News that Hong Kong and mainland authorities have reached agreement on allowing mainlanders to visit the SAR more frequently will provide little relief to those right of abode seekers who have lost their bids to stay here. After all, there is a world of difference between being allowed to make frequent visits to see one's loved ones and being permitted to stay with them for good. But it is a sign of progress that the restrictive policies that govern the movement of mainlanders to the SAR are due for further relaxation. At present, mainland residents with relatives in Hong Kong may visit the SAR on two-way permits up to two times a year, and stay for up to three months on each visit. Details of the new arrangement are still under wraps. But if this group of mainlanders is allowed to make one more visit of three-months duration, they will then be able to spend three-quarters of a year here with their families. In a sense, this would amount to a de facto family reunion. But it would be wrong for the authorities to think that this would obviate the need to tackle the rightful claims of abode seekers. At its root, it remains fundamentally wrong for the Government to have stripped them of their right to stay here by twisting the plain meaning of the Basic Law that says the children of Hong Kong permanent residents have right of abode in the SAR. It is also unfair that whereas a Hong Kong resident who marries a foreigner can bring his or her spouse and children to the SAR with minimal fuss, he cannot do so if his loved ones are from the mainland. Since mainlanders looking up their relatives in Hong Kong are barred from working or going to school here, allowing them to make more frequent visits will bring only limited relief. This is because, apart from housewives, young children before school age and retirees, few can afford to visit their families in the SAR for extended periods of time. Meanwhile, the daily quota of allowing 150 mainlanders to settle in Hong Kong is defective in two ways. First, it is far from adequate to cope with the large number of mainlanders with a legitimate claim to come here. Second, the exit criteria applied by the mainland authorities practically bar skilled mainlanders from coming to enrich our talent pool. These are the issues the Chief Executive must address without delay as he overhauls Hong Kong's population policy - a pledge he made during his campaign for a second term.