Camberwell nail salon loses licence over illegal workers

Ayoyemi Nails in Camberwell, London, lost its licence this month after several police raids found Vietnamese staff working illegally at the nail bar. 

The salon was raided twice last year, as the Government worked to tackle illegal workers and modern slavery in non-standard nail salons. The business owner then lost her license at a hearing on January 16, 2020. 

A UK Border Force raid took place in April 2019 and found four Vietnamese nationals working at the salon, two of whom had entered the country illegally and the other two had no right to work under the terms of their asylum application. 

The second raid, which took place in November 2019 alongside Trading Standards, discovered three Vietnamese nationals working at the salon but only one who was legally allowed to work in the UK, said the police report.

The police also revealed that they had seized a large number of gel-polish bottles from the shop which “interim testing revealed to have contained an illegal carcinogenic ingredient”.

The beauty industry is all too aware that many people trafficked into the UK end up working illegally in nail bars, which is why Professional Beauty has launched a campaign to help prevent modern slavery in salons. Sign up here to show your support for ending modern slavery in salons. 

What happened at the hearing?

The female applicant said that she was not aware of the immigration status of those arrested at the salon in April 2019 as it had been dealt with by a business partner, and she disputed that those inside the shop on other occasions were staff, alleging them to be relatives of an employee who did hold a licence for nail treatments. 

She also said she was also not aware that the gel-polish products were potentially dangerous as she had brought them from a “reputable” Peckham wholesaler.

“The facts have been well-covered, [but] the applicant is a fit and proper person to hold a licence,” her solicitor told councillors, as reported by Southwark News. “Yes, things happened in April, but since then lessons have been learned and she would simply ask for you to give that trust in her.” Her bid was rejected. 

Other nail salons waiting to hear about the future of their licences include Lucky Nails, also on Camberwell Road, where five people were arrested for immigration offences in July 2019, and Sabrina Beauty Salon on Peckham’s Rye Lane. 

Do you think the Government should implement a licensing scheme for nail salons to help prevent illegal workers?