Skilled work visa

Queensland Regional Skilled Work Visa Options 2022

Skilled Work Visa Australia

Australia has one of the world’s best climates that gives you ample opportunity to spend as much time as possible in the outdoors. It is impossible to live in Australia and wonder where you could go on your vacation. She has it all, from The Great Barrier Reef, Giant Pink Lake, Twelve Apostles, Uluru, Daintree Rainforest, Frazer Island, Cape Otway, Blue Mountains, Dandenong Ranges, Flinders Ranges, Kakadu National Park, Great Ocean Road, Majestic Outback to the unblemished beauty of the Northern Territory.

Designated Regional Areas Australia

There are many beautiful places and choices throughout Australia to live and work as the holder of a regional skilled work visa. One of the most popular choices, due primarily to the close proximity to coastal areas and beaches is the state of Queensland.

Queensland is a varied and versatile region that is home to numerous coastal areas alongside more traditional rural regions. As such, it has become a very popular option especially for those that are seeking to work within the area alongside its far northern region, in particular the city of Cairns.

To begin with, it is important to understand just what is meant by a Designated Regional Area. A designated regional area is a mandated area that allows for work under subclasses of regional skilled work visa. These are areas that are found to be outside of the main cities. However, there are some exceptions to this and in-fact some cities do even have unique options available to them based on some key factors. These factors include priority processing of regional skilled work visas, and also allowing for an additional year in Australia for international graduates that study or graduate from a regional university or tertiary study campus.

The Cities and Regional centres that offer these options are Perth, Adelaide, the Gold Coast, the Sunshine Coast, Canberra, Newcastle/Lake Macquarie, Wollongong/Illawarra, Geelong and Hobart. These are important distinctions as they are often found to be in opposition to what is originally believed to be a regional area, due to preconceived notions that are often had about the work that is often being carried out in these areas.

However, because of the way that regional areas are defined by postal codes it is very important to check in with these first to see if you can work in the allocated area as somewhere regional. The various postcodes that are available for these regional visas can be found on the official Department of Home Affair’s official website, and are explained in more detail here.

They are divided into separate categories: the category 2 areas, which are the aforementioned city areas that were discussed in the earlier parts of the paragraph and the category 3 areas, which include Regional Centres and Other Regional Areas.

The various subclasses of temporary skilled work visa that are available for these regions include options such as:

  • Skilled Work Regional (Provisional) subclass 491 visa
  • Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional (Provisional) subclass 494 visa and
  • Temporary Skill Shortage Subclass 482 TSS visa.

However, when one goes further up north into Cairns and surrounding areas, another option becomes available. This is because of the fact that Far North Queensland is in-fact under the directory of a Designated Area Migration Agreement (also known as a DAMA).

Far North Queensland Designated Area Migration Agreement (FNQ DAMA)

A Designated Area Migration Agreement (DAMA) is an agreement between the Australian government and a regional, state or territory authority in regard to supplying a unique set of concessions and skilled and semi-skilled occupations depending on a region’s economic needs. In Cairns, there is the Far North Queensland Designated Area Migration Agreement in effect that can assist in allowing for nominated occupations to be selected for the benefit of those that are looking for working visa options.

This agreement brings with it a variety of different regional skilled work visa options. Firstly, the DAMA itself allows for individuals to work within the following postal codes: 4852, 4854-4856, 4858-4861, 4865, 4868-4876, 4877-4883, 4885-4886 and 4895. This means that there are opportunities available within areas such as Cairns, Douglas, Mareeba, Tablelands and Cook to name only a few.

Additionally, the visa options that are available within these areas under this DAMA are: Temporary Skill Shortage subclass 482, Skilled Employer-Sponsored Regional (Provisional) Subclass 494 and the Employer Nomination Scheme Subclass 186.  

Far North Queensland Designated Area Migration Agreement – Occupations and Concessions

The occupations that are offered for those that are seeking to make use of the FNQ DAMA can be found on the Cairns Chamber of Commerce website, presenting options that range from Aviation Maintenance Engineers (Avionics) and accountants all the way to Accomodation and Hospitality Managers. One other important factor involved in the FNQ DAMA is that it does have additional concessions involved for some of the occupations.

For example, some of the occupations have a higher age concession then might be originally offered, with most of them offering an age concession for those that are under 55. A few of these options, however, only offer an option for those that are under the age of 50 instead. In addition to the concessions that are based on age, there are also additional concessions that exist for those that are of a specific level of English, which can allow for greater ease in meeting DAMA requirements for these particular occupations.

Finally, there also exists additional concessions that can be granted for the Temporary Skilled Migration Income Threshold (TSMIT). This is only for lower skilled occupants and only for specific occupations on the listing. These are still reflective of Far North Queensland market salary rates, and are there to ensure that workers terms and conditions of employment are not eroded.

These occupations can be found in more detail on the Cairns Chamber of Commerce website. The list outlines all of the chosen professions that are covered by the Far North Queensland Designated Area Migration Agreement (DAMA) and also the occupations that have particular concessions attached to them, with the primary concession that is being offered being that of the age concession which is available for all of the occupations on the occupation list.  

Townsville Designated Area Migration Agreement (TNQ DAMA)

Another great regional migration option is the Townsville Designated Area Migration Agreement (TNQ DAMA) covering Townsville, Burdekin, Charters Towers, Hinchinbrook, and the Northwest corridor to Mount Isa. This agreement includes almost 200 occupations, with age, language and experience concessions available on many of these occupations. 

To prepare and lodge your temporary or permanent Australian visa application for migration to Australia, please contact the registered migration specialists at Visa Lounge Australia today by sending us your enquiry HERE. 

Published by Maddie Phillips

Australian Immigration Law Specialist with over 12 years experience, I provide high touch immigration solutions for businesses and individuals, all aspects of Australian immigration law. OMARA Licenced, Member Migration Institute of Australia and Australian Human Resources Institute.

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