Cheaper, extended licences for responsible massage parlour operators: MHA

Currently, a massage establishment is required to obtain an annually renewable licence before it can offer massage services.
Currently, a massage establishment is required to obtain an annually renewable licence before it can offer massage services.PHOTO ILLUSTRATION: PIXABAY

SINGAPORE - Massage establishments that comply with regulations and conduct their business in a responsible manner will have their licences' validity extended under an updated regulatory regime.

Under the new initiatives for responsible massage establishments that will kick in from April 1, the Singapore Police Force will extend the validity of their licences from a year to either two or three years.

Currently, a massage establishment is required to obtain an annually renewable licence before it can offer massage services.

"To provide more administrative convenience to responsible operators, the police will lengthen the validity of their licences so that there is no need for annual renewals," said the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) on Monday (March 30).

Operators who remain infringement-free will be granted two-year or three-year licences.

The length of the licence will be subject to assessment by the police of the operators' level of compliance, among other factors, said MHA.

The initiative aims at incentivising massage establishment operators to further improve and ensure compliance with regulatory requirements and to manage their businesses in a responsible manner, the ministry added.

Operators will also pay less for licensing.

From April 1, a one-year licence will cost $290 - nearly half of the original $525. A two-year licence will cost $440, while a three-year licence will cost $590.

 
 
 

Previously, it would have cost an operator $1,575 in total to renew the licence annually for three years.

The new initiatives come two years after new restrictions on massage parlours were enacted into law in March 2018.

Among those restrictions were limiting the operating hours of massage parlours with CaseTrust accreditation and of those that conduct their services in plain view from 7am to 10.30pm.

Those without the accreditation were restricted to even shorter operating hours, from 10am to 10.30pm.

MHA said on Monday that the restricted hours "have proven to be effective, as the number of complaints and negative feedback have dropped in the past year".