Employers in the Far North now have more flexibility to bring in skilled migrants.
The Commonwealth has declared the region under the Designated Area Migration Agreement (FNQ DAMA).
It means employers can access skilled workers from overseas where there are no local options available to fill vacancies.
It came after months of advocacy work said Cairns Chamber of Commerce chief executive officer Debbie Bender.
“A DAMA provides flexibility for states, territories or regions to respond to their unique economic and labour market conditions through an agreement-based framework,” Ms Bender said.
“Under the DAMA framework, employers in areas experiencing skills and labour shortages can sponsor skilled and semi-skilled overseas workers.”
The option would only be employed if suitable local recruits were unavailable, she said.
“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.
“Employers can only sponsor overseas workers into genuine job vacancies that have been advertised in accordance with the Labour Market Testing requirements.
Agricultural industry needs recognised
“We are pleased that the Commonwealth acknowledged skill shortages in FNQ and supported our decision to include agriculture in the occupations list, an essential line of work in our region.”
The chamber would act as the Designated Area Representative (DAR) to assist businesses in Cairns and surrounding regions to facilitate third parties to enter into these labour agreements, Ms Bender said.
The FNQ DAMA covers the Far North Queensland region including the Cassowary Coast, the Tablelands, Mareeba, Cairns and the Douglas Shire.
The Cairns Chamber of Commerce acknowledged member for Leichhardt Warren Entsch MP and Joshua Ferreira from Immigration Gurus for their ongoing support.