Farmers and tourism operators have written to the Federal Government pleading for backpackers to be allowed into Australia to harvest crops, care for children and travel.
It comes as department officials struggle to pinpoint labour shortages this summer and almost 30,000 Australians who are stranded overseas cannot get home.
The National Farmers' Federation (NFF) has teamed up with Backpacker Youth Tourism Advisory Panel (BYTAP) to call for an urgent restart to the Working Holiday Maker program.
The number of backpackers in Australia has halved since international borders closed to prevent the spread of COVID-19 earlier this year, creating a potential shortfall of more than 20,000 working holiday-makers.
In an appeal sent to about 30 federal politicians, the NFF and the advisory panel argued backpackers should be permitted to enter Australia under a COVID-safe plan to work as au pairs and harvest labourers, and to travel to boost the struggling tourism industry.