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A New Program to Address Labor Shortages in the Coastal Region of Canada Victoria’s Great South Coast was officially launched in Warrnambool.


The South Coast Large Area Designated Migration Agreement (DAMA) provides employers in the region with the opportunity to recruit foreign workers for positions that Australian residents can not afford.


The DAMA is an Australian government initiative with the Great South Coast DAMA, a first for Victoria and the first to be piloted by the local government.


Dan Tehan, MP for Wannon, said, “The DAMA is designed to support local businesses by helping them fulfill key roles.


“In recent years, many employers have told us that they have trouble recruiting people in particular sectors. The community should also be reassured that every effort will be made to fill vacancies locally before using DAMA.


“This is a targeted program, and it is important to understand that the workers appointed through the RFSA do not replace local workers, they fill gaps in the labor market that are holding back some businesses.


” DAMA will mean that businesses on the Great South Coast can remain productive and competitive. The Minister of Immigration, Citizenship, Migrant Services and Multicultural Affairs, David Coleman, said the federal government is committed to meeting the skill needs of regional Australia.


“The Morrison government is working to support the growth of the regions and to ensure that our migration program meets the needs of the labor market, particularly in regional Australia,” said Coleman.


“Our first priority is always to fill positions with Australians, but the immigration system can play an important role in reducing regional skills shortages.


“We have recently implemented RFSAs in several regions, including Kalgoorlie in Washington State, Orana in NSW and Far North Queensland, to ensure sustained regional economies where Australian workers are not available. The region covered by the RFSA includes the municipalities of Glenelg, Moyne, Southern Grampians, Warrnambool, Corangamite and Colac Otway.


A total of 27 professions were identified as eligible to be considered under the program and belong to various sectors. The RFSA offers concessions that are not normally available to visa workers and provides a potential route to permanent residency for employees.


“Up to 100 employees can be appointed in the first year of the agreement,” said Peter Schneider, General Manager of Warrnambool City Council.


“There is a range of checks and balances in place to make sure the program delivers the right results. “When an employer applies for a job, we look at their ability to retain other employees, their work history, whether the job description fits the company, and whether the roles were advertised unsuccessfully in Australia.