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Posted by: Patricia Taylor, 21 May 2008 10:46AM
Please do not use the forums to advertise courses.

Not a proper profession!

I am not sure whether to be amused by this or furious! My neighbour asked to sign passport applications for her two children. These were rejected by the Passport Office as 'massage therapist' is not in their words 'a suitable profession'. I have written to the passport office querying this but it as well for you to be aware that we are not deemed respectable as passport signatories! Perhaps this is something CThA could take up on our behalf? Pat Taylor


Jim Guest
21 May 2008 5:04PM

Good Afternoon Pat, On the passport application form the term "professional qualification" applies to people with Degree level qualifications, as a massage practitioner you are not qualified to a degree level. As practitioner level massage therapists are not recognised as qualified to this level and do not garner the sort of client base to be recognised as a person of standing within the community. You are unfortunately unsuitable as a counter signatory. It is advisable that if you are unsure about who is a suitable countersignatory to contact the passport advice line on: 0870 521 0410 Regards, Jim Membership Administration
Patricia Taylor
22 May 2008 2:28PM

As it happens, I am qualified to degree level, but in obviously, not in massage. The passport office does not ask for your qualification level, merely for your profession. Personally speaking, I think that the level of knowledge and the ethical consideration and discretion we are required to use as massage therapists far outweigh the standards expected of me in PR, which was what I did for over twenty years. A fellow massage therapist had this experience: "I have signed passport application forms and had no problems, so either it has changed or there is someone being a little pedantic. My other half has hit this problem when he had to get his SIA form for qualifying as close protection as we had to get a signatory for him. They would accept a podiatrist, and a Jehovah's witness but not an osteopath, bizarre!!" You say that "massage therapists are do not garner the sort of client base to be recognised as a person of standing within the community". I think that is a very negative view of what we do considering that any profession that provides a public service falls into this category also. Assuming I get a reply from the Passport Office, I will post it.
Joyce Laurie
24 May 2008 8:39AM

So...how does that stand with Napier University in Scotland who have degree courses in Complementary Therapies. As for clients most of mine are professionals themselves...wonder what they would make of that comment about "not garnering the type of clients"......what do you think we are Jim.....nightworkers? Joyce
Angela Rawlins
27 May 2008 9:25AM

I have to say Jim, that I would take offence at that statement!
Patricia Taylor
10 Jun 2008 1:56PM

I have actually at last received a reply from the Passport Office as follows: Dear Mrs. Taylor I was disappointed to read that applications for your neighbour's children were rejected. I do not understand why this happened if you hold 'government recognised qualifications'. I can understand how embarrassing it is for you and I apologise on behalf of the Identity & Passport Service (IPS). I would like to thank you for bringing this matter to our attention etc etc. Mr. M. Thresher Customer Service Team I guess what that tells us is that it is not enough to write what your profession is, because what they really want to know if what level of qualifications you hold. They are actually asking the wrong question: they ask 'who are you' when they mean 'what are you'. Hope this is helpful for the future.
Angela Rawlins
10 Jun 2008 6:03PM

Humpf - Sounds like loons in charge! How many have noticed spelling mistakes or grammar errors!
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