AUSVEG has welcomed the signing of a work and holiday Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the Australian and Vietnamese governments, which could assist Australian vegetable and potato growers fill labour shortages during peak harvesting times.

The new arrangement, confirmed by the Hon. Peter Dutton MP, Minister for Immigration and Border Protection and Senator the Hon. Michaelia Cash, Assistant Minister for Immigration and Border Protection, is expected to strengthen ties between the two countries, and will allow up to 200 young Australians and 200 young Vietnamese to work, study and holiday in each other’s nations for up to a year.

“We are pleased to see an arrangement such as the newly-signed work and holiday MoU between Australia and Vietnam, as it has the potential to provide an additional pool of workers to Australian growers, who often struggle to find adequate and reliable labour forces during peak parts of the season,” said AUSVEG spokesperson Andrew MacDonald.

“The labour provided by backpackers on Working Holiday, and Work and Holiday, Visas to Australian vegetable and potato growing operations is invaluable, and many growers have come to rely on these temporary foreign workforces, particularly during peak harvesting times.”

“AUSVEG has previously called for the programs to be expanded to encompass more countries and both Minister Dutton and Assistant Minister Cash are to be congratulated on this announcement.”

AUSVEG is the leading horticultural body representing Australia’s 9,000 vegetable and potato growers.

While AUSVEG acknowledges that the Work and Holiday program is considered by the government to be primarily a cultural exchange, and not designed to fill ongoing labour shortages, the reality for Australian vegetable and potato growers is that backpackers make up a significant component of the workforce filling jobs on Australian farms.

“Labour shortages are an ongoing issue for growers across many parts of the country and AUSVEG supports any initiatives that provide Australian growers with improved access to labour and a reliable workforce that allows them to get on with the job of feeding the nation.”

AUSVEG would also welcome expansion of the Working Holiday Visa program to include other nations, and has also previously supported expanding the Seasonal Workers Program to include some Southeast Asian Nations.


MEDIA CONTACT:  Andrew MacDonald, AUSVEG Manager – Communications.

Phone: (03) 9882 0277, Mobile: 0406 836 330, Email: