The South Australian Designated Area Migration Agreement (DAMA) is a formal agreement between the Australian Government, represented by the Department of Home Affairs and the South Australian Government, Department for Industry, Innovation and Science.

The DAMAs enable South Australian employers to sponsor skilled overseas workers for positions they are unable to fill with local workers. Employers experiencing skills and labour shortages can apply for endorsement to enter into a DAMA labour agreement.

The following diagram outlines the end-to-end process for applying for this visa. As an employer, you are first required to seek endorsement from the DAR (Skilled & Business Migration).

Dama Endorsement Process

This enables them to sponsor skilled and semi-skilled overseas workers with more flexible requirements than are available via the standard skilled visa programs.

The South Australian Government has entered into two DAMAs:

Adelaide Technology and Innovation Advancement Agreement

This agreement focuses on Adelaide’s high-tech growth industries including defence, space, technology and advanced manufacturing industries. The Adelaide City Technology and Innovation Advancement Agreement is the Designated Area Migration Agreement (DAMA) covering metropolitan Adelaide.

South Australian Regional Workforce Agreement

This agreement focuses on South Australia’s regional high growth industries including agribusiness, forestry, health and social services, tourism and hospitality, construction and mining. The South Australian Regional Workforce Agreement is the Designated Area Migration Agreement (DAMA) covering the entire state of South Australia.

The DAMA is intended to assist local businesses to meet their skills needs. Individuals cannot apply directly for a DAMA labour agreement.

Who should apply for a DAMA Labour agreement?

This program is for South Australian Businesses that:

  • Have identified a skills or labour shortage that they cannot fill locally
  • Have vacancies for occupations that are available on the DAMA Occupation Lists for South Australia, or occupations with duties that align with the nominated occupation
  • Have permanent full-time positions vacant which cannot be filled locally

Who can you nominate?

  • An employer can nominate Skilled migrants living overseas or temporary residents currently working in Australia.

Designated Area Representative (DAR)

Skilled & Business Migration, Department for Industry, Innovation and Science, is the Designated Area Representative (DAR) and is the cosignatory to the agreement and is responsible for the broad oversight and endorsement of sponsors under the agreements. This includes:

  • Management and administration of the DAMA
  • Assessing and endorsing employers who want to sponsor overseas workers under the DAMA
  • Monitoring, reporting, and reviewing activity as agreed with the Department of Home Affairs


Australian Government

The Commonwealth of Australia is represented by the Department of Home Affairs, and is responsible for:

  • Governing the legislative requirements as provided by the Migration Act and Regulations
  • Working with endorsed employers to establish the individual DAMA Labour Agreement
  • Processing nominations and visa applications made under the DAMA Labour Agreements
  • Working with endorsed employers to evaluate and review the DAMA Labour Agreement annually
  • Working with endorsed employers' requests (annually) on the maximum number of nominations.

Comparison Table Labour Agreement Streams

  488 TSS (LA Stream) 494 SESR (LA Stream)
Work Experience Generally 2 years, however concessions are available depending on occupation. Generally 3 years, however concessions are available depending on occupation.
English Level Dependent on occupation. Concessions available - see occupation list. Dependent on occupation. Concessions available - see occupation list.
Location Can be on/offshore to apply. Can be on/offshore to apply.
Visa Term Up to 4 years (up to 5 years for Hong Kong residents) 5 years
Age No age limit* Under 45. Concessions available - see occupation list.*
Skills Assessment Required for some occupations - see occupation list. Required for some occupations - see occupation list.
Permanent Pathway Transition to ENS subclass 186 (Labour Agreement stream) Transition to Permanent Resident (Skilled Regional) visa subclass 191
Cost There is no cost from Skilled & Business Migration for applying for a Labour Agreement Endorsement. Costs of sponsoring a migrant worker are determined by the Department of Home Affairs. There is no cost from Skilled & Business Migration for applying for a Labour Agreement Endorsement. Costs of sponsoring a migrant worker are determined by the Department of Home Affairs.

* Age limit applies if Visa Applicant is nominated for ENS 186 visa at a later stage.

Endorsement is valid for 12 months. Additional occupations or ceilings can be requested through a variation request.

  • Employers who are party to a DAMA Labour Agreement may need to vary the approved occupations and ceilings within the first or subsequent years.
  • Employer ceilings (maximum number of approved nominations) are approved on an annual basis. As with the DAMA, the first year annual ceiling for an employer is shown in the Schedules of the employers’ DAMA Labour Agreement.
  • Variations to employer ceiling approvals are not automatic. Variation requests must be endorsed by DAR and approved by the Department of Home Affairs . Employers will first need to submit an online application to DAR. The ceiling numbers for subsequent years, once approved by the Department, are recorded in a deed of variation which is sent to the employer and DAR.
  • Amendments to an existing labour agreement are referred to as a Variation Request, and follows the same application process as a normal DAMA application. For further information on applying for a variation, refer to How to Apply.