In a significant move aimed at bolstering economic growth and addressing skill shortages, the Northern Territory (NT) Designated Area Migration Agreement (DAMA) II has been extended for an additional year, now set to remain in effect until December 13, 2024. The extension brings with it notable changes, with a focus on expanding the list of eligible occupations, lowering income thresholds, and streamlining pathways to permanent residency.
Expanded Occupations List:
- One of the most prominent changes is the addition of 11 new occupations to the DAMA II list. This expansion brings the total number of eligible occupations to 135, providing NT employers with a broader pool of skilled workers to choose from. The inclusion of these new professions reflects the evolving needs of the region and aims to address specific shortages more effectively.
Reduced Temporary Skilled Migration Income Threshold (TSMIT):
- To enhance accessibility for employers, a reduced TSMIT of $55,000 has been implemented for selected occupations under DAMA II. This adjustment acknowledges the unique economic conditions of the Northern Territory and enables businesses to bring in skilled workers at a more competitive income threshold, facilitating the recruitment of essential talent to the region.
Simplified Pathway to Permanent Residency:
- Another key modification focuses on creating a more straightforward and streamlined pathway to permanent residency for overseas workers. Individuals employed in eligible occupations within the NT can now be nominated for the permanent subclass 186 visa after dedicating a minimum of two years of full-time work. This initiative encourages skilled workers to commit to the region for an extended period, fostering a sense of stability and contributing to the long-term growth of the Northern Territory.
Benefits and Implications:
Boost to Economic Growth:
- The extended DAMA II, coupled with the introduced modifications, is expected to stimulate economic growth in the Northern Territory. By attracting skilled workers across a diverse range of occupations, businesses can thrive, contributing to the overall prosperity of the region.
Addressing Skill Shortages:
- The expansion of the occupations list and the lowered TSMIT directly address skill shortages in the Northern Territory. This, in turn, supports businesses in finding the talent they need to fill crucial roles, fostering innovation and competitiveness.
Improved Immigration Pathways:
- The simplified pathway to permanent residency enhances the attractiveness of the Northern Territory for skilled workers seeking long-term opportunities. This, in conjunction with the reduced TSMIT, makes the region more appealing for both employers and prospective migrants.
The extension of the Northern Territory DAMA II, along with the key modifications, reflects a commitment to creating a dynamic and responsive migration program that aligns with the evolving needs of the region. By expanding the list of eligible occupations, lowering income thresholds, and streamlining pathways to permanent residency, the Northern Territory aims to position itself as an attractive destination for skilled professionals, fostering economic growth and addressing critical skill shortages. As the program continues to evolve, it is poised to play a crucial role in shaping the future of the Northern Territory’s workforce and economy.