DAMA and Labour Agreements


DAMA (Designation Area Migration Agreements) and Labour Agreements could be an additional pathway to getting working visa and PR

If your occupation does not entitle you to apply for any skilled visa, or you’re over 45, or you can’t pass the English test at the required level there might be an opportunity for you in DAMA or other Labour Agreements. In areas covered by DAMAs for some occupations there might be concessions with regards to age, English and minimum pay (TISMIT)

The DAMA lists might include occupations which are not eligible for any other skilled visa. For example: Truck Driver, Driller Assistant, Bar Manager, Child Carer, Aged Care Worker and many others.

Designated Area Migration Agreements

A Designated Area Migration Agreement (DAMA) is a formal agreement between the Australian Government and a regional, state or territory authority. It provides access to more overseas workers than the standard skilled migration program. DAMAs operate under an agreement-based framework, providing flexibility for regions to respond to their unique economic and labour market conditions.

A DAMA is a two-tier framework covering a defined regional area. The first tier is an overarching five-year agreement with the regional body/representative. The second tier comprises individual labour agreements with employers under the settings of the head agreement for that region.

Employers must seek and gain endorsement from the Designated Area Representative before lodging a labour agreement request.

Under the DAMA, employers in designated areas experiencing skills and labour shortages can sponsor skilled and semi-skilled overseas workers. Individuals cannot directly access a DAMA – they need to be sponsored by an endorsed employer.

For information about labour agreements or other options for regional areas, the following resources are available on the Home Affair Department’s website:

We currently have seven DAMAs in place:

Types of labour agreements

There are five types of labour agreements:

There are currently nine industry agreements in place - see Copies of labour agreement templates below

  • Dairy
  • Fishing
  • Meat
  • Minister of Religion
  • On-hire
  • Pork
  • Restaurant (fine dining)
  • Advertising
  • Horticulture
  • New Horticulture Industry Labour Agreement
  • ​From 1 January 2020, businesses in Australia’s horticulture industry are able to apply for the new Horticulture Industry Labour Agreement. The Horticulture Industry Labour Agreement increases access to skilled and semi-skilled migrant workers for the horticulture industry, where appropriately qualified Australians are unavailable.

What can a Horticulture Industry Labour Agreement be used for?

The Horticulture Industry Labour Agreement can be used by Australian employers for the following:

  • Sponsor overseas workers for the Temporary Skill Shortage (TSS) (subclass 482) visa for a total of 31 approved occupations.
  • Sponsor overseas workers for permanent residency under the:
    • Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional (SESR) (subclass 494) visa program with a permanent pathway to a Permanent Residence (Skilled Regional) visa (subclass 191) available after three years; or
    • Employer Nomination Scheme (ENS) (subclass 186) visa program after a three or four year transitional period on a TSS visa—three years for approved Skill Level 1-3 occupations and four years for approved Skill Level 4-5 occupations.
  • Access the following concessions to standard skilled visa requirements:
    • Discount of up to 10% on the Temporary Skill Migration Income Threshold (TSMIT) where it is demonstrated that equivalent Australian workers do not receive annual earnings of $53,900.
    • A broader range of monetary payments (e.g. regularised overtime) and non-monetary benefits (e.g. accommodation) can be counted as guaranteed earnings.
    • For the TSS visa—overseas workers must score at least IELTS 5.0 overall, and at least IELTS 4.0 in each individual component score. For the ENS and SESR visas—overseas workers must score at least IELTS 5.0 overall, and at least IELTS 4.5 in each individual component score.
    • Overseas workers can be up to 50 years of age when they apply for an ENS or SESR visa.

A full summary of approved occupations, terms and available concessions are available below.

How do I apply for a Labour Agreement?

Horticultural industry employers can to submit an application to the Department of Home Affairs to be approved as LA sponsor so the can nominate overseas workers for a visa . Online labour agreement request forms are available in ImmiAccount.

Where can I get further information about labour agreements?

For further information, see Labour agreements or email labour.agreement.section@homeaffairs.gov.au.

 Horticulture Industry Labour Agreement list of occupations


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New Subclass 491 Visa - Skilled Work Regional

New Regional Skilled Visa

The 491 is a new visa that will replace the subclass 489 on 16 November 2019. The main purpose of this visa is to encourage migration to regional Australia. The other significant feature is greater degree of assessing the skills of partners (spouses) included in the application.
Some details still need to be clarified but the following information has been released by the Department of Home Affairs:
There are 14,000 places allocated to this visa subclass.

