The flow of skilled migrants to the Northern Territory will continue, with the signing of a new five-year bilateral agreement to help employers fill skills shortages.

The Federal Government and Northern Territory Government will this week sign a new five-year Designated Area Migration Agreement (DAMA), ahead of the expiration of the first, groundbreaking DAMA between the two jurisdictions on December 31.

The current DAMA between the Federal and NT Governments was the first in Australia where a broader range of shortage occupations was available than those identified in standard skilled migration programs.

DAMA II will offer the further incentive of a pathway to permanent residency for DAMA visa holders, in a bid to attract more skilled migrants to the Territory and help boost its population.

Minister for Immigration, Citizenship and Multicultural Affairs David Coleman said the Federal Government was committed to supporting the skills needs of regional Australia where Australian workers are not available to fill those jobs.

“The NT has seen first-hand the benefits of using a Designated Area Migration Agreement to respond to their unique workforce shortages,” Mr. Coleman said.
“I am pleased that we can continue to partner with the NT Government in a DAMA arrangement and help areas in the Territory grow and flourish.”

NT Minister for Workforce Training, Selena Uibo, said the first DAMA had helped a number of Territory businesses recruit to positions they were unable to fill with local workers, in areas such as childcare, tourism, and hospitality, and DAMA II will continue to help businesses meet these growing demands.

“The Territory Labor Government’s number one priority is creating local jobs,” Ms. Uibo said.
“Training and skilling Territorians is one of our top priorities but there is a need for additional workers to supplement the workforce.

“Access to, and retention of, a suitably skilled workforce is a key issue for many employers and our government recognises the need to support recruitment for local businesses.

“Employers struggling to fill any of the 117 skilled and semi-skilled occupations identified as being in shortage will need to demonstrate they are unable to employ a suitably skilled and experienced Australian to fill a position, before applying to sponsor an overseas worker.”

Ms. Uibo said the new agreement would complement the Territory Labor Government’s recently released population strategy, a comprehensive plan to attract people to live and work in the NT.
“Every Territorian benefits when we attract more people to the Territory,” she said.
“More people means more jobs and a stronger economy, which means better schools, better hospitals, and more police.”
CLP Senator for the NT, Nigel Scullion said this migration agreement was another example of the Federal Coalition Government delivering for Territorians.

“The Territory desperately needs more workers across a range of occupations and the DAMA will assist Territory businesses who are struggling to find appropriately skilled workers domestically,” he said.
Historically, migration of overseas nationals to the NT has been a key contributor to economic growth, population growth, and social diversity.

The Federal Government is currently in discussions with a range of other regions around the country experiencing skill shortages, including the Pilbara and the Kalgoorlie-Boulder regions in WA, Cairns in Far North Queensland, and the Orana region in central NSW. Warrnambool on Victoria’s south-west coast is expected to have a DAMA in place before the end of the year.

Media Contacts: Mr. Coleman Whitney Harris 0466 462 511
Ms. Uibo Kim Stephens 0417 683 144
Mr. Scullion Brett Chant 0477 744 614

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