Far North Queensland Designated Area Migration Agreement
Who can sponsor prospective workers under the Far North Queensland Designated Area Migration Agreement (FNQ DAMA)?
Far North Queensland (FNQ) businesses* with well-established operations in FNQ for a minimum of 12 months. Businesses must have a need for the position/s within their operations in FNQ (defined as within the Cairns, Port Douglas, Atherton, Mareeba and Cassowary Coast local government areas). Find out more about how businesses are assessed as being eligible.
Can businesses sponsor prospective workers currently residing overseas under the FNQ DAMA?
FNQ employers can sponsor workers residing in Australia or overseas from any country.
How long is the processing time for the FNQ DAMA application?
The Cairns Chamber of Commerce endeavours to complete their assessment for endorsement within 10 working days, however if businesses have not supplied all necessary information required to make a meaningful assessment and decision, the process can take longer. The Chamber may request further information or clarification during the assessment process. The Department of Home Affairs determines its own processing times.
Is labour market testing (LMT) necessary before seeking endorsement under the FNQ DAMA?
The Chamber will be looking for a summary of genuine recruitment efforts at endorsement stage, preferably corresponding evidence that LMT would meet the migration regulation requirements so that only positions with a good prospect of success at nomination and visa stage will be endorsed by the DAR. It would be questionable why an employer is requesting a DAMA labour agreement for a position/s before they have tested the labour market to see whether it can be filled by an Australian citizen or permanent resident. If there is indeed a genuine need to fill a position it would be expected that an employer genuinely keen to fill a vacancy would be running ongoing advertising since before requesting DAR endorsement, until they fill the position with either an Australian or an oversas worker.
Does the Skilling Australian Fund levy apply under the FNQ DAMA?
Yes, but not during endorsement stage. For more information read the Skilling Australian Fund page.
Can prospective workers apply for a visa under the FNQ DAMA independently?
No. The FNQ DAMA is an employer-sponsored visa program which comes under the Temporary Skill Shortage visa (Subclass 482 labour agreement stream). Businesses must apply to the Cairns Chamber of Commerce to access the FNQ DAMA for the occupations, concessions and number of workers they require.
If the business is endorsed by the Cairns Chamber of Commerce and if the Department of Home Affairs signs a labour agreement with the business, they can then submit nomination applications for the appropriately skilled workers they have identified.
A worker interested in a visa cannot apply independently.
Will the Cairns Chamber of Commerce recommend businesses that may want to sponsor prospective workers under the FNQ DAMA?
No. The Cairns Chamber of Commerce does not connect those interested in a visa with businesses who are endorsed, or may be interested in applying to be endorsed, under the FNQ DAMA.
Will the prospective workers be guaranteed permanent residency under the FNQ DAMA?
Workers must meet the eligibility requirements for permanent residency (where this is available for select occupations) under the FNQ DAMA. The current pathway to permanent residency is through the subclass 186 (labour agreement stream) permanent visa and requires the employer's sponsorship. As the FNQ DAMA was signed in April 2019 and a criterion for the permanent visa pathway is that the worker has held a TSS sc482 visa issued under the DAMA for at least three years, employers are not able to seek endorsement for ENS sc186 visas until 2022.
What visa will be granted to a nominee worker under the FNQ DAMA?
A worker who is successfully nominated under the FNQ DAMA is eligible for grant of a subclass 482 (labour agreement stream) visa. A permanent residence pathway (ENS sc186) may be available for the workers in select occupatioons unber the FNQ DAMA, after holding a TSS sc482 visa granted under the FNQ DAMA for at least three years.
Who will grant the visa under the FNQ DAMA?
The Department of Home Affairs makes all visa assessments and decisions.
Is there an age limit for the applicant?
The TSS subclass 482 visa does not have an age limit, however businesses and workers aspiring to access the permanent residence pathway through the FNQ DAMA must be aware that this permanent visa currently has an age limit of 44 years old (cannot have turned 45) at time of permanent residence nomination.