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Immigrants, banned from benefits

Minister Woolas announced 10-year ban and `probationary citizenship`

08 December 2008. Economic immigrants will have wait up to 10 years for the right to claim UK benefits and council housing. Also all legal migrants will have to serve a five year ‘probationary citizenship’ before being considered for a passport, immigration minister Phil Woolas revealed.

In an interview with The Sun, he said: "Entitlement to benefits should be for citizens of our country, not other people.

"If you are a citizen you have earned the right to benefits. People must show they are here to work.

"It has been too easy for illegal immigrants to stay in this country. We have not counted them in and out."

Those who stay out of trouble and do voluntary work will become eligible for benefits one or two years after five year `probationary citizenship`. Anyone who fails to meet the new rules would be forced to wait another five years before they could claim state benefits and social housing.

The plans are to be included in the new Borders, Immigration and Citizenship Bill, published in January 2009.

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