Restaurant & Catering Australia CEO Wes Lambert says the return of working holidaymakers and skilled migrants is an “early, huge Christmas present” for the nation’s hospitality industry.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced on Monday eligible visa holders as well as tourists from Japan and South Korea would be welcomed back without needing a travel exemption.

“It’s an early, huge Christmas present for the entire hospitality industry,” Mr Lambert told Sky News Australia.

“We certainly were lobbying and working with the government on solutions for the critical workforce shortage around the country and the ability now to have working holidaymakers, international students and skilled migrants enter NSW, Victoria and the ACT with quarantine-free returning travel to Australia will absolutely begin the long process of building that workforce back up.”

Mr Lambert also took time to praise the initiative.

“There is really no buts, the state and federal governments have done an amazing job at rolling out skills and training programs, like the path program that restaurant and catering is doing and many other organisations,” he added.

“So, we’re doing the right thing, we’re trying to skill up and train up Australians to fill those jobs – it certainly will begin to get us back where we need to be.”

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