Permanent residence pathway

The new Northern Territory Designated Area Migration Agreement (NT DAMA) provides a pathway to permanent residence.

Workers sponsored under the Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional (SESR) subclass 494 visa can become eligible for permanent residency through the Permanent Residence (Skilled Regional) subclass 191 visa after working with an NT DAMA endorsed employer for 3 years.

Employers do not need to sponsor workers for the permanent pathway through the subclass 191 visa. For information on this pathway, go to Home Affairs website.

Workers sponsored through the Temporary Skilled Shortage (TSS) subclass 482 visa or the former subclass 457 visa (both standard sponsorship streams or labour agreement / NT DAMA stream) who have worked for a sponsoring employer in the NT for 3 years can be sponsored by NT employers for permanent residency through the Employer Nomination Scheme (ENS) subclass 186 visa.

The following eligibility criteria must be met.

Nominated occupation

Employees must be nominated for an occupation on the current NT DAMA list or on the following table.

ANZSCO codeOccupationSkill level
221111Accountant  - general1
342411Cabler - data and telecommunications3
111111Chief executive or managing director1
312212Civil engineering technician2
311412Earth science technician2
342314Electronic instrument trades worker  - general3
149913Facilities manager2
231113Flying instructor1
121213Fruit or nut grower1
142114Hair or beauty salon manager2
313111Hardware technician2
121216Mixed crop farmer 1
121317Mixed livestock farmer1
321213Motorcycle mechanic3
272612Recreation officer1
221113Taxation accountant1
712921Waste water or water plant operator4

Employees must meet the following at the time of nomination:

  • be under 55 years of age
  • hold a subclass 457 or subclass 482 visa (standard sponsorship or labour agreement)
  • meet the qualifications and experience requirement. Please note: workers may be requested by Home Affairs to undergo a skills assessment
  • meet English language requirements if:
    • your occupation has an English concession, you must meet the requirements, read concessions available
    • you are nominated for an occupation that is not eligible for an English language concession, you must have a minimum score of at least 6 in an IELTS test or equivalent

If the TSS/457 nominated occupation is a skill level 1 to 4 or Seafood Process Worker:

  • your nominated occupation must be on the current NT DAMA occupations list or on the table above
  • have worked full-time in the NT, for at least 3 years prior to nomination in one or more NT businesses
  • in those 3 years, you must have worked in your nominated occupation or a closely related occupation
  • in those 3 years, you must have been on a subclass 457 or subclass 482 visa (or an associated bridging visa).

If the TSS/457 nominated occupation is a skill level 5 (other than Seafood Process Worker):

  • your nominated occupation must be on the current NT DAMA occupations list
  • have worked full-time in the NT, for at least 4 years prior to nomination in one or more NT businesses
  • for at least 2 out of those 4 years, you must be promoted to and work in a related skill level 4 occupation on the NT DAMA list (e.g. for Farm Worker occupations, need to be promoted to Skilled Horticultural Worker and for Aquaculture Farm Worker, need to be promoted to Aquaculture Supervisor). A new TSS nomination and visa will be required when being promoted.
  • in those 4 years, you must have been on a subclass 457 or subclass 482 visa (or an associated bridging visa).
  • meet the requirements from the Department of Home Affairs website.

Nominating businesses must meet the following nomination requirements:

  • the occupation you are nominating must be the one connected to the employee’s subclass 457 or subclass 482 visa
  • you must offer full-time employment to the nominee for at least two years, with the possibility of extension.

Nominating businesses must be endorsed under the current NT DAMA and have an associated labour agreement in place with the Australian Government.

This means that businesses who hold a labour agreement under previous NT DAMA(s) must be endorsed under the current NT DAMA and enter into a new labour agreement to nominate for a subclass 186 visa.

In addition to the above, nominating businesses must also meet the endorsement criteria including labour market testing requirements, and meet the requirements from the Department of Home Affairs website.

If you are a business with an existing NT DAMA II labour agreement

Step 1: Your business needs to apply to the Department of Industry, Tourism and Trade for subsequent year endorsement. Get the checklist and forms on subsequent endorsement process.

Step 2: Once endorsed, the Department of Home Affairs will contact you and work with you to amend your existing labour agreement.

Step 3: Submit your nomination application for the subclass 186 visa to the Department of Home Affairs.

Step 4: The employee can then lodge an application for a subclass 186 visa.

If you do not have an existing NT DAMA II labour agreement

Step 1: Your business needs to apply to the Department of Industry, Tourism and Trade for endorsement. You can find the checklist and forms on employer step by step guide.

Step 2: Once endorsed, you must request a labour agreement from the Department of Home Affairs through ImmiAccount.

Step 3: Submit your nomination application for the subclass 186 to the Department of Home Affairs.

Step 4: The employee can then lodge an application for a subclass 186 visa.


Last updated: 25 March 2022

Give feedback about this page.

Share this page:

URL copied!