DAMA Overview

DAMA Overview

The City of Kalgoorlie-Boulder and the Australian Government have reached agreement on the Goldfields Designated Area Migration Agreement (DAMA), which was approved by Minister for Immigration, Citizenship and Multicultural Affairs, David Coleman, in March 2019.

The Goldfields DAMA is a five year labour agreement between the Federal Government, the City of Kalgoorlie-Boulder and the Shires of Coolgardie, Leonora and Menzies. It aims to attract skilled migrants to work and live in Kalgoorlie-Boulder, Coolgardie, Leonora and Menzies, allowing Goldfields employers to sponsor skilled overseas workers in specified industries that are currently experiencing critical skill and labour shortages. We always advocate that employment should be offered to Australians first. Where there is a skills shortage, we believe skilled migrants are critical to supplement the local workforce.

City of Kalgoorlie-Boulder Statement

The City of Kalgoorlie-Boulder has a proud multicultural history, and is welcoming towards migrants.

According to the 2016 Census, around 25 per cent of people living in the City were born outside of Australia, and almost all of them are now proud Australian citizens. These migrants bring a wealth of skills, knowledge and have greatly contributed to the growth and development of Kalgoorlie-Boulder including the creation of businesses. In 2016, the Australian Bureau of Statistics reported that 1 in 3 owner or managers of small businesses were born overseas. The City is proud to represent a community with a rich cultural heritage, and our diversity leads to progression and maximises the City’s potential.  
Skilled migration program in Australia has been introduced since the 1950s, and today about 70 per cent of permanent migrants were skilled stream migrants. The Designated Area Migration Agreement (DAMA) program aimed at attracting a skilled migrant worker into a regional city is another avenue for Kalgoorlie-Boulder to grow its economy and population. It is clear that more is needed to be done to attract people and migrants to pick a regional city like Kalgoorlie-Boulder, as most people prefer to live in metro areas, unless there is an incentive. DAMA enables Goldfields employers sponsor skilled overseas workers in the areas that are experiencing skills and labour shortages. Allowing employers to access certain flexibilities that are currently unavailable under the standard temporary and permanent visa programs to attract and retain skilled workers to form a stable residential workforce. 
Introducing DAMA will not stop the City from collectively working on attracting Australians from other cities to come and live in Kalgoorlie-Boulder. The City strongly supports residential workforce, and will achieve this by implementing priority initiatives identified in the Kalgoorlie-Boulder Growth Plan.

