Northern Territory Designated Area Migration Agreement (NT DAMA): Guide for Employers and Workers

The Northern Territory Designated Area Migration Agreement (NT DAMA) allows NT employers to sponsor skilled overseas workers in occupations facing a lack of qualified local talent.

It benefits both NT businesses and overseas workers in that:

  • Local businesses can take quick action to fill critical positions that are difficult to staff with local resources alone.

Read further to know more about the DAMA NT, including the list of eligible occupations in this program, employer requirements and how to apply for endorsement.


As of writing, these are the latest news regarding NT DAMA:

  • There are now a total of 135 eligible occupations in the NT DAMA Occupation List.
  • The Reduced Temporary Skilled Migration Income Threshold (TSMIT) is now at AUD 55,000 for selected occupations.
  • Overseas workers have a more streamlined pathway toward permanent residency via the 186 visa, provided they’ve worked in an eligible NT occupation for at least 2 years.

DAMA NT Overview

The Northern Territory DAMA stands as a tailored solution to address specific labour market shortages in NT by allowing local employers to sponsor overseas workers for positions that cannot be filled locally.

Businesses can sponsor overseas workers through the labour stream of the following skilled migration visas:

This is a temporary visa that allows skilled workers to stay up to 4 years. 

  • Subclass 494 – Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional (Provisional) visa or SESR visa

This temporary visa allows skilled workers to stay up to 5 years, with a pathway to permanent residency (via the 191 visa) after 3 years.

  • Subclass 186 – Permanent Employer Nomination Scheme (ENS) visa

This allows skilled workers to live and work in Australia indefinitely.

Note: Under the NT DAMA program, individual workers cannot apply for a visa independently. They must first be nominated by an NT-based employer.

Available Concessions for NT DAMA

Compared to standard skilled visa programs, DAMAs make it easier for local businesses to access overseas workers and address urgent and critical labour shortages through the concessions below.

Note: Not all occupations are eligible for concessions. Check the NT DAMA Occupation List to see specific concessions that apply.

Age Concessions

Under the NT DAMA, employers can nominate applicants over 45 but under 55 years old.

Compared to the standard ENS and SESR visas which require applicants to be under 45 years old to be eligible, this concession allows for a bigger threshold.

Additional Occupations Not in ANZSCO

The NT DAMA allows businesses to source overseas workers in critical occupations not listed in the Australia and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupation (ANZSCO). For instance:

  • waiter (supervisor)
  • aquaculture supervisor
  • cook (specialist ethnic cuisine)
  • skilled horticultural worker
  • bar attendant (supervisor)
  • high access maintenance and cleaning technician

Prospective workers will have to show that they have sufficient skills, experience and qualifications for these roles.

English Language Concessions

This concession may allow for skilled workers with English proficiency below the level typically required for general skilled migration visas.

Note that this applies only to some of the occupations in the NT DAMA occupation list. Specifics of the concession are as follows:

Occupations other than engineersOverall score of IELTS 4.5 (or equivalent)
Minimum IELTS score of 4.0 (or equivalent) in each band
Overall score of IELTS 5.0 (or equivalent)
Minimum IELTS score of 4.0 (or equivalent) in each band
Aircraft maintenance engineer (avionics and mechanical) and Ship’s engineerOverall score of IELTS 5.0 (or equivalent)
No minimum score for reading and writing
At least an IELTS score of 4.0 (or equivalent) in speaking and listening bands
Overall score of IELTS 5.0 (or equivalent)
At least an IELTS score of 4.5 (or equivalent) in each band

Temporary Skilled Migration Income Threshold (TSMIT) Concessions

If an occupation is eligible for this concession (based on the list of occupations), sponsoring employers may pay a skilled worker a reduced TSMIT of AUD 55,000 instead of the standard TSMIT (currently AUD 70,000).

The flowchart below simplifies how the concession works:

tsmit concession guide flowchart

NT DAMA Occupation List

Below is the Northern Territory DAMA occupation list, showing the eligible occupations for the program, as well as the concessions that apply to each one.

Tip: Access the last column for specific requirements for each occupation.

This occupation list is reviewed and updated annually by agreement between the NT Government and the Australian Government.

