There’s a rumour floating around at the moment that the Australian Government is considering reducing the requirements to make it easier for semi–skilled workers to obtain work visas to regional parts of Australia.
The DAMAs would invite immigrants with farming and hospitality skills to Australia on a regional work visa.
The number of regional visas that have been granted recently has been reported as the lowest in the last decade. At the moment, the regional work visas are provisional, and although they are said to provide a pathway for permanent residency in Australia, most PR statuses have been reserved for the highly skilled occupations required by Australian businesses.
In the last two years alone, the Australian Government has reduced/ closed off options for Permanent Residency for several occupations in the skilled migration program.
The big question is – if the DAMAs are approved, what will it mean for prospective migrants?
Who would be eligible for this visa?
The proposed DAMAs would be available for prospective migrants whose English language abilities and skillsets are not as strong as what is typically demanded of Skilled Workers.
The current working visa programs require applicants to have a strong command of the English language and possess in-demand skills with sufficient, quality work experience to be considered for a visa to Australia.
Additionally, employers must also be willing to offer highly skilled workers salaries of a certain amount and above.
This means that workers with lower skills, lower salaries and a weaker command of English are currently unable to apply or be considered for a work visa to Australia.
If the proposed visas were introduced, they would represent a dramatic reduction in the requirements for regional work visas compared with current options; meaning prospects could open up for migrants with lower levels of English, who are semi-skilled/low skilled and can be offered a salary that is lower than what is currently required.
Not only would these newly proposed visas open the doors for lower-skilled workers to come to Australia for work, but also allow them to live here permanently.
What would be the requirements for the DAMAs?
If the DAMAs get the approval to proceed, the applicant would need to be semi-skilled, have basic levels of English, and be willing to live in regional Australia.
However, there is one requirement that is still unclear.
If granted a DAMA, the successful applicant would need to live in regional Australia for somewhere between 3 and 5 years before being granted permanent residency.
This requirement has not been finalised yet, and still pending confirmation from the Australian Government.
What could this opportunity offer migrants?
The DAMAs could open up doors for semi-skilled migrants such as hairdressers, bakers, baristas, wait staff, and bartenders – occupations that are not on the skilled occupations lists for the current work visas.
The reduced wage requirements would mean that migrants with skills in these fields would be more appealing for businesses in regional parts of Australia to sponsor.
The Northern Territory already offers something similar to the DAMAs, but without the pathway to permanent residency. If the DAMAs were given the green light, this could open up more significant opportunities for migrants to settle permanently in Australia, build new lives and put down roots in the community.
How would this opportunity benefit Australia?
For Australia, the proposed DAMAs could attract more workers to the outer rural parts of Australia that frequently get overlooked in favour of the metropolitan cities like Melbourne and Sydney.
Areas such as the Northern Territory and the rural South-West Victoria struggle to attract and retain employees due to their remote locations and harsher climates.
The Government in the Northern Territory said that if the DAMAs were given the go-ahead, then they would be able to expand their list to include 117 occupations, have more salary concessions and offer permanent residency.
The DAMAs would mutually benefit the Northern Territory and migrants alike. If there were more people in the Northern Territory, it would lead to an increase in jobs, and therefore boost the economy.
This could then trickle down and open up more possibilities for improved schools, better hospitals and a bigger police force.
At the moment, only the Northern Territory and the south-western areas of Victoria (such as Warrnambool) will see a reduction in the criteria for skills, language levels, and income for prospective DAMA applicants.
In the Northern Territory, the DAMAS would be ideal for semi-skilled workers in the hospitality and tourism industries such as hairdressers, bakers, baristas, wait staff, and bartenders.
On the other side, in the town of Warrnambool, the DAMAs would open up doors for workers needed in the meat-processing, dairy and agricultural areas.
When do we find out if these news visas will be available?
At the moment, the DAMAs are still rumours, and the Department of Home Affairs hasn’t confirmed or signed anything yet.
We will have to wait and see what the New Year will bring.
If you are looking to live and work in Australia, please speak to one of our migration consultants in a consultation. Our consultants have over 12 years of experience in the migration industry and will be able to answer any questions you may have about migrating to Australia. They will also advise on the best path for you based on your skills and circumstances.