Hairdressing removed from Australian new visa scheme impacting Australian small business salons

Many Australian salons could lose their top hairdressers after the announcement of hairdressing being removed from the Department of Immigration’s new visa scheme hindering international talent to stay in Australia or apply for permanent residency.

UK national, William Webb, has called Australia home for eight years and through his employment with at Ella & Jade, was named Queensland Hairdresser of the Year in 2017. 

Because of the new visa scheme, William must now abide by a two-year sponsorship.

Ella & Jade Owner and Stylist, Alannah Read, said the cost of the new visa scheme for small-business owners is just too high and not viable for either the employer or the employee.  

“Unfortunately, as a small business owner, the cost of the new two-year visa scheme – which will be upwards of $7,000 - is just not viable for me or for an employee like William, who is unable to plan for his future and only have stability in Australia for two years at a time,” Alannah said. 

“Ella & Jade would not have had the success that it has without the recruitment of international hairdressers like William Webb, and the ongoing commitment he has to the hairdressing industry and educating our young apprentices.

“The removal of hairdressing from the permanent residency list is hindering international talent to come to Australia which we so desperately need to educate our new generation of hairdressers.

“The disappointing factor is that hairdressing is not recognised as a profession when the career requires a three-year apprenticeship and ongoing study,” Alannah said. 

Sandy Chong, Chief Executive Officer of the Australian Hairdressing Council, said they’re currently lobbying to change the visa scheme but have had very little communication from the Minister of Immigration, Citizen and Multicultural Affairs.

“This is an urgent matter not only for Ella & Jade but many small and large salons across Australia,” Chong said. 

“Hairdressing is a global profession and we should certainly be welcoming talented professionals to stay in Australia and educate our up-and-coming hairdressers.

“The fact hairdressing is not seen as a skilled profession is unjust after is requires a three-year apprenticeship and ongoing training throughout your career.

“We will continue lobbying for a change to the visa scheme," Sandy said. 

 Up until recently, international hairdressers could be sponsored under a 457 Visa. This Visa permitted a sponsored stylist to be employed for four years, with a pathway for residency. 

 The current Visa now available comes under a 482. This visa is for two years and has no pathway for residency.

See coverage on this issue in The Courier-Mail.

Alannah Read