Nigel Farage: 'Ban immigrants from claiming benefits for five years'

Ukip leader said there should also be a five-year ban on immigrants settling in the UK

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Indy Politics

Nigel Farage has waded into the debate on immigration again, this time by calling for a five-year ban on immigrants settling in the UK.

The leader of the UK Independence Party also said all immigrants should be banned from claiming benefits for five years after arriving into Britain and said there should be no “open door” for migrants from Bulgaria and Romania.

Mr Farage said the ban on immigrants settling would remain while Britain’s immigration policy was "sorted", telling the BBC Radio 4 Today programme: “In terms of immigration, in terms of people coming to settle, I would suggest that for up to a five-year period we don't have people coming to settle until we sort out the mess.“

His comments came two days after he provoked wide-spread anger by expressing his agreement with the "basic principle" of some of the sentiments in Enoch Powell’s notorious “rivers of blood” speech.

He said Ukip did not have a total policy solution to immigration but he did advocate an Australian-style immigration policy of temporary work permits, “that says we want highly skilled people […] who will contribute to British life and the British economy.”

“Let's be flexible on work permits, let's recognise that we do have some skills shortages in the British economy - which is very much a failure of our education system,” he said.

Mr Farage told the programme he wanted to see a decrease in immigration levels, even if it came at the cost of damage to the overall British economy.

“If you said to me 'Would you want to see over the next 10 years a further 5 million people come into Britain and if that happened we would all be slightly richer?', I would say 'Actually, do you know what? I would rather we weren't slightly richer and I would rather we had communities that felt more united and I would rather have a situation where young unemployed British people had a realistic chance of getting a job.

"So, yes, I do think the social side of this matters more than pure market economics."