New Designated Area Migration Agreement for South West WA

Western Australia’s South West region is looking to fill critical labour shortages with the federal government creating a Designated Area Migration Agreement (DAMA) in order to bring more people into their business and industry.

The South West will become the eighth region in Australia to enter a five-year agreement with the Commonwealth. The aim of this new deal is to ensure skilled migrants contribute through employment, where Australian workers are not available.

The Federal Government has been listening to the needs of business and community members. Alex Hawke, Minister for Immigration, Citizenship and Multicultural Affairs said as much at a press conference earlier this week.

“This new migration agreement will help to expedite growth in Dardanup and South West Western Australia,” Minister Hawke said.

“With over 74,000 vacancies in regional Australia, regional migration has huge benefits for both the local community and migrants.”

“Regional towns will be able to fill gaps in their labour market and migrants can find secure employment in some of the most beautiful parts of Australia,” he said.

Federal Member for Forrest Nola Marino, MP said she had been working on the DAMA with local industry, councils and the Federal Government for approximately three years.

“I want to thank and acknowledge all the local businesses that have been making the case to me year on year, seeking my help because they just can’t fill critical labour shortages.”

“Bringing this migration agreement to fruition has become critical to the South West region given the impact of COVID-19 on regional worker shortages across all industries.”

“The new DAMA will assist a range of key industries in the South West fill critical employment gaps.”

“Our first priority is always to fill jobs with Australians, but the immigration system can play an important role in helping to address regional skills gaps.”

“This agreement provides a limited capacity to access more overseas workers than the standard skilled migration program, allowing concessions or variations specific to the South West labour market,” she said.

The DAMA allows skilled workers to come to the South West region through the Temporary Skill Shortage Visa and Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional (Provisional) Visas. These visas are visas that may provide a pathway to permanent residency, benefiting our community in both business as well as long-term sustainability.

The Shire of Dardanup will administer the process for accessing a South West DAMA, which is open to any businesses operating in one or more of the 12 local governments covered by this agreement- City of Busselton, City of Bunbury, Shire of Capel, Shire of Collie, Shire of Augusta/Margaret River, Shire of Boyup Brook, Shire of Bridgetown/Greenbushes, Shire of Dardanup, Shire of Donnybrook/Balingup, Shire of Harvey, Shire of Manjimup and the Shire of Nannup. The application window for access is from 2022 onwards.

Dardanup Shire President Mick Bennett said the DAMA would offer a powerful solution to ongoing skill shortages and job vacancies in the South West region.

“The Shire of Dardanup welcomes the Federal Government’s support in establishing a DAMA in our region which will absolutely encourage skilled migrants to come and work and reside in regional Western Australia,” Mr Bennett said.

“This is great news for our local economy and will no doubt provide a great deal of flow on benefits to the community. We are very pleased to see this five year labour agreement between the Shire of Dardanup, our 11 near local government neighbours and the Federal Government come to fruition which has been achieved with strong support from the Bunbury Geographe Chamber of Commerce and Industries and the assistance of a passionate group of local businesses,” he said.

For more information about how DAMA works, you can read this article.