are in accordance with those offered to Australian workers employed in the region.
All enquiries about the FNQ DAMA may be directed to
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