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Townsville DAMA

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Work & Skilled
Associate - Australian Migration Lawyer
June 5, 2024
minute read

The Townsville North Queensland (TNQ) DAMA is one of 12 Designated Area Migration Agreements, which are effectively template labour agreements that can be accessed by eligible employers operating within the specified regional areas. 

The main benefit of the DAMA, like any other DAMA or labour agreement, is that the agreement allows for concessions to the standard employer sponsored visa program, which may mean that employers who have been unable to fill ongoing worker shortages and who would generally not be able to use the standard skilled visa program may be able to access a labour agreement to utilise skilled foreign workers.

The main concessions include the addition of occupations that are not generally available, as well as concessions to the salary, age, skills or English requirements of the 482, 494 and 186 visas.

Designated Area Migration Agreements are generally negotiated between the Australian Government and local authorities, such as chambers of commerce or councils, on behalf of employers in their regions. The authorities responsible for negotiating the agreement will often become the Designated Area Representative (DAR) for the DAMA, who is responsible for assessing employers for their eligibility to apply for a DAMA and decides whether or not to endorse their application to the Department of Home Affairs.

Any concessions under a DAMA would have been pre-negotiated by the DAR, meaning that employers are unable to modify the terms of the agreement. As such, it is important to consider the concessions available under the DAMA and whether they are suitable for what you are trying to achieve.

How to apply for the Townsville North Queensland 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 TNQ DAMA is Townsville Enterprise.

Stage 1 - DAR Endorsement

Each DAR will have its own process for applying for endorsement. For TNQ, 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.


Eligible regional areas

The TNQ DAMA covers employers In the Burdekin Shire, City of Townsville, Shire of Hinchinbrook, Charters Towers Region, Shire of Flinders, Shire of Richmond, Shire of McKinlay, Shire of Cloncurry and the City of Mt Isa.

Eligible regional areas

TNQ DAMA occupations and concessions

A full list of the occupations available under the TNQ DAMA, including any concessions to the visa requirements that apply, can be found here.

The concessions to the visa requirements can be summarised as follows:


The age limit for the 186 visa is increased to 50 or 55 instead of 45.

Qualifications, skills and experience

The concessions to the skills, work experience and qualification requirements will vary depending on the skill level of the occupation. Some occupations will require a skills assessment from the relevant assessing authority, and may require a reduced amount of work experience. 

An outline of the relevant concessions can be found here, from page 15.

Permanent residence

Visas with a PR pathway through the 186 visa are outlined in the occupation table.


Occupations with an English language concession will have the IELTS requirements reduced to an overall score of 5.0 with no minimum for each component (TSS or SESR), and 5.0 with a minimum of 4.0 per component for the permanent 186 ENS visa.


There are no salary concessions available under this DAMA.

TNQ DAMA costs and timeline

DAR Endorsement

The relevant fees for the DAR endorsement (per position sought) will depend on the size of the business. The fees can be summarised as follows:




[th]Business size [/th]

[th]Member rate per position (inc GST)[/th]

[th]Non-member rate per position (inc GST)[/th]





[td]1 - 50 staff [/td]

[td]$880 [/td]

[td]$1,100 [/td]



[td]51 - 100 staff [/td]

[td]$1,240 [/td]

[td]$1,550 [/td]




[td]101 - 200 staff [/td]

[td]$1,450 [/td]

[td]$1,812 [/td]




[td]201 - 500 staff [/td]

[td]$1,640 [/td]

[td]$2,050 [/td]




[td]Over 500 staff [/td]

[td]$1,800 [/td]

[td]$2,250 [/td]




The DAR aims to finalise all endorsement requests within 20 business 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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