A team of immigration officers will be dispatched to the mainland to issue visas and answer inquiries under a plan being considered by Beijing. Immigration director Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee said the officers would initially operate from an office the SAR Government was seeking to establish in the capital. Duties would include granting visas to foreigners, permits for visiting and immigrating Chinese as well as inquiries. It would be the first department to send a permanent team with specific duties to the mainland, apart from the general representative office being developed by the Constitutional Affairs Bureau. Offices could also be set up in Shanghai and Shenzhen should there be enough demand, said Mrs Ip. Foreigners from about 30 countries who are required to obtain visas for Hong Kong visits have expressed frustration with post-handover arrangements while travelling in China. They included travellers from Eastern Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States, which arose from the former Soviet Union, who are required to apply for travel permits before coming to Hong Kong partly because of concerns about the spread of the Russian mafia. Before the handover, travellers were able to obtain visas from the British Embassy in Beijing. But the visa-issuing responsibility abroad has passed to Chinese missions around the world, except on the mainland where none exist. 'I believe the problem will be solved when the SAR Government has set up an office in Beijing,' said Mrs Ip.