The new visa agreement allows employers to sponsor skilled workers with some possible concessions to specific occupations, English language requirements and salary levels.
In a bid to distribute the migrant population outside of Australia’s major cities such as Sydney and Melbourne, the Australian government has drafted the Designation Area Migration Agreements (DAMAs).
The agreements are designed to plug labour shortages and boost populations in regional areas across the country starting with Victoria’s Warrnambool and the entire Northern Territory.
The two most recent versions of the special visa agreements offer migrant workers from Commonwealth countries a pathway to permanent residency provided they settle in specified areas of Australia.
Mr David Coleman, Minister for Immigration, Citizenship and Multicultural Affairs, explained the initiatives are the result of his Government’s commitment to developing immigration strategies that support the needs of regional areas of Australia.
For the next five years, employers in these regions can sponsor skilled workers with some concessions for English language requirements and salary levels.
In Victoria, this means key sectors such as agriculture and hospitality can fill critical employment gaps with overseas workers whose occupations are not currently included in the standard skilled migration programs of the country.
Not only is the prospect of employment, and the chance to live in Australia an attractive proposition for skilled workers but the permanent residency pathway makes it practically irrefusable.
Migration agent Rohit Mohan says this new special visa agreements could be a win-win for everyone involved.
“This visa is initiated by the employer. This means the migrant will have a job in the area, giving them the required initial start and also provide them with a pathway to permanent residency. It is a win-win for everyone involved,” Mr Mohan told SBS Hindi.
Going to a new country, without any roots can be daunting but having a secure job for a specified period of time, goes a long way to helping migrants settle in the country and decide if they want to stay. These DAMA’s then make it easier for migrants who want to settle to be allowed to do so.
There is one caveat however, the visa requirements hold that employers who want to bring in skilled workers under the Temporary Skill Shortage visa must prove they are unable to find an Australian to fill the position.
Northern Territory Minister for Workforce Training, Selena Uibo explained. “Employers struggling to fill any of the 117 skilled and semi-skilled occupations identified as being in shortage will need to demonstrate they are unable to employ a suitably skilled and experienced Australian to fill a position, before applying to sponsor an overseas worker.”
As young Australians in regional areas are drawn to the city leaving a shortage of workers and residents in their hometowns, this consideration looks easily overcome. As Mr. Coleman commented on a previous version of this immigration policy:
“The NT has seen first-hand the benefits of using a Designated Area Migration Agreement to respond to their unique workforce shortages,”
With the Northern Territory having had success in the past and having just signed on for another 5 years, other territories are looking at the DAMA’s benefits. Currently the Federal Government is in discussions with the Pilbara and the Kalgoorlie-Boulder regions in Western Australia, Cairns in far North Queensland, and the Orana region in central New South Wales.