Return of international students and skilled migrants welcome boost for retail

Monday 22 November 2021

Australian Retailers Association CEO Paul Zahra has welcomed the Federal Government’s changes to the international border, allowing fully vaccinated students and skilled migrants into the country from December 1, without needing to apply for a travel exemption.

However, the ARA is calling for hairdressers and beauty therapists to be added to the Priority Migration Skilled Occupation List to help address the long-term workforce challenges the sector is facing.

“Staff shortages are a significant issue affecting retailers at the moment, with businesses struggling to fill vacant positions in the lead up to Christmas – the busiest and most profitable time of year on the retail calendar,” Mr Zahra said.

“There are also many businesses that struggled to retain their existing staff through the recent lockdowns when they couldn’t trade from their physical stores. So even though businesses are now back open, there are many that can’t trade at their full potential due to a lack of resources.

“International students and skilled migrants are cohorts of workers that have been sorely missed throughout the pandemic and we desperately need them back to help fill this shortfall.

“We welcome the Federal Government’s changes to the international border, removing the need for a travel exemption for fully vaccinated visa holders. This is a significant step towards reuniting Australia with the rest of the world and to learning to live with Covid.

“However, we are calling on the Federal Government to add hairdressers and beauty therapists to the Priority Migration Skilled Occupation List. These businesses are facing long term workforce shortages and we urge the Federal Government to prioritise these roles for the future viability of the industry.”

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