LAWYERS and politicians yesterday urged the SAR and mainland authorities urgently to join forces to prevent an uncontrolled influx of two-way permit overstayers. Following the Immigration Department's decision yesterday to register more than 300 overstayers seeking to apply for permits on their own recognisance, executive councillor Tam Yiu-chung expressed concern over a possible rush of two-way permit holders from the mainland. 'The Immigration Department needs to carefully consider whether it will issue walkabout permits to these mainlanders,' Mr Tam said. 'We hope the Government will carefully consider this. The relevant authorities on the mainland should also take complementary steps so there will not be an influx of mainland people to the SAR.' Barrister and independent legislator Margaret Ng Ngoi-yee also urged that a scheme be set up as soon as possible to prevent an influx of two-way permit holders. 'I think it is very tempting, because the less clear the situation, the more people will want to come and try their luck,' Ms Ng said. 'On the face of it, there seems to be a strong case for these overstayers to be entitled to the special treatment. They have already come to Hong Kong.' Even with the present overstayers, it would be reasonable for the department to take a cautious attitude towards issuing walkabout permits, Ms Ng said. Lawyer Pam Baker, representing 18 overstayers released on bail pending judicial review of their right to remain in Hong Kong to apply for the certificate of entitlement, said the registration scheme for walkabout permits was a positive step. 'I think it's good. Maybe the Government is just playing for time, but to me it seems like a good sign. These [demonstrators] are the same as the 18 test cases.' Even though the overstayers can be arrested and deported if found they do not have the right of abode, Ms Baker did not foresee any problems. 'It would be silly to arrest them and then to find that they qualify for a permit to be here on self-recognisance.' She urged Hong Kong and the mainland to get together and organise a scheme to be run by the Hong Kong Immigration Department in co-operation with the mainland authorities. 'They have got to get their act together. These people have waited 20 years and there is no way they are going to go home. You need someone with vision to set up a scheme that is reasonable. I'm sure these people will accept this,' Ms Baker said.