What is the change? Australia will launch a pilot foreign-worker program under a designated area migration agreement (DAMA) with the Northern Territory Government.

What does the change mean? The agreement provides for relaxed criteria for semi-skilled overseas workers where there are local labour shortages.

  • Implementation timeframe: The pilot program is scheduled to launch in the coming weeks, but no date has been announced.
  • Visas/permits affected: 457 Visas.
  • Who is affected: Employers applying for 457 visas.
  • Impact on processing times:
  • Business impact: Employers will be able to attract semi-skilled overseas labour more easily in the designated areas.

Background: Australia’s Assistant Immigration Minister Michaelia Cash recently confirmed that a pilot DAMA program will launch in Darwin in the Northern Territory in coming weeks and discussions are in progress for a similar DAMA in Pilbara in Western Australia. The agreements are aimed at attracting semi-skilled guest workers such as childcare workers, cooks and truck drivers. Labor unions have criticised the plans as undercutting local workers by watering down training and skills requirements for 457 visas.

BAL Analysis: It is still unclear which criteria – particularly labour marketing testing – will be altered or eased under the DAMAs.

This alert has been provided by BAL Australia. For additional information, please contact

MARN: 9683856

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