What is the change? A designated area migration agreement (DAMA) has gone into effect for the Northern Territory.

What does the change mean? The agreement offers qualifying employers in the Northern Territory concessions on minimum income thresholds and English language requirements for subclass 457 visas in a limited number of occupations.

  • Implementation timeframe: Immediate and ongoing.
  • Visas/permits affected: Temporary Work (Skilled) (subclass 457) visas.
  • Who is affected: Employers operating in the Northern Territory for at least 12 months.
  • Impact on processing times: 
  • Business impact: The agreement is a positive development for Northern Territory employers.
  • Next steps: The Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) will finalise standard DAMA guidelines.

Background: Australia announced the DAMA pilot programs last month.

Under the Northern Territory DAMA, there will be concessions in English language and minimum salary requirements for subclass 457 visas. The agreement also adds some occupations to the normal subclass 457 occupations list.

Occupation English concession may be available Salary concession may be available
Retail Manager (General)
* Child Care Worker
* Aged or Disabled Carer
Bar Attendant
Hotel Service Manager
Tour Guide
Office Manager
General Clerk
Motor Vehicle Parts Interpreter
Retail Supervisor
Earth Moving Plant Operator (General)
Truck Driver (General)
Store Person

* These occupations are classified as “vulnerable” occupations and therefore English language concessions will not apply.

The first stage of DAMA has now commenced and will proceed until 10 February 2015 or until DIBP’s standard DAMA guidelines (DAMA Stage 2) are finalised. Employers must obtain endorsement from the Department of Business and if they need to add occupations or employees after endorsement, they must go back to the Department of Business. The Northern Territory Government is negotiating for a broader range of occupations to be available in DAMA Stage 2.

BAL Analysis: This DAMA is a good scheme for a limited number of employers operating in the Northern Territory. Employers who qualify must still fulfill labour market testing and demonstrate that they are unable to fill the job locally and that the terms of employment match those offered to Australian workers employed in the region.

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

MARN: 9683856

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