The Federal Government partners with South West to sign a Designated Area Migration Agreement

Shire of Dardanup president Mick Bennett with Federal member for Forrest Nola Marino. Photo is supplied.
Shire of Dardanup president Mick Bennett with Federal member for Forrest Nola Marino. Photo is supplied.

After three years of lobbying, Federal Forrest MP Nola Marino has been able to get the South West included in the Designated Area Migration Agreement.

The agreement allows employers to bring in skilled workers under the labour agreement stream of the Temporary Skill Shortage Visa that may provide a pathway to permanent residency, benefiting the South West region long-term in both business and community.

In 2019, the Mail reported how a well renowned restaurant was forced to say goodbye to its chef because he could not be part of the migration agreement.

Wills Domain managing director Darren Haunold said at the time that there were no qualified Australians that applied for the job.

Mr Hanoud estimated that after chef Schiabel's appeal Wills Domain would have potentially wasted $15,000 on failed attempts to sponsor international workers in 12 months with no hope of recovering the costs.

"The employer invests nearly $3,500 for the approval process," he said.

Ms Marino said the agreement would help a range of key industries within the South West.

"Our first priority is always to fill jobs with Australians, but the immigration system can play an important role in helping to address regional skills gaps," she said.

"This agreement provides a limited capacity to access more overseas workers than the standard skilled migration program, allowing concessions or variations specific to the South West labour market."

Ms Marino said finalising the agreement took a long time because they had to prove there was "persistent skilled gaps" over a long time.

As part of the agreement, a government agency needed to become the Designated Area Representative to manage the process in the region.

Shire of Dardanup put its hand up and will now be the administrators of the agreement for businesses operating in any of the 12 local governments including City of Busselton, Bunbury, Shire of Capel, Collie, Augusta Margaret River, Boyup Brook, Bridgetown, Donnybrook, Harvey, Nannup and Manjimup.

Dardanup shire president Mick Bennett said the DAMA would offer a powerful solution to ongoing skill shortages and job vacancies in the South West region.

"This is great news for our local economy and will no doubt provide a great deal of flow on benefits to the community," he said.

Ms Marino said the hard work businesses put in to help get the agreement finalised was amazing.

"I want to thank and acknowledge all the local businesses that have been making the case to me year on year, seeking my help because they just can't fill critical labour shortages," she said.

Local business can apply individually to access the agreement from January 4, 2022.

Ms Marino said the agreement would not put a strain on the local accommodation demand as it only allows for 200 people per year to be brought in.

She said most employers would be working hard with their prospective employee on getting them into the country and part of that would be making sure there was suitable accommodation.

For more information visit immi.homeaffairs.gov.au/visas/working-in australia/regional-migration/dama