Skip to content
Government Federal, Political

Finally – a migration strategy that may tackle the massage sector calamity

Massage & Myotherapy Australia 2 mins read

For the first time since the skilled migration and temporary visa programs were introduced decades ago, the newly released migration strategy promises to address the calamity it has caused in Australia’s massage sector.

Ann Davey, CEO Massage & Myotherapy Australia, said that the massage sector has become the epitome of what Dr Martin Parkinson described as a system ‘so badly broken’ that it required a ‘10-year rebuild’…a system not delivering for workers, for businesses, or for Australians.

‘Australia’s temporary and skilled migration program opened a floodgate of poorly trained massage workers, as a source of cheap and temporary labour, for the many quasi-massage shops that dot the country, offering anything from spa style massage to illicit and legal sex work that operates under the guise of legitimate massage therapy.’

The initiatives detailed in the strategy highlight key issues that have enabled the calamity that is the low end and poorly skilled massage sector in Australia. The new commitments include:

  • higher English language requirements for international students and graduates;
  • more scrutiny of high-risk student visa applications;
  • a $19m investment into the Home Affairs student visa integrity unit; 
  • Restrictions on onshore visa hopping;
  • ending settings that drive long-term temporary stays;
  • tackling exploitation of the visa system; and
  • targeting skilled migration to genuine shortages.

Mrs Davey said, ‘We hope these commitments will be applied vigorously to massage visa and sponsored visa applications. Australia has never had a serious skills shortage in qualified, professional massage therapists and the extraordinary influx of low skilled massage workers has led to confusion and the sexual stereotyping of massage therapists as sex workers and massage as sex.’

The professional massage sector is a female-dominated sector of complementary health, with a ratio of approximately 4:1 women to men. The long term and grievous consequences for massage therapists in Australia are well documented.’

Numerous studies indicate that the conflation of massage therapy with sex work and the subsequent confusion around health-related massage and massage therapists contributes to:

According to the 2022 Pulse Survey of our 8,600 members, respondents indicated that some professional massage therapists experience sexual harassment from clients in their workplace daily.

Mrs Davey said, ‘the Australian temporary and skilled migration program has not kept pace with the substantial improvements in professional development including the higher education and competency standards, or the demands or needs of the healthcare sector and community.

‘We look forward to further developments and the impact these changes will have on Australia’s current visa programs,’ Mrs Davey said.


Key Facts:

Massage therapy qualifications are recognised under the Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF);

Sex workers are not subject to the National Code of Conduct for Health Workers which prohibits sexual relations with clients yet they can promote their services as legitmate health related massage


About us:

Massage & Myotherapy Australia is a not-for-profit organisation formed in 2003 and is the leading representative body for professional massage therapists nationwide, with a membership of over 8,500 therapists.

Contact details:

Glenn Schaube 0439 320 151;

More from this category

  • Government Federal, Indigenous
  • 20/06/2024
  • 11:50

Dutton to ‘force poisons’ onto the lands of Traditional Owners, can’t be trusted with nuclear

20 June 2024 Queensland Conservation Council strongly opposes the introduction of nuclear power into Australia, and calls on opposition Leader Peter Dutton to abandon his dangerous proposal to site nuclear power on the country of First Nations people. Australia has a shameful history of forcing nuclear harm on First Nations, with the explosion of nuclear bombs for the British Government at Maralinga on the lands of the Pitjantjatjara and Yankunytjatjara peoples, at Emu Field on the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara lands, and Monte Bello Islands off the WA Coast, and the forced imposition of mining of uranium on the lands of…

  • Government Federal, Legal
  • 20/06/2024
  • 06:00
Migrant Justice Institute

Experts: The legal system fails migrants who try to recover unpaid wages

EXPERTS: THE LEGAL SYSTEM IS FAILING MIGRANTS WHEN THEY TRY TO RECOVER UNPAID WAGES Widespread underpayment of migrant workers (and local workers) is now well-documented – and a new report shows how hard it is to recover those wages at court. All Work, No Pay urges the Federal Government to take urgent action to ensure the most vulnerable workers in our community can get redress. The “small claims” court process was intended to be simple and accessible. The report finds that, in reality, it is virtually impossible for many workers to file and pursue a small claim without legal support.…

  • Energy, Political
  • 19/06/2024
  • 13:57
Mining and Energy Union

Nuclear plans no help for Latrobe Valley coal workers: MEU

Nuclear power stations will not provide a pathway into new employment for coal-fired power industry workers and the current debate is a distraction from securing new jobs in the Latrobe Valley, the Mining and Energy Union said today. With Peter Dutton’s Coalition announcing Loy Yang in Victoria as a future site for a nuclear power station, the MEU said workers and communities needed viable new industries sooner than could be provided by nuclear. Victorian District President, Andy Smith said that workers in the Latrobe Valley were at a critical point, facing closures in the next few years. “Yallourn Power Station…

Media Outreach made fast, easy, simple.

Feature your press release on Medianet's News Hub every time you distribute with Medianet. Pay per release or save with a subscription.