Taking Advantage of The Northern Territory Designated Area Migration Agreement (NT DAMA)

Taking Advantage of The Northern Territory Designated Area Migration Agreement (NT DAMA)

The Northern Territory Designated Area Migration Agreement, also known as NT DAMA, was created and implemented to provide flexibility for states, territories or regions to respond to their "unique" economic and labour market conditions through an agreement-based framework.

This agreement is a formal arrangement negotiated between an Australian employer and the Commonwealth as represented by the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP).  Through this, employers experiencing skills and labour shortages can sponsor skilled and semi-skilled overseas workers for up to four (4) years.

Employer Eligibility for NT DAMA

The NT DAMA is for those employers who are actively operating in the Northern Territory, and:

  • have been lawfully operating in NT for at least 12 months;
  • have no adverse information;
  • has genuine intention of employing full – time position(s) under the DAMA list;
  • has tested and was unable to identify from the local labour market a suitable candidate(s) to fill in the position(s);
  • has demonstrated that they are able to meet the Subclass 457 approved sponsor requirements; and
  • has demonstrated that the same terms and conditions applicable to Australian workforce shall be offered to the overseas workers.

Concessions Considered Under NT DAMA

Under the NT DAMA, concessions are given to the following areas:

  • English Language – Any requests for concessions below average of IELTS 5.0 (with no test component below IELTS 4.5) must be supported by appropriate arrangements to manage work place risks. In these circumstances, evidence of consultation with relevant state/territory workplace safety authorities must be provided
  • Temporary Skilled Migration Income Threshold (TSMIT) – concessions up to 10% below TSMIT may be considered, provided risks associated with hardship can be managed given the additional financial burden on overseas workers.
  • Skills and Experience – although concessions will be given, overseas workers are expected to meet the ANZSCO requirements, and must be able to transfer skills to Australian workers. 

Eligible Occupations and Concessions


English Concession 
that may be Available
TSMIT Concession 
that may be Available
Retail Manager (General)

Chef ✓ 
*Child Care Worker
*Aged or Disabled Worker

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 concession will not apply.

Requesting for NT DAMA

Various steps and assessment process involving the Department of Business (DB) and DIBP should be strictly followed accordingly, including:

  • Completing the "Request to Access the DAMA" application for assessment by the DB

A complete request should include the following aspects:

Ø  the occupation(s) the sponsor wish to sponsor for the first year;

Ø  the concession(s) sought for the occupation(s); and

Ø  the number of overseas workers required for the occupation(s) sought over a year.

  • Applying for a Labour Agreement with DIBP

All the supporting documents the DB utilised in conducting its assessment shall be forwarded to DIBP together with the endorsement letter once the employer has met the requirements.  The employer can then apply to DIBP for a Labour Agreement.

  • Once approval has been given to the endorsed employer for a Labour Agreement and the occupations, number of overseas workers, and concession(s) available, the employer should start locating the qualified candidates.

The DB will verify that the overseas worker's qualifications and experience are in accordance with those for the nominated DAMA occupation(s).  A statutory declaration should be provided to DB indicating that the employer or authorised representative has interviewed the employee(s), and has concluded that the qualifications and work experience has been verified and that the applicant(s) has the skills to carry on the duties of the nominated position.  DB qualification and work experience verification letter will be returned to the nominating employer for inclusion with the overseas worker's visa application.

  • Nominating the positions to DIBP. Separate nomination application(s) should be accomplished for each nominated position(s).
  • Applying to DIBP for a Subclass 457 visa for each overseas worker(s) nominated by the Northern Territory.


Permanent Residency

Subclass 457 visa is expected to be the principal visa option available to overseas workers engaged under a NT DAMA.  Permanent residency will only be considered where the overseas worker has worked in the designated area as a subclass 457 visa holder for a minimum of two (2) years.




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