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Australia approves FNQ DAMA enhancements to assist with skill shortages

A Deed of Variation was signed on 30 March 2022 by the Immigration Minister, Alex Hawke to enhance the Far North Queensland (FNQ) DAMA occupations.

To help manage regional skill shortages, DAMAs allow employers in that region to access positions that may not typically be available for sponsorship. They also make eligibility concessions available on work experience, English language, and age requirements – allowing a wider range of possibilities for workers to get Permanent Residency if working in that region for a DAMA employer.

Enhancements to FNQ DAMA are critically needed as the region is getting more vaccinated overseas visitors.

“As international travellers return to Australia in larger numbers, Far North Queensland will be well prepared and ready to share its world-class hospitality and services,” Minister for Immigration, Citizenship, Migrant Services and Multicultural Affairs – Alex Hawke said.

The DAMA variations will help employers in FNQ find more suitable Overseas Workers to fill the employment void, and at the same time ensure that these workers are job-ready when they arrive in the region.

The variations included:

  • · removal of some unused occupations and replacing them with additional occupations identified as subject of skill shortages;
    · removal* of some non-ANZSCO and obsolete occupations resulting from a government ANZSCO review, and replacing them with the new equivalents;
    · an increase in the age concession, accessible for all occupations;
    · greater flexibility with the English language concession for those occupations that are eligible;
    · reduced experience concessions for some occupations where the Overseas Worker’s qualification was obtained in Australia;
    · removal of postcode limitations that previously applied to some occupations;
    · extension of the permanent residence pathway to all occupations (conditional for Skill Level 5);
    · addition of the Northern Peninsula Area Regional Council (NPARC) to the FNQ DAMA Designated Area.

*The variations include transitional arrangements to ensure Overseas Workers in any occupations removed will remain eligible for a permanent visa pathway under the FNQ DAMA.

Patricia O’Neill, CEO of the Cairns Chamber of Commerce said these changes are based on January 2022 labour market analysis which showed where current skill shortages are affecting regional businesses.

The Chamber of Commerce administers the process for accessing the FNQ DAMA which is open to businesses operating in any of the nine local government areas covered by the agreement – Cairns Regional, Douglas Shire, Mareeba Shire, Tablelands Regional, Cassowary Coast Regional, Cook Shire, Torres Shire and Northern Peninsula Area Regional Councils areas, as well as the Weipa Town Authority.

For the new FNQ DAMA Occupation and Concessions List, see https://www.cairnschamber.com.au/files/media/original/5ff/4b7/967/FNQ-DAMA-1.3—Occupation-and-Concessions-List-30-Mar-2022-v4.0-.pdf

For full details and how to access the program, visit https://www.cairnschamber.com.au/regional-migration/fnq-dama/overview

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