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Far North Queensland DAMA

See all articlesThe Far North Queensland DAMA is one of 12 Designated Area Migration Agreements that can be accessed by eligible employers operating within the Far North Queensland (FNQ) region.
Work & Skilled
Associate - Australian Migration Lawyer
June 5, 2024
minute read

Everything you need to know

The Far North Queensland DAMA is one of 12 Designated Area Migration Agreements that can be accessed by eligible employers operating within the Far North Queensland (FNQ) region.

The key benefits of the DAMA relate to the concessions to the standard employer sponsored visa program, specifically the 482 visa, 186 visa and 494 visa. These concessions include the addition of occupations that are not already available, as well as concessions to the salary, age, skill and English requirements for the visas.

How to apply for the FNQ DAMA

As with all DAMA’s, employers will first need to contact the Designated Area Representative (DAR) in order to gain access to the template agreement. The DAR for the FNQ DAMA is the Cairns Chamber of Commerce.

Stage 1 - DAR endorsement

Each DAR will have its own process for applying for endorsement. For FNQ, employers will need to complete an application form and supply a variety of supporting documents, including details for the positions and proposed salaries, conducting labour market testing to ensure that they cannot source suitable Australian workers, and supporting any concessions to the visa requirements that are being sought.

Stage 2 - Labour Agreement request with the Department of Home Affairs

Once an employer has received the DAR endorsement, they can apply for a labour agreement with the Department of home affairs. This is done online, through an Immi account.

You will be required to attach similar documents as those used for the DAR endorsement, including evidence about the position, the business, and evidence of labour market testing.

Stage 3 - Visa nominations and applications

Once the labour agreement has been approved, employers can lodge nominations and visa applications as per the standard process for those visas. Employers seeking to apply for 482 or 494 visas will need to ensure that they have conducted labour market testing in accordance with the terms of the agreement.


Book consultation

If you are interested in getting more information, get in touch with Australian Migration Lawyers for a consultation.


The Far North Queensland Region

This DAMA encompasses employers operating within the Cairns Regional Council, Shire of Douglas, Shire of Mareeba, Tablelands Regional Council, Cassowary Coast Regional Council, Cook Shire Council, Croydon Shire Council, Etheridge Shire Council, Torres Shire Council, and Northern Peninsula Area Regional Council local government areas (LGAs), and the Weipa Town Authority area, or in the postcode areas of 4852, 4854-4861, 4865, 4868-4876, 4878-4888, and 4895.

Occupations and concessions available under the DAMA

The occupations available under the FNQ DAMA, as well as details of any relevant concessions, can be found here. The occupations and concessions list outline all relevant occupations, many of which are not available under the standard visa program, and indicate which concessions (if any) would apply. 

This DAMA will be of particular interest to employers in the Far North Queensland region who employ workers in occupations on the list and who would benefit from concessions to the visa criteria.

FNQ DAMA costs and timeline

DAR Endorsement

The relevant fees for the DAR endorsement (per position sought) are $885 for Cairns Chamber of Commerce members, or $985 for non-members.

The DAR aims to finalise all endorsement requests within 5 days, however the timeline for the endorsement will depend on the quality of the application, as incomplete or unclear applications may require further clarification.

Labour agreement request

There are no fees associated with lodging a labour agreement request with the Department of home affairs. Once lodged, DAMA labour agreements can take between 1 to 6 months to process, which is much quicker than other labour agreements such as company specific. 

Once approved, the labour agreement will be valid for a period of five years, and will allow the employer to lodge nominations in accordance with the terms of the agreement.

Visa applications

There are a few fees associated with lodging nominations and visa applications under the labour agreement. More information can be found at our pages for the 494 visa, 482 visa and 186 visa.

How we can help

At Australian Migration Lawyers, we can help with all stages of the DAMA process, from an assessment of your business and the benefits that the DAMA might bring, to the DAR endorsement, labour agreement request and visa and nomination applications.


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