The first of two plane loads of Vanuatu seasonal workers will arrive in Perth within weeks to help ensure there’s enough fruit and vegetables on supermarket shelves for Christmas. More than 300 workers from the Pacific island nation, which has not had any community cases of COVID-19, will serve two weeks in hotel quarantine before they head to orchards and farms across WA. Their travel and quarantine cost will be covered by their employers, with most on the first two planes assigned to labour hire firms who will then contract the workers out to local companies. The first plane, which will fly direct from Vanuatu to Perth, is due the week starting December 20 and the second will touch down about January 7. Each jet was expected to carry 162 workers. Premier Mark McGowan said subjecting the workers to hotel quarantine and testing gave the State Government confidence that the plan was “completely safe”. “But we also want to make sure we’ve got vegetables and fruit products available on the shelves this Christmas. It’s very important that we get the crop off,” the Premier said. “Vanuatu doesn’t have any community spread of the virus, that’s why we’re confident it’s safe but we’re being extra careful by ensuring they quarantine in hotels for two weeks and they get tested.” WA’s horticulture and agriculture industries require about 7000 seasonal workers each year and the international and interstate border closures have resulted in a severe labour shortage. The WA Liberal Party’s agriculture spokesman Steve Thomas first called for workers to be flown to WA from COVID-safe Pacific regions four months ago. Seasonal workers from Vanuatu arrived in Darwin in September. VegetablesWA chief executive John Shannon said the initial plane loads would make a significant difference to getting fresh produce on the tables of WA households. “Industry is extremely happy that the Government has facilitated access to these workers, they are going to be crucial,” he said.