PR, citizenship should not be defined by fees and papers alone

Mr Ernest Chen Zhengkai's idea to increase fees to apply for permanent resident status does not make sense (Charge higher fees to reflect value of PR, citizenship; April 13).

If the fees were increased to $4,014, would it really attract fewer applicants? Those who can afford it would still apply.

Should we, then, increase it to, say, $10,000 to make sure only genuine applicants apply? At what point do we stop raising it?

In the end, deserving applicants who are not well-to-do may be deprived of a chance to apply.

PR and citizenship should not be defined by fees and paper qualifications.

They should be defined by how long a person lives in Singapore and his contribution and commitment to the country.

Even if a person invests millions of dollars in Singapore, making him a contributor to our economy, other factors such as volunteer work, tax records, business set-up and character should all be considered.

An applicant's success is not guaranteed. In 2015, there were 29,955 new PRs, compared with 79,197 in 2008.

The difference in the figures demonstrates that the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority considers all applications seriously and meticulously.

Increasing the fees will not change the amount of scrutiny or processing time.

The state must be fair to all and give every person a chance to apply if they meet the criteria, which means keeping the fees affordable.

Francis Cheng

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 18, 2017, with the headline PR, citizenship should not be defined by fees and papers alone. Subscribe