The removal of hairdressing from the permanent residency list is hindering international talent from coming to Australia; talent we desperately need to educate a new generation of hairdressers.

Alannah Read, Owner of Ella & Jade

Spread the word: Changes to the Department of Immigration’s Visa Schemes will restrict the uptake of international talent to the Australian hairdressing industry.

With the hairdressing industry at an all-time shortage of talent – and salons struggling to secure qualified staff – the refusal of such international streams will ultimately prove detrimental to the profession’s national growth.

To get you up to speed, we’ve debunked the problem at hand:

So, what’s happing?

Earlier this year, the Department of Immigration announced a discontinuation of the Temporary Work Skilled Visa (Subclass 457) which, up until now, allowed sponsored, international hairdressers to reside and work in Australia for a period of four years with an ultimate pathway to residency.

Under the terms of the replacement Temporary Skill Shortage Visa (subclass 482), talent who had previously been granted four years employment will now be forced to abide by a two-year sponsorship (with no prospect of permanent residency) despite meeting the requisite criteria upon entering the country.

Why is a two-year sponsorship scheme unfeasible for salon owners? 

According to Ella & Jade Owner and Stylist Alannah Read, there are a number of reasons:

  • Firstly, the majority of salon owners cannot afford to upskill and invest in a staff member, given a limited, prospective employment period.
  • Secondly, salon owners are unable to plan for the foreseeable future and/or continue to grow their junior teams if valued staff members are unable to remain employed long term.
  • Thirdly, salon owners will be unable to sustain their current ratio of apprentices without highly skilled staff members to train and guide them. The result? Less apprentices = less talent, long term.

“Unfortunately, as a small business owner, the cost of the two-year visa scheme is just not viable for myself or an employee like William Webb (who, despite having lived in Australia for eight years, must now abide by the terms of the replacement visa scheme) who is unable to plan for his future and only have stability in Australia for two years at a time,” comments Alannah.

What are the implication for the industry at large?

With the hairdressing industry at an all-time shortage of talent, we cannot afford to witness a further drop in apprentice and talent numbers.

The decision to omit hairdressing from the Department of Immigration’s permanent residency list not only devalues the profession, but furthermore hinders skilled, international creatives from becoming a part of the industry’s growth in Australia.

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

“The disappointing factor is that the industry is at an all-time low with a shortage of young talent, let alone great hairdressers passionate about the industry and upskilling to stay across the latest international trends.”

What is being done?

Over the past few weeks, CEO of the Australian Hairdressing Council Sandy Chong has been in meetings with the Australian Government in Canberra, discussing the current crisis that salon owners (Alannah included) are experiencing with regards to the hiring of qualified hairdressers.

“The AHC has been working on a submission to help with Visa Sponsorships and allow salons to recruit overseas qualified stylists [with a goal to] address our skills shortage,” says Sandy. “Visas need to allow a stylist to stay in our country for a minimum of four years rather than the current two year period [as stipulated by the 482 visa].”

According to Sandy, one of the biggest problems is a lack of knowledge and awareness on the government’s part – particularly given the rise in un-qualified hairdressers operating outside of the industry’s standards and regulations. “The government feels there is no skills shortage. In their words: ‘You can walk out and get a haircut anywhere’.

As such, Sandy, is encouraging salon owners to get behind the AHC’s lobbying efforts, by participating in a short survey, with findings to be presented before the Department of Immigration. Comments Sandy, “The AHC needs to show evidence that our industry’s future  – and the sustainability of our businesses – depend on the responses to the survey.”

How can YOU get involved?

The AHC requires a minimum of 100 responses by Friday 8th November  in order to support their lobbying efforts.

Who can participate?

While the survey is only open to salon and barbershop owners, it’s up to the entire hairdressing community to get behind this cause, by sharing with any and all salon owners you know who are struggling to find qualified staff.

It won’t take long… simply hit the link below to be redirected to the survey portal:

For more information, contact the AHC Office on (02) 4929 6098