I WAS surprised that 10,000 permanent residents (PRs) are among the full-time workers who earn less than $1,000 a month (“Top 1% earn annual average of $700k”; Tuesday).

I was always under the impression that the PR policy is meant to attract, at the very minimum, middle-income professionals and skilled workers to supplement the local pool of professionals.

The presence of poorly paid PRs in our midst stands in stark contrast to this.

The Government pointed out in Parliament (“No plans to limit length of PR status”; yesterday) that some 10 per cent of PRs have held on to their blue cards for 20 years or more.

PRs are issued re-entry permits that are renewable every five years, provided they meet criteria such as being gainfully employed and having family roots here.

Are the 10,000 PRs earning less than $1,000 a month each considered gainfully employed and deserving of PR status?

Is there a policy to systematically and periodically prune such non-performing PRs?

Is the five-year PR re-entry permit effective, and the qualifying criteria stringent enough to ensure quality talent is accepted as PRs?

Also, of the PRs who have been here for more than 20 years, are there any earning less than $1,000 a month?

Cheang Peng Wah

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