ItemANZSCO or 6 Digit CodeOccupationSkill LevelEnglish concessionTSMIT (market salary threshold) concessionAge ConcessionEmployee skills & age requirement
1551111Accounts Clerk4YesYesYesH
2231111Aeroplane Pilot1NoNoYesA
3423111Aged or Disabled Carer4NoYesYesI
4721111Agricultural and Horticultural Mobile Plant Operator4YesYesYesH
5342111Airconditioning and Refrigeration Mechanic3YesNoYesC
6323111Aircraft Maintenance Engineer – Avionics3YesNoYesC
7323112Aircraft Maintenance Engineer – Mechanical3YesNoYesC
9121111Aquaculture Farmer1YesNoYesA
1070499Aquaculture Supervisor4YesYesYesH
11841111Aquaculture Worker5YesYesNoJ
13321111Automotive Electrician3YesNoYesD
1570499Bar Attendant Supervisor4YesYesYesH
17451111Beauty Therapist3NoYesYesG
18121312Beef Cattle Farmer1YesNoYesA
20731211Bus Driver4YesYesYesH
21342311Business Machine Mechanic3YesNoYesC
22351211Butcher or Smallgoods Maker3YesYesYesC
24141111Café or Restaurant Manager2NoYesYesB
27134111Child Care Centre Manager1NoNoYesA
28421111Child Care Group Leader2NoYesYesB
29421111Child Care Worker3NoYesYesG
30411711Community Worker2NoYesYesB
31149311Conference and Event Organiser2NoYesYesB
3370499Cook (Specialist Ethnic Cuisine)3YesYesYesG
34841299Crop Farm Workers nec5YesYesNoJ
35442213Crowd Controller4NoNoYesH
36149212Customer Service Manager2NoNoYesB
37899211Deck Hand4YesYesYesH
38423211Dental Assistant4NoYesYesH
39321212Diesel Motor Mechanic3YesYesYesD
40411712Disabilities Services Officer2NoYesYesB
43451211Driving Instructor3NoNoYesC
44241111Early Childhood (Pre-Primary School) Teacher1NoNoYesA
45721211Earthmoving Plant Operator (General)4YesYesYesH
46342211Electrical Linesworker3YesNoYesC
47721214Excavator Operator4YesNoYesH
48421112Family Day Care Worker4NoYesYesI
49411713Family Support Worker2NoNoYesB
50899212Fishing Hand4YesYesYesH
51323211Fitter (General)3YesNoYesD
52323212Fitter and Turner3YesNoYesD
54332111Floor Finisher3YesYesYesC
55721311Forklift Driver4YesYesYesH
56841211Fruit or Nut Farm Worker5YesYesNoJ
57431311Gaming Worker4YesYesYesH
58531111General Clerk4YesYesYesH
6070499High Access Maintenance and Cleaning Technician4YesYesYesH
61141311Hotel or Motel Manager2NoYesYesB
62542113Hotel or Motel Receptionist4NoYesYesH
63431411Hotel Service Manager2YesYesYesB
64313112ICT Customer Support Officer2YesNoYesB
65313199ICT Support Technicians nec2YesNoYesB
67362711Landscape Gardener3YesYesYesC
68141411Licensed Club Manager2NoNoYesB
70221112Management Accountant1NoNoYesA
71225113Marketing Specialist1NoYesYesA
72411611Massage Therapist (remedial only)2NoYesYesB
73231211Master Fisher2YesYesYesB
74831211Meat Boner and Slicer4YesYesYesK
75322311Metal Fabricator3YesNoYesD
76241311Middle School Teacher1NoNoYesA
77841611Mixed Crop and Livestock Farm Worker5YesYesNoJ
78121411Mixed Crop and Livestock Farmer1YesYesYesA
79841513Mixed Livestock Farm Worker5YesYesNoJ
80321211Motor Mechanic (General)3YesYesYesD
81621311Motor Vehicle or Caravan Salesperson4NoYesYesH
82899411Motor Vehicle Parts and Accessories Fitter (General)4YesYesYesH
83621312Motor Vehicle Parts Interpreter4YesYesYesH
85423312Nursing Support Worker4NoYesYesI
86251312Occupational Health and Safety Advisor1NoNoYesA
87512111Office Manager2NoYesYesB
88421114Out of School Hours Care Worker3NoYesYesG
90411714Parole or Probation Officer2NoNoYesF
92423313Personal Care Assistant4NoYesYesI
93311215Pharmacy Technician2NoYesYesB
94334111Plumber (General)3YesNoYesC
95322312Pressure Welder3YesNoYesC
96241213Primary School Teacher1NoNoYesA
97442111Prison Officer4NoNoYesH
98511112Program or Project Administrator2NoNoYesB
99612112Property Manager3NoNoYesC
100254421Registered Nurse (Medical Practice)1NoNoYesA
101254499Registered Nurse nec1NoNoYesA
102411715Residential Care Officer2NoYesYesB
103142111Retail Manager (General)2NoYesYesB
104621511Retail Supervisor4NoYesYesH
105131112Sales and Marketing Manager1NoNoYesA
106831313Seafood Process Worker5YesYesNoJ
107241411Secondary School Teacher1NoNoYesA
108322211Sheetmetal Trades Worker3YesNoYesD
109231212Ship’s Engineer2YesNoYesB
110231213Ship’s Master1NoNoYesA
11170499Skilled Horticultural Worker4YesNoYesH
113321214Small Engine Mechanic3YesNoYesC
114261313Software Engineer1NoNoYesA
115399516Sound Technician3YesNoYesC
116241599Special Education Teachers nec1NoNoYesA
117241511Special Needs Teacher1NoNoYesA
119133611Supply and Distribution Manager1NoNoYesA
120342412Telecommunications Cable Jointer3YesNoYesC
121342413Telecommunications Linesworker3YesNoYesC
122342414Telecommunications Technician3YesNoYesC
123423314Therapy Aide4NoYesYesI
124451412Tour Guide3YesYesYesG
125733111Truck Driver (General)4YesYesYesH
126841214Vegetable Farm Worker5YesYesNoJ
127121616Vegetable Grower1YesYesYesA
128324311Vehicle Painter3YesNoYesC
129361311Veterinary Nurse3NoYesYesC
13070499Waiter Supervisor4YesYesYesH
131313113Web Administrator2YesNoYesB
132232414Web Designer1NoYesYesA
133322313Welder (First Class)3YesNoYesD
134272613Welfare Worker1NoNoYesA
135411716Youth Worker2NoYesYesB

