How businesses are assessed as being eligible

The Northern Territory (NT) Government considers all of the following factors to determine if a businesses can use the Northern Territory Designated Area Migration Agreement (NT DAMA).

If you are operating and located in the NT:

  • businesses must have been actively operating for at least 12 months
  • all positions to be filled must be located in the NT.

What your workforce needs are:

  • the Department of Industry, Tourism and Trade will assess your current and future workforce needs to determine which occupation(s) and concession(s) requested will be endorsed under the NT DAMA
  • how many positions can be nominated for each occupation and for each concession
  • the endorsement to access the NT DAMA is for up to five years, however the endorsement of occupations and numbers of positions to be filled is valid for one year. Businesses seeking to access more overseas workers will need to apply to the department for endorsement of occupation(s) and the number of vacant positions each year.

Whether you are unable to employ an Australian citizen or permanent resident to fill the position and whether you are offering terms and conditions of employment that meet market rates:

  • businesses need to demonstrate they have undertaken appropriate labour market testing and are unable to employ an Australian citizen or permanent resident to fill the position
  • the standard of labour market testing including duration, content and eligible mediums of advertising, are defined by the Department of Home Affairs, for more information on labour market testing requirements go to the Department of Home Affairs website
  • businesses need to provide evidence the terms and conditions of employment are in line with Australian workplace standards - they must be no less than what an Australian would be paid to undertake the same job in the same location.

Whether you can be endorsed to access concessions:

  • businesses seeking endorsement for the English or Temporary Skilled Migration Income Threshold concessions will need to demonstrate why the concession(s) are needed for the position(s) they are trying to fill.

Read more about how to apply.

If you are seeking endorsement to access the NT DAMA certain information about your business could be considered to be adverse information.

This may include any investigation, conviction, finding of non-compliance, administrative action or legal proceeding relating to a federal, state or territory law in areas like:

  • immigration
  • industrial relations
  • occupational health and safety.

What you must disclose

You must provide a statement confirming that your business or any entity you have been associated with has not been investigated or audited in the past 5 years on compliance with provisions relating to:

  • migration
  • industrial relations and workplace relations
  • occupational health and safety.

What to do if your business has been investigated or audited

If a current or past business has been investigated or audited during the last 5 years you must provide the NT Government with details on why this happened and on the outcome.

You should explain any mitigating circumstances that you think should be considered.

The following information is required:

  • nature of adverse information
  • how adverse information arose, including the credibility of the source of adverse information
  • in the case of an alleged contravention of a law, whether the allegations have been substantiated or not
  • whether adverse information arose recently or some time ago
  • whether your business has taken any steps to ensure the circumstances that led to the adverse information don’t happen again
  • information about findings made by a relevant authority in relation to the adverse information and the significance attached by the competent authority to the adverse information.

Relevant authorities include the following:

  • Department of Home Affairs or another Australian Government agency
  • Office of the Fair Work Ombudsman, or former authority with this function, or the relevant state or territory government authority in relation to compliance with workplace relations provisions
  • relevant state or territory government authority in relation to compliance with occupational health and safety provisions.

What happens if your business receives endorsement

If the NT Government decides to endorse your business to access NT DAMA it will provide the Australian Government with information on the outcomes of the investigation or audits.

It will also provide any statements about mitigating circumstances you may provide.

The Australian Government will then take this into consideration when negotiating a labour agreement under the DAMA with you.

If the NT Government has endorsed your business, this does not guarantee that the Australian Government will grant a labour agreement to your business.

To be endorsed to access the NT DAMA you have to show that the overseas worker you are sponsoring will be paid at least the local market rate for the nominated occupation.

You must demonstrate that the terms and conditions of employment you are offering your overseas worker will be no less than those that you would provide to an equivalently skilled and experienced Australian worker performing the same work at the same location.

The proposed terms and conditions must also reflect the market rate for the occupation in the region.

Terms and conditions of employment

Terms and conditions are considered to be less favourable if the overseas worker’s guaranteed annual earnings are less than those of a comparable Australian worker.

Guaranteed annual earnings include:

  • wages
  • guaranteed allowances such as accommodation or food allowances
  • agreed reasonable monetary value of non-monetary benefits such as a motor vehicle to which the employee is entitled in return for the performance of work.

Guaranteed annual earnings don’t include the following:

  • payments or amounts that can’t be determined in advance such as overtime, performance based commissions or bonuses
  • reimbursements paid to the employee
  • compulsory superannuation payments.

Evidence of terms and conditions

The type of evidence required depends on whether you already employ an Australian citizen or an Australian permanent resident (an Australian) in the same role in the same location.

If your business employs a comparable Australian in the same role in the same location then you should provide:

  • an employment contract and three most recent payslips of the Australian workers with identifying details removed
  • a comparison of the duties, number of hours worked and level of experience of the Australian and the overseas workers to show that the salary and other terms are comparable.

If your business does not employ a comparable Australian then you need to provide evidence that the proposed terms and conditions of employment for the overseas worker are in line with local market salary in the NT. This can include:

  • information from employer associations or unions
  • recent advertisements placed for similar positions by other NT employers or
  • salary reports specific to the NT market from reputable sources (e.g. ABS statistics, Australian Government Job Outlook data etc).

Unless the subclass 482 visa holder’s country of citizenship has reciprocal arrangements with Australia they are not eligible for government support like Medicare and the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme.

Subclass 482 visa holders must maintain private health insurance when in Australia. This is also required of any family members included on their visa who are living in Australia.

You should take this into consideration if you are applying to the Northern Territory Government for a salary concession.

Ongoing obligations

It is mandatory that when you have signed the labour agreement with the Department of Home Affairs that you continue to pay your overseas workers market rates.

This may mean that the overseas worker’s salary will need to be reviewed and increased in line with changes to the market rate.

Your sponsorship obligations are ongoing. Serious penalties and administrative sanctions will apply if your business has breached any obligations in relation the visa holders it employs.

Last updated: 25 March 2022

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