Beauty industry calls for Government changes in immigration and wage increase policies as Brexit looms

Trade bodies across the beauty, spa, food, retail and hospitality forces are joining forces to call for changes in government policy on immigration and wage increases as Brexit looms.

The National Beauty Federation (NBF) and National Hairdressers’ Federation (NHF) are among the trade bodies writing to secretary of state for business, energy and industrial strategy, Andrea Leadsom, asking for policy changes to ease Brexit pressures on salons and spas.

After Brexit, the Government’s proposed new immigration system for workers coming into the UK would require them to be earning at least £30,000, but EU, European Economic Area (EEA) and Swiss citizens who are already in the UK can apply for the EU settlement scheme now. Applications are free and the deadline for submissions is December 31, 2020.

If they have been continuously resident in the UK for five years by the time they apply then they should get “settled” status, but if it is less than five then they will get “pre-settled” status. Settled and pre-settled status give EU, EEA and Swiss citizens the same rights and conditions they have now. 

However, if there is a no-deal Brexit, any of these types of residents arriving after the UK leaves the EU and intending to stay for longer than three months will need to apply for European Temporary Leave to Remain, which allows them to live and work in the UK for up to three years.

After that, they will need to meet the requirements of a new immigration system which will apply from January 2021, including meeting the £30,000 minimum salary requirement. 

What does this mean for salon and spa owners?

“As more than 60% of jobs in the UK are below the £30,000 threshold, we’re encouraging salon employees who are EU, EEA and Swiss citizens to apply for the EU settlement scheme now, even if Brexit is delayed beyond October 31,” said Hilary Hall, chief executive of the NBF and NHF. 

“There is a shortage of skilled hairdressers, barbers and therapists, so we urge salons not to risk losing any EU workers they currently employ by delaying their applications for settled or pre-settled status.” 

The letter from the trade bodies is also calling for restraint on further increases to the National Living Wage because of the impact this could have on small businesses. 

“Such rises would make the UK’s rates the highest in the world, yet other countries are not facing the same economic challenges as the UK and its departure from the EU,” added Hall. 

“We are about to enter uncharted territory with Brexit, at a time when employers have had two successive years of pension contribution increases as well as above-inflation rises to minimum wages.” 

Read the full NBF/NHF trade body letter to the Government. 

Do you agree with the trade bodies? Leave a comment below.