Canada will only grant visa-free travel for Special Administrative Region passport holders if it gets a guarantee Hong Kong takes back immigration offenders. Calls for such an agreement are a sign that the Canadian Government could be expecting an influx of asylum-seekers after the handover. But visiting Immigration Minister Lucienne Robillard was optimistic free movement could be extended to the 5.5 million people expected to be eligible for the SAR passports after 1997. She warned that 'problems' could be expected from recent Chinese announcements on consular protection for people returning to live in Hong Kong. Chinese will be required to register their foreign citizenship if they want consular protection. Otherwise they will be assumed to be Chinese nationals without consular access. 'For us this person will still be a Canadian but for the Chinese Government this person won't be if she has chosen to be a Chinese. So we can expect some problems here,' Ms Robillard said. The dilemma facing Ottawa is whether to allow the larger number of Hong Kong people entitled to SAR passports the same visa-free access as the 2.5 million holding British travel documents. Those travelling on a Certificate or Document of Identity, who will be eligible for the SAR documents next year, are required to obtain visas. Ms Robillard said Canada wanted 'in principle' to grant visa-free travel because of its links with Hong Kong, the largest source of its immigrants. However, she said more clarification was needed about the issuing process for the passport as well as right of abode issues and the agreement. Canada has no similar agreement with Beijing and Chinese nationals are required to have a visa because of the problems involved in returning them to China, Ms Robillard said. The minister denied the need for agreement was related to post-1997 concerns.