New Immigrants Improving Productivity in Australian Agriculture


Productivity relates to innovative ways of combining labour and capital to maximise the output of products that can be sold to national and international markets. Immigrant farmers and producers and immigrant workers are vital to improving productivity in Australian agriculture by overcoming the problem of farmer and seasonal and permanent labour shortages and by reenergising capital and labour productivity. Temporary immigrant workers are increasingly important sources of Australia’s seasonal agricultural workforce, particularly working holiday makers (WHMs), who provide a mobile seasonal labour force to assist in maximising the harvest yield. Moreover, permanent labour in the agricultural sector can be hard to source. Humanitarian immigrants who settle in regional and rural areas can assist with this labour shortage. The outcome of this project is to improve the future productivity of the Australian agriculture sector by filling a critical gap in our knowledge of the contribution of immigrant farmers and both permanent and temporary immigrant labour in Australian agriculture and to inform future policy development in the area. Specifically, this project will generate information to enable a better understanding of the impact of new farmer immigrants on the agriculture sector and how to attract and retain them in coming decades. It will also provide insights into how to readdress labour shortages across the skill spectrum by tapping into immigration possibilities. The project will also identify the culturally ingrained agricultural practices, innovation and transfer of knowledge innovation in production and marketing that are the product of immigrant farming businesses in the Australian agricultural sector. The research will also provide a forum to inform key national, state, regional and local stakeholders of the new immigrant farmers, humanitarian immigrants and temporary immigrants in agricultural sector to enable a finetuning of policies and programs.


National Rural Issues

Research Organisation

University of Technology, Sydney

Objective Summary

The main research objective is to understand the impact that immigrants have made to productivity in the Agricultural sector to date in order to substantially increase productivity in the future. This is important because it assists in developing successful strategies to improve agricultural sustainability, preserve resources and enhance rural renewal in Australia. The central research question is: “In what way do immigrant farmers and growers and immigrant workers contribute to current productivity in the Australian agricultural sector and how can this be enhanced in the future?

Project Code


Project Stage


Project Start Date

Friday, June 22, 2012

Project Completion Date

Monday, November 30, 2015

Journal Articles From Project

Not Available

National Priority

Frontier technologies for building and transforming Australian industries

National Priority

Adoption of R&D

National Priority

NRI-National Rural Issues


Related publications


New Immigrants Improving Productivity in Australian Agriculture