The Australian Government is continuing to show its support for regional Australia after agreeing to significant changes to the Far North Queensland Designated Area Migration Agreement (DAMA).
The Far North Queensland DAMA enables employers in a designated regional area, who are unable to recruit appropriately qualified Australians, to supplement their workforce with skilled overseas workers.
The changes include:
- Expanding the designated area to include Cape York and the Torres Strait;
- Increasing the number of occupations available under the DAMA; and
- Additional concessions to the work experience and age requirements applicable to certain visas.
Federal Immigration, Citizenship, Migrant Services and Multicultural Affairs Minister Alex Hawke said this agreement is one of seven DAMAs now in effect that are helping to attract skilled workers to regional areas, support regional businesses and ensure local communities thrive.
“These changes provide Far North Queensland businesses with more certainty, while allowing the region to build the skilled labour needed to address critical skills shortages,” Mr Hawke said.
“The Member for Leichhardt Warren Entsch advocated strongly for the interests of the region during this process and I commend him for his hard work in support of Queensland businesses.
“Our first priority is always to fill jobs with Australians, but DAMAs play a critical role addressing regional skills gaps and in supporting Australia’s recovery from the pandemic.”
Federal Leichhardt MP Warren Entsch said the changes to the Far North Queensland DAMA would greatly assist businesses across the region.
“The changes will allow local businesses to recruit suitably qualified non-Australians across a variety of professions to further build their workforce,” Mr Entsch said.
“This is particularly important as we begin the recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.
“This will also greatly assist local businesses in attracting, hiring and retaining skilled workers, something that has been a struggle for businesses over the past six months.”
Cairns Chamber of Commerce chief executive office Patricia O’Neill said these variations to the DAMA, including but not limited to, additional occupations and extended geographical coverage, will enable the business sector to have the ability to fill much needed skills within their industries.
“Once we have received the official agreement from the government, CCoC will update our website and conduct information sessions for all agents and businesses,” Ms O’Neill said.
“We thank Warren Entsch for his assistance in working with the Chamber to amplify the importance of this issue in Canberra.”