Similarly to the 489 visa, the 491 is a points-tested visa for applicants sponsored by:

  • A regional government body of an Australian state or territory, or
  • Eligible family member residing in a designated regional area of Australia
  • The designated regional areas
  • Any part of Australia excluding Sydney, Brisbane, Gold Coast, Perth, and Melbourne.

The points

There is a new substantially revised points system for this visa and all other General Skilled Migration (GSM) visas. Following are the changes:

  • 15 points for nomination by a family member or a regional part of a state or territory
  • 10 points for Masters or PhD level Australian qualification in fields of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics – (STEM).

10 partner points, if one of the following apply:

  • You have a skilled partner. This means that your partner is under 45 years of age, obtains a positive skill assessment in a job on the same shortage list as you and has Competent English; or
  • You are single, or
  • You have a partner who is an Australian permanent resident or an Australian citizen

5 points if your partner can demonstrate Competent English. The partner can be over 45 years of age and does not need to work in a skilled occupation

The other elements of the existing points system will still apply based like your age, qualification, years of overseas and/or Australian skilled work experience, Australian study and English skills, as they do for other skilled visas.

Ranking system for sc491 visa invitations:

  1. Equal first: Applicant with a skilled partner OR applicants without a partner
  2. Second: Applicant with a partner who can demonstrate Competent English (but does not have the skills for skilled partner points)
  3. Third: Applicant with a partner who is ineligible for either competent English or Skilled partner points.

The Proces 

State nominated visa

- your occupation must be on the relevant state's list

- you must meet the state specific requirements (as well as the general visa criterie) 

See more info for the state requirements:



Western Australia

South Australia



Northern Teritory

Australian Capital Teritory

- you make Expression of Interest application to the Deparment of Home Affairs and you also apply to the state government for the nomination. In some cases you have to wait for the invitation from the state to apply for the nomination

- upon the nomination approval is issued by the state you will receive the inviatation to lodge your visa application

Family sponsored visa by an eligible relative

you make Expression of Interest application to the Deparment of Home Affairs. You should check the results of recent invitation rounds to assertain the waiting time for the invitation against your points score. You might need much more points then 65 to get invited.

- you wait for the invitation to lodge your visa application 



Yes, this visa entitles to Medicare

Specific condition relating to applying for other visas. 

491 visa holders cannot lodge certain visas until they have held the sc491 visa, and complying with conditions, for three years. This includes skilled PR visas, business visas, employer nominated PR visa and the onshore partner visa subclass 820.

Pathway to permanent residency

The 491 is a five-year visa offering a pathway to permanent residency through the Subclass 191 Permanent Residence Skilled Regional visa when the following conditions are met

The sc491 holder has lived, worked or studied in the designated regional area for at least three years, whilst holding sc491 visa, and
He or she needs to show earnings of at least $53,900 annually for three years. This can be demonstrated either by primary or secondary visa holder (partner) so either can be the main applicant for Subclass 191.

This visa offers an opportunity to migrate for many people who have not been able to qualify for any permanent residency pathway available so far. To see if you qualify please book a consultation.

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About Us

Established in 2003 Australia Bound Migration is a well respected, boutique migration practice. All cases are handled by the principal Andrzej Kurowski. He has been active for over 13 years’ as a MARA registered agent specialising in skilled, business and family visas. He also handles Labour Agreement submissions and the AAT appeals against refusals and cancellations. Our clients are migrants, foreign students and employers wishing to recruit and sponsor overseas workers.

Australian visa system offers opportunities to enter Australia permanently or temporarily to study, work, to conduct business activities or for self-funded retirement and for many other reasons. Australian employers can employ overseas workers using various visa sponsorship schemes. The system is complex and subject to regular change as the visa regulations are often reviewed and changed. One is well advised to use professional help to navigate through the maze of the requirements and also to stay abreast of the regulatory changes. We can offer reliable advice resulting from the immigration knowledge gained through many years of extensive experience. If you are looking for a personal and professional service you are at the right place. Please see the services page to choose an option that suits you.