Children of immigrants should not be allowed state education for five years, says Nigel Farage

Instead migrants would have to pay for private education until their children qualified

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Indy Politics

Children of new immigrants should not be allowed to be state educated until they have lived in the UK for five years, Nigel Farage has suggested.

Instead migrants would have to pay for private education until their children qualified.

The policy is stated on the What We Stand For section of Ukip’s website. “Immigrants must financially support themselves and their dependants for five years,” it reads. “This means private health insurance (except emergency medical care), education and housing.”

Asked whether he agreed with this policy, Mr Farage said it was a “difficult” issue and would not be in the party’s election manifesto, but said he was in favour of preventing new migrants from bringing their dependents with them to start with and said their children should not be given the automatic right to attend state schools when they did arrive.

Mr Farage said it was “not unusual” for countries to require new migrants to pay for healthcare and education and Britain would replicate “most countries in the world” by doing so.

Asked about how the policy would work, Mr Farage said: “Basically, people would bring dependants, not immediately. They would bring them after a period of time. I think the most important thing is that those that come do have healthcare. That’s really, really important, and on the life-threatening disease stuff, that’s perfectly clear ... The dependants thing is much more difficult.

“But I wouldn’t foresee people coming into Britain immediately being allowed to bring children to go through the state system. Except for very high earners, it wouldn’t be very relevant.”

Ukip wants to introduce an Australian points-based system in the UK and supports a five year ban on unskilled migrants.

Asked whether he would like to see even highly skilled migrants prevented from bringing in their dependents, he said: “Not to begin with,” Sometimes they do. If I got a work permit in America for two years and I went with my family, I would have to pay for education and health.”

Ukip’s stance on immigration was the party’s strongest policy “without any shadow of a doubt,” Mr Farage said. It was even more popular than its campaign for a referendum on Britain’s membership of the European Union.

“I think we’re going to talk about a range of things, but I think it is absolutely a key issue and I think the others have now decided not to talk about it,” he said. “Which in many ways makes my life a lot easier. A lot easier. They will talk about NHS, they will talk about the economy and try and claim both of those issues as their own. So I think they’ve made it easy for us.”

Immigration had only benefited the rich, he said, who found it “fantastic” and “wonderful”.

“If you employ chauffeurs, and nannies and gardeners, then the eastern European opening of the doors has been great. I never said it was bad for everybody,” he added.