New Designated Area Migration Agreements for South Australia (DAMA SA)

Immigration SA has released the details on two new 5-year Designated Area Migration Agreements (DAMA’s) recently announced by the Minister for Immigration and the South Australian Government. The DAMA’s will enable eligible employers in South Australia to sponsor suitably skilled overseas workers in specified skilled and semi-skilled occupations which they have been unable to fill in the local labour market. These Agreements operate under the Employer Sponsored Temporary Skill Shortage (TSS) (Subclass 482) visa programme (labour agreement stream). Applicants may also later qualify for a permanent residence visa under the Employer Nomination Scheme (ENS) in selected occupations via the DAMA SA programme.

The Subclass 494 Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional (Provisional) visa is also now eligible under the DAMA SA programme. This option provides a pathway to permanent residency through the Subclass 191 Permanent Residence (Skilled Regional) visa (to be introduced on 16 November 2022).

What are the new Designated Area Migration Agreements for South Australia?

The Adelaide City Technology and Innovation Advancement Agreement (ACTIAA) covers occupations in the defence, space, advanced manufacturing and technology industries. Up to 300 applicants per year will be able to be sponsored under the ACTIAA to work in the Adelaide Metropolitan region (which encompasses the Greater Adelaide area). Age concessions for the permanent residence visa pathway are also specified for each occupation under the ACTIAA. Whereas the usual age limit to qualify under the ENS programme is under 45 (unless an exemption applies), the maximum eligible age is extended to either under 50 or 55 under this Agreement.

The South Australian Regional Workforce Agreement (SARWA) lists occupations in the key regional growth industries of agribusiness, health, aged care, hospitality, tourism, mining and the construction sectors and covers the entire state of South Australia. Up to 750 places each year will be available for sponsorship under the SARWA.

A key feature of the SARWA is that it includes several occupations which were not previously eligible for sponsorship under the skilled visa programme, specifically those classified as Skill Level 4 occupations under the Australian and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations (ANZSCO). Occupations in this skill level category generally require an AQF Certificate II or III qualification, or alternatively, a minimum of one-year employment experience, which may substitute for formal qualifications.

The following skill level 4 occupations are eligible for sponsorship under the SARWA:

Occupation ANZSCO code


Aged or disabled carer 423111
Backhoe Operator 721212
Bar Attendant 431111
Bulldozer Operator 721213
Construction Rigger 821711
Crane, Hoist or Lift Operator 712111
Dental assistant 423211
Driller 712211
Earthmoving Plant Operator


Excavator Operator 721214
Gaming Worker 431311
Grader Operator 721215
Hotel or Motel Receptionist 542113
Loader Operator 721216
Miner 712212
Motor Vehicle Parts and

Accessories Fitter (General)

Nursing support worker 423312
Passenger Coach Driver 731213
Personal care assistant 423313
Sand Blaster 711913
Scaffolder 821712
Shot Firer 712213
Steel Fixer 821713
Structural Steel Erector 821714
Therapy aide 423314
Waiter 431511
Agricultural and Horticultural

Mobile Plant Operator

Fishing Hand 899212
Forestry Worker 841311
Logging Assistant 841312
Logging Plant Operator 721112
Meat Boner and Slicer 831211
Sawmilling Operator 711313
Slaughterer 831212
Tree Faller 841313
Truck Driver (General) 733111


Certain occupations eligible for sponsorship under the SARWA also provide an age concession of under 50 when applying for permanent residence under the ENS visa programme. Other concessions in relation to skills and experience, English language and the Temporary Skilled Migration Income Threshold (TSMIT) are also available for specified occupations under this Agreement.

How does the process work?

To sponsor overseas workers under either the ACTIAA or SARWA discussed above, eligible employers must first apply to Immigration SA (being the Designated Area Representative (DAR)) for endorsement under the programme. Successful applicants will receive a Letter of Endorsement from Immigration SA, which must then be submitted to the Department as part of a separate application for approval of a DAMA Labour Agreement with the Federal Government.

The outcome of this process is that each approved employer will have a separate Labour Agreement DAMA with the Government, specifying an agreed number of workers which the employer is able to sponsor under the TSS programme. The eligibility of workers who are sponsored under a Labour Agreement to later qualify for permanent residence will also be specified in each Labour Agreement DAMA, as applicable.

In its role as the DAR, Immigration SA will oversee the DAMA’s, issue endorsements to approved employers and conduct monitoring and evaluation activities under the programme.

How can an employer apply to Immigration SA for endorsement under a South Australian DAMA?

As part of the application process, employers must submit evidence to show that that they have completed specified Labour Market Testing (LMT) which demonstrates that they have been unable to recruit skilled workers from the local employment market. A Skilling Australian Fund (SAF) levy also applies.

There is no fee payable to apply to Immigration SA for endorsement under a South Australian DAMA, or to enter into a Labour Agreement with the Federal Government.

To access the South Australian DAMA, a South Australian business must:

  • Be actively operating in South Australia;
  • Be viable and have been operating for a minimum of 12 months;
  • Not have an adverse history of failing to meet its obligations to employees;
  • Be seeking to employ overseas workers to fill full-time positions in occupations specified in the DAMA;
  • Be able to demonstrate that they are unable to fill the position/s with suitably skilled Australian citizens or permanent residents from the local labour market; and
  • Be able to provide employment conditions to overseas workers which are equivalent to those offered to Australian workers employed in the region.

Eligible criteria for endorsement by Immigration SA include the requirement to demonstrate that:

  • The business is based in South Australia, is financially viable and has been operating lawfully for a period of more than 12 months;
  • The position/s to be filled by sponsored overseas workers are genuine and that a genuine vacancy exists;
  • LMT has been conducted and is in accordance with specified requirements (see above);
  • The occupations and concessions being sought under the DAMA are reasonable, taking into account current labour market conditions in the region; and
  • Employment terms and conditions are reasonable and lawful.

Applicants must also specify the number of positions that are required to be filled in one year and provide details on each occupation and any concession/s being sought under the DAMA. Additionally, information on any recent changes to the composition of the employer’s workforce in the last 6 months must also be supplied (where applicable).

For further information on the requirements and process involved in applying for a Labour Agreement to the Department, we have prepared A Complete Guide to Labour Agreement Visa for your reference. This article also includes information for visa applicants.

Australia’s migrations laws are complex, and each case is different. We recommend that you seek professional advice before you proceed with applying for a the Labour Agreement, as being fully informed about the process and requirements that apply will give you the best chance of achieving a successful outcome on your application, and thus lessen the chance that it will be refused. A migration professional can help you to do this.

For up to date advice on the South Australian DAMA Labour Agreement skilled visa programme, book your confidential consultation with a migration agent in Adelaide. PAX Migration Australia is a leading immigration advice service based in Adelaide.