Nepal's Consul-General says he expects visa-free entry for his countrymen to be restored in an agreement with the Immigration Department. Pradhumna Shah said yesterday he was confident the travel privilege, removed last week, would be returned following a meeting between his Prime Minister and Tung Chee-hwa. Mr Tung had told premier Girija Prasad Koirala that the consul and immigration officials should meet and find an 'amicable solution', said Mr Shah, who was present during their meeting on Monday. 'I am very optimistic the [visa-free] system can be restored.' Its removal and the need for Nepalese travellers to now apply for visas from the Chinese Embassy in Kathmandu would hurt growing business and tourism, Mr Shah said. A new air services agreement between the SAR and the mountain kingdom was signed recently, expanding Royal Nepal Airlines' seating capacity from 600 to 900 a week. Dragonair is expected to resume charter flights next month. The move by immigration officials, who cited a problem with overstayers and forged documents as the reason for removing the one-month visa-free entry, met with opposition from the 50,000-strong Nepalese community. A government source said Mr Tung and other officials at the meeting did not make a 'commitment to do anything' but indicated the visa requirement would be reviewed later.