ABOUT THE EK DAMA
EAST KIMBERLEY DESIGNATED AREA MIGRATION AGREEMENT (EK DAMA)
The priority for the EKCCI is always to promote jobs for Australians first. However, the EKCCI and East Kimberley industry have highlighted the need for improved access to overseas workers on a sustainable basis where occupations and positions are not able to be filled from the Australian labour market.
The EK DAMA is an agreement between the EKCCI and the Federal Government that allows employers operating in the East Kimberley to access a broader range of occupations than standard skilled migration avenues, and with numerous concessions including experience, age, and in some cases salary and English, among others. These arrangements help employers attract and retain the right people to our region on a sustainable basis, where they have not been able to fill positions from the Australian labour market.
The EK DAMA Designated Area aligns with the Local Government Area of the Shire of Wyndham East Kimberley. Employers requesting endorsement must have operations in the Designated Area, and the position/s being sought must be located within the operations of the employer within the Designated area.
The EK DAMA is accessible to all employers operating in the East Kimberley region and is not exclusive to EKCCI members.
SOME KEY EK DAMA CONCEPTS
The EK DAMA operates in a different way to standard skilled migration programs, using a labour agreement framework. This means that:
- An employer can obtain their own labour agreement, valid for five years, that includes:
- Pre-approval for one or more occupations and positions in a broad range of skilled and semi-skilled occupations;
- Concessions that provide incentives to attract and retain overseas workers to those positions, such as age concessions, and a clearly defined permanent visa pathway, among others
- An employer does not need to have identified the prospective worker/s to access an EK DAMA labour agreement:
- The employer can nominate (‘sponsor’) overseas workers already in their employ; or
- Attract suitably skilled and experienced overseas workers by having occupations and positions pre-approved, with concessions.
- The five-year EK DAMA labour agreement can be varied based on changing business need, adding additional or new occupations and positions, or adding further concessions that are available if necessary.
OCCUPATIONS AND CONCESSIONS UNDER THE EK DAMA
The EK DAMA occupation list is different to standard skilled migration programs and includes a range of concessions not accessible through those standard programs. To view or download the EK DAMA Occupations and Concessions List, please refer to the ‘Accessing the EK DAMA’ page. Be sure to read the explanatory notes at the end of the list to learn what the concessions mean.
WHAT IS INVOLVED IN ACCESSING THE EK DAMA?
Accessing the EK DAMA is a two-step process. Nominating individual workers under a EK DAMA labour agreement involves a further two steps. The following diagram shows these four steps and who is responsible for each.
The employer requests endorsement from the EKCCI (as the Designated Area Representative or DAR) to access the EK DAMA. This endorsement is assessed in around 5 business days.
The employer then applies online to the Department of Home Affairs for an EK DAMA Labour Agreement, using the endorsement letter from the EKCCI. This can take a number of weeks, however the employer is generally able to nominate overseas workers for endorsed occupations and positions before the EK DAMA labour agreement is finalised.**
NOTE: Steps 1 and 2 above are about the business need for the occupation/s and position/s, and not about prospective individual overseas workers even if they are already in your employ.
Once the employer has been approved and has an EK DAMA Labour Agreement in place (usually for up to five years), the employer can then nominate (if not already nominated) individual overseas workers up to the approved number of occupations and positions in that agreement. The individual overseas worker/s may then be granted a temporary or provisional visa of up to five years. After three or four years, the individual overseas workers may have access to a permanent visa under the EK DAMA.
Once an individual’s nomination is approved, they can then apply for their associated visa.
**Overseas workers who are in Australia may be eligible for a bridging visa in the interim depending on their individual circumstances. You should obtain professional advice or check with the Department of Home Affairs as an individual person’s immigration status or circumstances may, in some cases, prevent a successful nomination or access to a bridging visa. The EKCCI is not involved in any considerations around the individuals.