Designated Area Migration Agreement

Designated Area Migration Agreement

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. The Goldfields DAMA aims to attract skilled migrants to work and live in Kalgoorlie-Boulder, Coolgardie, Kambalda, Leonora, Menzies, Kookynie and Ora Banda, 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 1980s, 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.

FAQs for Businesses

What does the DAMA mean for local businesses, and does it present any opportunities? The below FAQs may help to address these and other immediate questions for local business owners and operators.
Please note: As the Goldfields DAMA has only recently been approved, the City of Kalgoorlie-Boulder is still working closely with the Department of Home Affairs to confirm the administration requirements of the Agreement. These include application forms, fees, processing times, assessment criteria and ongoing reporting requirements. The City hopes to make this information available to the public by approximately June 2019.
Why do we need DAMA for the Goldfields region?
The City along with the Shires of Coolgardie, Leonora and Menzies, are working tirelessly with the support of the Chamber of Minerals and Energy Western Australia, Kalgoorlie-Boulder Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KBCCI), and Regional Development Australia Goldfields-Esperance, to attract Australian workers to the Goldfields region over the last few years with minimal success. Kalgoorlie Boulder Chamber of Commerce and Industry held a Kal Job Expo in March 2018, promoting over 1,000 job vacancies ready to be filled by the 1,000 jobseekers who attended the Expo. However, only 30 families moved to the Goldfields after securing positions through the Expo. This is a good outcome from the Expo, but a lot more is needed if the City is to transform into a more economically diverse powerhouse, and address labour shortages in the long term.
A Fly-in, Fly-out workforce is not a solution to supplement skilled labour shortages, as the City’s preferred option is a residential workforce. A residential workforce will help grow the City’s population aspiration to 40,000 by 2030, provide a long-term stability to businesses and enable businesses growth. The Department of Training and Workforce Development recent labour market report estimated that around 334 (or 51 per cent) out of the 648 jobs listed on Seek for the Goldfields-Esperance region in October 2017 are mining related. Impact modelling undertaken using REMPLAN Economy estimates that if 334 jobs in a mining related field were filled today, then this would support a further 234 jobs in supply-chain sectors and 171 in consumption related activity.  That is, for every direct job created in mining related sectors, a further 2 jobs are supported in the broader local economy once flow-on supply-chain and consumption effects are taken into consideration. Today there is over 480 mining related jobs out of the 800 jobs advertised for the Goldfields-Esperance region on Seek. 

Other supporting reasons for the Goldfields DAMA include: 
  • The population in Kalgoorlie-Boulder is slowly declining, from a peak of 33,267 in 2013 to 30,579 in 2017.
  • There is now increasing competition for skilled workers within the Goldfields region, and from other regional cities around Western Australia because of new mines and increasing commodity prices.
  • We are also competing for skilled workers with Perth’s $1.1 billion Metronet project, and interstate cities who are also constructing and upgrading $30 plus billion worth of major infrastructure and rail projects.
  • With the National Disability Insurance Scheme rollout, it was estimated that the Goldfields-Esperance region would have 275 direct and indirect jobs by 2019-20.
  • In January 2018, it was estimated around 318 children were on the waiting list for full-time and part-time care because there is not enough childcare workers in Kalgoorlie-Boulder.
  • More skilled labour workers are needed to increase apprenticeship and traineeship, including Aboriginal traineeship, intakes. We need more skilled workers to be able to train more apprentices, trainees, and upskill young people and local workforce in the Goldfields region. 
What occupations are included in the Goldfields DAMA?
The Goldfields DAMA secured 72 occupations across multiple industries. The DAMA is not just targeted at mining and heavy industry jobs.  The approved list of skilled workers includes jobs such as childcare workers, hospitality supervisors and disability worker to help fill the shortages in these industries. A complete list of occupations can be provided upon request from the City of Kalgoorlie-Boulder.
What does the DAMA application process involve?
The DAMA application process is fairly rigorous, as the employer needs to demonstrate that the job cannot be filled by an Australian.This includes evidence that the job was advertised (via website, print media or radio) in Australia for at least 4 weeks unsuccessfully over the last four months. It also requires the skilled migrant to undertake a skills assessment, demonstrating their competence and qualifications, as well as an English language test.
Is my business eligible to sponsor an overseas worker through the Goldfields DAMA?
Businesses can access the Goldfields DAMA if they are actively operating in the Goldfields region and:
  • are 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.
Note: The Goldfields DAMA is an employer-sponsored visa program and individual workers cannot apply for a visa independently.
Do workers who migrate through the DAMA have to reside in the Goldfields?
Yes. The DAMA aims not only to help grow the communities of Kalgoorlie-Boulder and the Goldfields, but to actively combat Fly In, Fly Out workforces around the region. All workers immigrating to Australia under the DAMA are required to live and work in the region.
What are the costs associated with a DAMA application?
Alll DAMA applications will incur a processing fee. If approved, employers may also have to assist with the costs of relocating the skilled migrant to the Goldfields as part of the agreement. No sponsorship or financial assistance will be provided from the Government or other partners to the Goldfields DAMA to assist overseas workers to relocate. 
How many applications for the Goldfields DAMA will be endorsed in the first year?
Around 500 approved nominations for Temporary Skills Shortage (TSS) or Employer Nomination Scheme (ENS) visas will be endorsed in the first year. The number of occupations and nominations in following years is to be renegotiated with the Federal Minister, following an annual review.
When will applications for the DAMA open, and who will assess them?
Applications for the DAMA will open around July 2019. As the Designated Area Representative holder of the Goldfields DAMA, the City of Kalgoorlie-Boulder will be accepting and assessing applications in partnership with the Office of Home Affairs.
As a skilled worker, can I apply to migrate to the Goldfields under the DAMA?
No. The Goldfields DAMA is an employer-sponsored visa program and individual workers cannot apply for a visa independently.
Who can I contact for more information?
Please get in contact with the Policy and Research Advisor for the City of Kalgoorlie-Boulder via email or by calling (08) 9021 9600.