Monday, 21 March 2022
Media release

Joint media release with the Hon. Paul Kirby MLA - Supporting our regional economies

​The Australian Government is supporting Northern Territory businesses to fill critical skill shortages by making important changes to the Northern Territory Designated Area Migration Agreement (NT DAMA) and providing more dedicated migration places for the NT.

Minister for Immigration, Citizenship, Migrant Services and Multicultural Affairs Alex Hawke said the variation signed today will enable business owners access to skilled workers to help support their economic recovery from the pandemic.

"Training and skilling Australians has always been a top priority, but there is a need for additional migrant workers to supplement the workforce, particularly in regional Australia," Minister Hawke said.

The updates to the NT DAMA increase the number of eligible occupations and provide additional concessions to standard visa eligibility.

Permanent residency pathways remain available for skilled and semi-skilled overseas workers in a wide range of occupations, providing greater certainty for sponsoring businesses as well as longer-term economic benefits to the NT. 

"DAMAs are part of a suite of initiatives that allow regional Australia to recruit skilled workers where Australian workers are not available, facilitating the growth of regional businesses and the economy.

"These changes reflect the collaborative efforts between the Australian and Northern Territory Governments.

"The NT was the first region to use DAMAs to respond to their unique workforce shortages in 2015. I am pleased that our continuing partnership with the NT Government will help sustain and grow their economy."

Since the landmark NT DAMA was introduced eight more DAMAs are now in effect across Australia – further information is available here.

Northern Territory Minister for Jobs and Training, The Hon. Paul Kirby said the refreshed DAMA agreement delivers huge benefits to Territorians, local businesses and industry.

"The Northern Territory DAMA makes it possible for local businesses to gain skilled and semi-skilled workers from overseas, where they haven’t been able to fill vacancies locally," Minister Kirby said.

"Our local businesses must have the capacity to get the people that will get the job done and the NT DAMA now provides Territory employers with access to 124 skilled and semi-skilled occupations identified to be in critical skill shortage"​

"Since the implementation of the NT DAMA II in 2019, 274 applications from Territory businesses have been endorsed to fill 925 vacant positions with overseas wo​​rkers."

Increase to Territory-nominated skilled program

The Australian Government will also increase the Northern Territory’s allocation of Territory-nominated skilled migration program places for the remainder of the 2021-22 year.

A further 200 nomination places have been allocated on top of the 500 Skilled Work Regional (subclass 491) places the Territory had already been allocated in 2021-22.

This increased allocation to the Northern Territory’s Skilled Work Regional (subclass 491) program reflects the high demand from skilled workers keen to live and work in the Territory and the overwhelming success the region has experienced in attracting high-calibre skilled migrants.

It will further support the Territory’s plans to achieve sustained population growth, and will go a significant way toward alleviating skilled labour shortages in our regions.