The proportion of mainland children and couples allowed to enter the SAR should be increased, says an adviser to the Chief Executive on strategic development. Professor Liu Pak-wai, pro-vice-chancellor of the Chinese University and a member of the Commission of Strategic Development, said the SAR should have the authority to choose immigrants under the single-entry permit system. He said there was a low fertility rate in Hong Kong and population growth would depend heavily on migrants. 'Hong Kong should have the right to decide who can come, just like mainland provinces have the right to decide who can settle there,' he said. He suggested allowing young mainland-born children with Hong Kong parents to enter because the 'rate of return' from education would then be higher. Professor Liu said mainlanders seeking to enter the SAR for family reunions should also be given priority. The quota for one-way permits is now 150 a day. Professor Liu said about five to six per cent of applicants had no close relatives in the SAR and were admitted under 'special circumstances' claimed by mainland authorities. Another way of improving the quality of mainland migrants would be to allow mainland tertiary students to remain after completing their degrees. They should be issued a working visa if offered a job in the SAR and allowed to become a permanent resident after seven years. 'We can retain their expertise. It is just like the US which is open to talent from all over the world,' he said. 'The enrolment procedures of universities are open and fair. There is no need to worry about any abuses of the scheme.' Professor Liu said the scheme to employ professionals from 36 mainland universities had been a failure because the processing time was too long and the recruitment costs too high. Only 600 had been let in over the past three years. The quota was 1,000.