OTHER countries will not necessarily grant visa-free status to the Special Administrative Region (SAR) passport just because Britain does so, legislators Christine Loh Kung-wai and Margaret Ng Ngoi-yee said yesterday. Speaking on their return from the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Auckland, with independent Elizabeth Wong Chien Chi-lien, Ms Loh said they had discussed the granting of visa-free travel status to holders of British National Overseas and SAR passports after 1997 with many delegations. There was a misconception in Hong Kong and the China-appointed Preliminary Working Committee that nations would grant such status to the SAR passport if London took the lead. 'This is not necessarily the case. Countries look at the issue as one of immigration and security, not diplomacy,' she said. Ms Loh said countries wanted firm assurances about who would be entitled to the document. 'They fear people other than SAR permanent residents can also hold the SAR passport in the light that many mainlanders want to go to other countries [and not come back to China],' she said. Ms Loh said other countries also wanted clarifications on detailed arrangements for the SAR passports. 'The earlier China can give firm assurances, the earlier other countries can start looking' into the issue, she said. Ms Loh added some countries would wait to see the political climate in Hong Kong before deciding, saying: 'Realistically, countries are going to be assessing whether people are going to want to leave [Hong Kong] as well.'