UK to review visas for wealthy foreign nationals amid concern over Russian involvement in Salisbury poisoning

Checks on loopholes were not specifically focused on Russia, PM says

Theresa May
Theresa May

Theresa May said the government is conducting a review of visas issued to wealthy foreign nationals as part of the UK’s response to Russia’s suspected involvement in the nerve agent attack in Salisbury.

Answering questions about the government’s stance on Russia, Ms May told the Commons Liaison Committee that Britain's interior minister was reviewing investor visas.

However, she insisted the checks on possible loopholes were not specifically focused on Russia.

"I think it is right that we look generally to see whether this is a part of our visa regime which is being used properly," she said.

Britain has ordered the expulsion of 23 Russian diplomats and has said it will consider other measures following the 4 March poisoning of former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter with what London says was a Soviet-era nerve agent.

May said 25 countries have now moved to expel Russian diplomats and she also noted NATO's decision to expel seven diplomats from Russia's mission to the alliance.

"I welcome the international support that we have garnered," she said. "This isn't just a matter of the UK position and working with the UK. I think it is the national security interests of the countries concerned."

The international reaction “has demonstrated to the Kremlin that we will not tolerate their attempts to flout international law, undermine our values or threaten our security”, she said.

She added: “It is also important to note that our partners are not only taking these measures out of solidarity with the UK, but also because they recognise the threat that these Russian networks pose to the security of their own countries and the pattern of Russian aggression which has affected us all.”

Despite frosty relations between the two nations, Ms May sent a letter of condolence to Russian president Vladimir Putin after the deaths of 64 people in a shopping centre fire in Siberia.

Reuters contributed to this report

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