As a chartered QS I read the article about the plans of the new boss of the RICS to woo disgruntled QSs (16 April, page 13) with some personal interest, as well as some sense of humour

What struck me most was the president’s salary of £406,000. Did someone add a zero by accident? This news comes at a time when chartered surveyors’ salaries are starting at a mere £35,000 in London.

I am sorry to be so outspoken, but I am one of those chartered surveyors who rapidly worked out that if they were to have a modest house, a modest car, a modest pension, and a dependent partner for a few years while a modest-sized family was looked after, then they had better go overseas. The result was a disaster for my personal life. Also if one becomes an expatriate it normally means one’s partner has to give up work. So I view numerous articles in the RICS press encouraging chartered surveyors to flee overseas with a good deal of humour. I know what it is like,

I am an expatriate QS.

What made me laugh back in 2007 and 2008 was the RICS’ campaign to have overseas QSs given the same visa status as doctors or IT specialists, under the high skills migrant programme. Did they really expect a non-British QS to give up a tax-free salary in Dubai and run to the UK for work? Why waste the time and effort? Who thinks of these daft policies?

In addition, during the “boom” years of 2006, 2007 and 2008 I never noticed QS’ salaries rising in response to the allegedly greater demand for their skills. I think it is time for the oligopolistic employers to realise that if they are to attract people into the profession then they better start raising salaries in line with demand, when the demand is there.

As regards the RICS’ membership fees not rising by more than inflation: this is not exactly generous. I am not alone when I say I was only paid for three months of 2009. Moreover, most of my compatriots will have received pay cuts in the past 18 months.

If the RICS president is to make any headway with his members maybe it is time to he took a leaf out of the book of the mayor of Doncaster. He cut his salary from £73,000 to £30,000 and dispensed with his chauffeur-driven car.

Harvey Smith