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18 January 2024

We are excited to announce that the Hon. Andrew Giles MP has approved the Request for Variation to the Pilbara DAMA, including the expansion to the Shire of East Pilbara, and an additional 69 occupations.

Effective immediately, businesses in the Shire of East Pilbara now have a mechanism to address current workforce shortages and to support future workforce planning.  

The additional occupations approved in January 2024, include ANZSCO occupations in the following fields:

  • Community and Personal Service Workers

  • Agriculture/Pastoral/Horticulture

  • Child Care

  • Health Professionals

  • Technicians and Trades Workers

  • Clerical and Administrative Workers

  • Machinery Operators and Drivers

  • Labourers


Read the Media Release.


The following FAQs relate to the Pilbara DAMA

What occupations are included in the Pilbara DAMA?

The Pilbara DAMA includes 135 occupations across multiple industries. The DAMA seeks to address skills shortages across a broad range of industries that are significant to employers in the Pilbara region. The approved list of skilled workers includes jobs such as childcare workers, hospitality supervisors and aged or disabled carers to help fill shortages in these industries. 

What does the DAMA application process involve?

The DAMA application process is rigorous, to ensure any regional jobs are available to Australians as a first priority. Employers need to demonstrate that the job cannot be filled by an Australian and that the conditions being offered to the migrant nominee are at least those expected by an equivalent Australian employee. It also requires the skilled migrant to undertake a skills assessment for selected occupations, demonstrating their competence and qualifications, as well as an English language test.

Is my business eligible to sponsor an overseas worker through the Pilbara DAMA?

Businesses can access the Pilbara DAMA if they are actively operating in the City of Karratha, Town of Port Hedland or Shire of East Pilbara and meet the following criteria:

  • Are financially viable and have been operating for at least 12 months

  • Have no history of not meeting its obligations to employees (adverse information)

  • Are looking to employ overseas workers to fill full-time positions with duties that align with one of the occupations on the Pilbara DAMA list (current employees on other visas may be eligible to apply)

  • Can demonstrate they cannot fill the position locally with Australian citizens or permanent residents

  • Can provide terms and conditions of employment to overseas workers that are in accordance with those offered to equivalent Australian workers employed in the region.

Note: The Pilbara DAMA is an employer-sponsored visa program and individual workers cannot apply for a visa independently.

Do workers who migrate through the DAMA have to reside in the Pilbara region?

Yes. All workers employed in Australia under the Pilbara DAMA are required to live and work in the City of Karratha, Town of Port Hedland or Shire of East Pilbara.  FIFO/DIDO is not permitted under the DAMA.

What are the costs associated with a DAMA application?

All Pilbara DAMA endorsement applications will incur an up-front processing fee (non-refundable) of $350 plus GST per position. Other fees and charges associated with accessing the Pilbara DAMA include:

·       nomination application – Department of Home Affairs

·       worker visa application – Department of Home Affairs

·       Skilling Australians Fund levy – Australian Government.

For information on the fees and charges for visas go to the Department of Home Affairs website.

As a business, do I have to use a migration agent?

No, a migration agent is not required to submit an application for endorsement with RDA Pilbara.  It is a commercial decision for the business to consider, and a migration agent will charge for their services.  If you choose to use a migration agent, please ensure that they are registered.

As a skilled worker, can I apply to migrate to the Pilbara region under the DAMA? 

No. The Pilbara DAMA is an employer-sponsored visa program and individual workers cannot apply for a visa independently. If you are interested in living and working in the City of Karratha, Town of Port Hedland, or Shire of East Pilbara, we encourage you to apply for suitable job vacancies. Most jobs are advertised through online employment websites. If your job application is successful a regional employer may be prepared to sponsor you for a skilled migration visa.

What happens if I sponsor a skilled worker and it doesn't work out? 

It is recommended that you do your research on the worker prior to recruiting them.  You need to find the worker, do your due diligence and be confident that the person can do the job and is a good fit for your business.

Are the employers involved in the recruitment of the migrant? How does the recruitment process work?

Yes. The employer needs to research and advertise.  Find out what other businesses have done before and speak to them to find out what worked well for them.  RDA Pilbara does not assist with finding employees or immigration.

What is the approximate visa processing time frame?

As the visa application is through the Department of Home Affairs, the approximate timeframe is 3 - 6 months, however, processing of an application under a DAMA is a priority.  Check the DoHA website for global processing times.

What happens if I have advertised twice and received suitably qualified applicants, however, after interview it was determined that they were not suitable?

If you have advertised as per the requirement i.e. two advertisements in the past 12 months - one with a national reach, and one local, and you interviewed 3 people and they are all unsuitable, you have still shown that you have met the advertisement requirements.

Can additional occupations be added to the Pilbara DAMA?

Yes. As the Pilbara DAMA agreement is for 5 years, an annual review is completed and if there are occupations that have been identified as having an unmet need, they will be requested to be added by a deed of variation.

Can a person be working towards a qualification whilst sponsored under the DAMA?

Yes and No.  The person cannot be working towards a qualification for the role they have applied for, however, could be studying at night school, for example, for another qualification.

Can the skilled worker I nominate work as a FIFO worker?

No.  As a condition of the Pilbara DAMA, the worker who is sponsored under the DAMA must live and work in the City of Karratha, Town of Port Hedland or Shire of East Pilbara.

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Proudly supported by the City of Karratha, Town of Port Hedland and Shire of East Pilbara

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