In some cases, applicants will have to obtain a positive skills assessment to qualify for the NT DAMA program.

Employer Requirements for NT DAMA Program Eligibility

To be eligible for the NT DAMA program, employers must:

  • Be viable and have been actively operating in the Northern Territory for at least 12 months
  • Not have a history of failing to meet employee obligations
  • Be looking to employ overseas workers in full-time positions aligned with those in the NT DAMA occupation list
  • Show proof that they’ve tried to fill the positions with Australian citizens or permanent residents without success
  • Be able to offer work terms and conditions comparable to those offered to local workers in the region
  • Receive endorsement from the Northern Territory migration authority and enter into a 5-year labour agreement with the Department of Home Affairs.

This agreement will specify the number of overseas workers the company can nominate each year for specific occupations, as well as any concessions they might be eligible for.

How to Apply for the NT DAMA

Below are the steps to apply for the NT Dama:

  1. Submit an online application for endorsement to the Department of Industry, Tourism and Trade.
  1. Lodge a labour agreement request via ImmiAccount.
  1. Identify a skilled overseas worker who possesses the skills and experience necessary for the NT DAMA occupation.
  1. Submit a nomination application to the Australian government for the overseas worker you’ll be employing via ImmiAccount.
  1. Coordinate with your worker as they apply for their visa.

Seek assistance from a registered migration agent for any specific questions or concerns related to your circumstances.

NT Dama Requirements for Overseas Workers

For overseas workers to be eligible for work sponsorship, they must meet criteria specific to their occupation category and the visa being sponsored.

Access the NT DAMA list of occupations above and click the occupation categories (i.e. categories A to K) at the last column for detailed information on the eligibility criteria for workers.

DAMA Australia: Other Regions and Locations 

Currently, 12 DAMAs exist in Australia:

Region, location or shireDesignated Area Representative (DAR)
Adelaide City Technology and Innovation Advancement, SASkilled & Business Migration
East Kimberley, WAEast Kimberley Chamber of Commerce and Industry​
Far North Queensland, QLDCairns Chamber of Commerce, 
Goulburn Valley, VICGoulburn Valley​
Great South Coast, VICWarrnambool City Council​
Northern Territory, NTNorthern Territory Designated Area Migration Agreement
Orana, NSWRegional Development Australia – Orana, NSW
Pilbara, WARDA Pilb​ara​
South Australia Regional, SASkilled & Business Migration
South West, WAShire of Dardanup
The Goldfields, WACity of Kalgoorlie Boulder​​​​​
Townsville, QLDTownsville Enterprise Limited​

Need Assistance to Apply for the NT DAMA?

Avoid overlooking details and missing requirements by working with our experienced migration agents at KBA Global.

With our 10+ years of service, we’re happy to give you practical advice and help sort your paperwork to make the application process as smooth as possible for you.  

Book a free consultation and talk with our agent today!

Disclaimer: The above information is a general guide and not professional immigration advice. Be aware that immigration laws and regulations can change swiftly, potentially rendering some or all of the information outdated. Thus, before using the information above, we recommend checking the current laws through assistance from a migration agent or the Department of Home Affairs website.