A Government minister has said Russian nationals blocked from entering the UK would not be able to get around it by getting an Israeli visa instead.
Baroness Williams of Trafford was responding to a question in the House of Lords from Lord Balfe, who asked about “the ability of Russian citizens who have been denied visas to enter the UK to circumvent this restriction by taking citizenship of Israel”.
Balfe’s question is likely to have been lodged in response to news that Chelsea Football Club’s billionaire Russian owner Roman Abramovich, who is Jewish, had obtained Israeli citizenship after he found himself without a visa in Britain.
Analysts said the Government had decided to clamp down on oligarchs known to be close to Russian President Vladimir Putin in the wake of the Salisbury nerve agent attack on a former Russian spy.
Israeli citizens do not need a visa to enter the UK if the purpose of travel is to visit for up to six months, but Williams said a non-visa national “would still require leave to enter the UK, which would be assessed against the immigration rules at the border by a Border Force officer.
She added: “Where a person has previously been refused a visa, this would be identified and considered as part of the assessment on whether to refuse or grant leave to enter.”