‘Ban immigrant children from state schools for 5 yrs’ – Farage

Leader of the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) Nigel Farage (Reuters / Joshua Roberts)
The children of immigrants to the UK should not have access to state education until they have lived in the country for five years, UKIP leader Nigel Farage has controversially suggested.

He thinks parents who have migrated to Britain should have to pay for private education until their children qualify for a place at state school, in order to deter immigrants attracted by the UK’s education system.

The proposal has drawn criticism from those opposed to UKIP’s populist anti-immigrant policy, which has been branded “racist” by protest groups.

The ban features in the “What We Stand For” section of UKIP’s website. It states: “Immigrants must financially support themselves and their dependents for five years. This means private health insurance (except emergency medical care), education and housing.”

When questioned about the policy by the Guardian and Mirror newspapers, Farage said it would not appear in the election manifesto because it was a “difficult” issue, but added he was in favor of immigrants leaving their dependents in their country of origin.

The UKIP leader, who wants to introduce an Australian points-based migration system to the UK, said it was “not unusual” to deny recent immigrants access to healthcare and education.

“Basically, people would bring dependents, 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 dependents thing is much more difficult,” he said.

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“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.”

Farage was also asked whether his suggestion would mean that highly skilled workers would be prevented from bringing their dependents. He said “not to begin with … 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.”

He said he believed immigration was his party’s strongest policy “without any shadow of a doubt,” adding that it was more popular than their campaign to hold a referendum of Britain’s membership of the EU.

“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.”

Farage further said immigration had provided benefits for the extremely rich, who found it “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.

The group Stand Up to UKIP, which opposes Farage’s policies, claims the party has garnered support by presenting itself as anti-EU, while hiding its underlying message of racism.

It has built up its electoral base by both presenting itself as a party opposed to the European Union, but more importantly by spreading poisonous lies and hatred towards migrants and Muslims.”

“UKIP is also a party of bigots, sexists, Islamophobes and homophobes,” the group’s mission statement reads. “The rise of UKIP has parallels with other far right and fascist parties, which are growing across Europe.”