Visa update: Occupation list updated for Far North Queensland Designated Area Migration Agreement

Key changes are underway to ensure the Far North Queensland Designated Area (DAMA) Migration Agreement remains fit for purpose as the regional labor market has evolved throughout the pandemic, announced the Australian government.

Changes to Far North Queensland’s RFSA include updating the range of occupations in which companies can find workers.

Minister of Immigration, Citizenship, Migrant Services and Multicultural Affairs Alex Hawke said the changes come at a critical time as the region sees an increase in the number of foreign visitors being vaccinated.

“The positive economic impact on a number of sectors, such as tourism and hospitality, has been strongly felt in Far North Queensland,” Minister Hawke said.

“As international travelers return to Australia in greater numbers, Far North Queensland will be well prepared and ready to share its world-class hospitality and services,” he said.

Leichhardt’s MP, Hon Warren Entsch MP, said the FNQ DAMA will continue to support a range of industries to help drive the region’s post-COVID recovery.

“This initiative has already helped fill the job gap in many sectors,” said Entsch.

“The FNQ DAMA recognizes that local businesses need people to help grow our local economy,” he said.

“One of the best things about the FNQ DAMA is that it has proven to be extremely nimble, adaptable and effective in addressing labor shortages in our region,” Mr. Entsch said.

These RFSA variations allow companies to expand their network to employ suitable foreign workers, while ensuring that these workers are ready to work for the job they seek to perform when they arrive in the region.

On April 4, 2019, the Australian Government entered into a RFSA with the Cairns Chamber of Commerce (the designated area representative). The Chamber of Commerce administers Far North Queensland’s RFSA access process, which is open to businesses operating in any of the nine local government areas covered by the agreement – Cairns Regional, Douglas Shire, Mareeba Shire , Tablelands Regional, Cassowary Coast Regional, Cook Shire, Torres Shire and the regional council areas of the Northern Peninsula region, as well as the municipal authority of Weipa.

Patricia O’Neill, CEO of the Cairns Chamber of Commerce, said variations in DAMA professions across Far North Queensland are driven by industry feedback.

“A labor market analysis undertaken in January 2022 showed where current skills shortages affect our regional businesses,” she said.

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Michael A. Bynum