A GROUP of Preliminary Working Committee (PWC) members will pay an unprecedented visit to the Immigration Department tomorrow to watch how the Government handles sensitive passport issues. The members, including Vice-Minister of Public Security Bureau Tian Qiyu and head of the political department of the Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office Xu Ze, will see machine-readable passports being produced by computer. China is finalising preparations for issuing the new passports of the Special Administrative Region without having made clear whether it wants the Immigration Department to be involved. There are, however, growing signs of a warming of ties between the China-appointed PWC and government officials. While the PWC is being shown over Immigration Tower in Wan Chai, some of Hong Kong's top officials from the disciplinary forces will be attending a lunch hosted by Mr Tian. Mr Tian is to speak about the cross-border battle against crime. The tour of the Immigration Department was initiated by director Laurence Leung Ming-yin and is described by officials as a practical move to increase contacts on all-important issues of nationality and travel arrangements. Rita Fan Hsu Lai-tai, the Hong Kong co-convenor of the PWC's social and security panel, said the invitation was a good step towards more contact between the Government and the PWC. 'I believe many people would like to see the PWC and Government developing contacts and having frequent exchanges of views. This will be conducive to the stable transition of sovereignty and we hope that this trend will continue,' she said. Mr Leung visited Beijing last month to brief PWC security sub-group members on right of abode and passport issues. A government official insisted there was no change to the policy governing contacts between the PWC and civil servants and government officials. 'There's no ban on contacts,' he said. However, the Government still prohibits officials from attending formal PWC meetings or becoming PWC members or advisers. Mr Leung and the heads of the five disciplinary forces, including Police Commissioner Eddie Hui Ki-on, are to attend Mr Tian's lunch. Leaders of each of the disciplinary forces' staff associations are also on the guest list. Meanwhile, Hong Kong Monetary Authority chief executive Joseph Yam Chi-kong, Secretary for the Treasury Kwong Ki-chi and Secretary for Financial Services-designate Raphael Hui Si-yan will attend the international monetary symposium next Thursday. Director of Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office Lu Ping is booked to speak.