How does the DAMA work?
The Goldfields DAMA utilises the labour agreement stream of the Temporary Skill Shortage visa (subclass 482) and the Employer Nomination Scheme (subclass 186). Businesses enter into a labour agreement with the Australian Government, and workers are then granted a Subclass 482 or Subclass 186 visa.
The Goldfields DAMA is an employer-sponsored visa program and individual workers cannot apply for a visa independently.
The key elements of Goldfields DAMA are:
  • It will provide pathways to permanent residency for Goldfields DAMA visa holders (including transitional arrangements for existing visa holders).
  • It caters for a broad range of occupations that reflect skilled and semi-skilled shortages in the Goldfields.
  • It offers English language concessions for some occupations.
  • It offers salary concessions that reflect Goldfields market rates, ensuring that worker terms and conditions of employment are not eroded, and Goldfields businesses and consumers are not subjected to inflationary costs.
  • It incorporates a range of risk and integrity actions to ensure that the rights of both employees and employers are protected.
  • It is a five year agreement.
Users of the Goldfields DAMA
Businesses can access the Goldfields DAMA if they are actively operating in the Goldfields and:
  • are financially viable and have been operating for at least 12 months; 
  • have no history of not meeting its obligations to employees;
  • are looking to employ overseas workers to fill full-time positions with duties that align with one of the occupations on the Goldfields 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.
Labour hire organisations cannot utilise the Goldfields DAMA program. It can only be accessed by direct employers. A labour agreement specific to labour hire organisations (“On-Hire”) can be found on the Department of Home Affairs website
Occupations Included in the Agreement
In the first year, around 72 occupations are eligible for sponsorship under the Goldfields DAMA.
These occupations, and the concessions that may be applied.
Your business can seek a Temporary Skilled Migration Income Threshold (TSMIT) concession. However, there must be a strong business case provided to support a TSMIT concession, which are only available for the following occupations:
  • Bar Attendant (Supervisor)
  • Beef Cattle Farmer
  • Child Care Worker
  • Waiter (Supervisor)
Your business has to show that the salary offered to a prospective overseas worker is at least what an Australian citizen or permanent resident could expect if doing the same job in the same location.
You can find a full list of occupations included in the Goldfields DAMA here
Concessions Available
The Goldfields DAMA provides eligible businesses access to occupations which are not available through the standard stream of the Temporary Skill Shortage (TSS) (subclass 482) or the Employer Nomination Scheme (ENS) (subclass 186) visas. 
It also provides for English language and Temporary Skilled Migration Income Threshold (TSMIT) concessions for some occupations. Not all occupations are eligible for concessions.
Additional Occupations not in ANZSCO
The Goldfields DAMA provides access to two occupations not included in the Australia and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupation (ANZSCO).
These are:
  • Bar attendant (Supervisor)
  • Waiter (Supervisor)
For the purposes of the Goldfields DAMA, these occupations have been given the code 070499.
For these occupations, applicants need to demonstrate that their skills, qualifications and experience align to the following sample position descriptions:
English Language Concession
Currently, 28 occupations listed under the Goldfields DAMA include English language concessions that may be available to overseas workers applying for a temporary TSS visa, and those transitioning to Australian permanent residency through the Employer Nomination Scheme (ENS) labour agreement pathway (unless registration or licensing requires a higher level of English). 
TSS Concessions
ENS Concessions
Overall Medium term stream - 5.0
Short term stream - 5.0
5.0 5.0
Speaking Medium term stream - 5.0
Short term stream - 4.5
4.0 4.5
Listening Medium term stream - 5.0
Short term stream - 4.5
4.0 4.5
Reading Medium term stream - 5.0
Short term stream - 4.5
4.0 4.5
Writing Medium term stream - 5.0
Short term stream - 4.5
4.0 4.5

Some applicants do not need to undertake an English test. For further information go to the Department of Home Affairs website.
Temporary Skilled Migration Income Threshold Concession

All workers employed under the Goldfields DAMA must be employed under Australian employment conditions and receive no less than what an Australian would to undertake the same job in the same location.

Many employer sponsored visa programs, including the standard TSS and ENS programs, have a minimum salary threshold that can be paid. The Temporary Skilled Migration Income Threshold (TSMIT) which currently sits at $53,900 also applies.

The Goldfields DAMA includes two TSMIT concessions which may be available for employers across four occupations. The occupations table indicates which occupations have access to a TSMIT concession:

ANZSCO Skill Level
070499 Bar Attendant (Supervisor) 4
121312 Beef Cattle Farmer 1
421111 Child Care Worker 4
070499 Waiter (Supervisor) 4
TSMIT Concessions Available for Employers

Employers may be eligible for some concessions on the Temporary Skilled Migration Income threshold.

Concession type 1 - up to a 10% concession to the TSMIT

Businesses must demonstrate the annual monetary earnings provided will be no less than 90% of the TSMIT, i.e. no less than $48,510.

Concession type 2 - up to a 10% concession to the TSMIT, and the inclusion of non-monetary earnings (other)

Businesses must demonstrate that the annual earnings provided will be no less than 90% of the TSMIT, i.e. no less than $48,510.
These annual earnings can be comprised of 'non-monetary earnings (other)' to the value of up to $4,851 annually (i.e. capped at 10% of the reduced TSMIT). Non-monetary earnings (other) refers to benefits such as phone, vehicle, food and board.

Employers that seek concessions based on non-monetary benefits provided to overseas workers must ensure the:
•           benefits support the living costs of the overseas worker, and
•           overseas worker would have incurred that cost had it not been provided by the approved sponsor, and
•           benefits are quantifiable, and
•           benefits are consistent with terms and conditions provided to existing Australians employed in a similar position, and
•           benefits are guaranteed in the employment contract, and
•           benefits exclude contingent payments such as overtime (other than guaranteed overtime), bonuses and commissions.

Goldfields DAMA Members

City of Kalgoorlie-Boulder
Shire of Coolgardie Shire of Leonora Shire of Menzies
The Chamber of Minerals and Energy Western Australia Kalgoorlie-Boulder Chamber of Commerce and Industry Regional Development Australia