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National Insurance Numbers

Volume 458: debated on Wednesday 14 March 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions whether national insurance numbers will be issued to (a) non-working and (b) self-employed migrants to the UK from (i) Bulgaria and (ii) Romania after their accession to the EU. (102122)

The allocation of a national insurance number (NINO) is dependent upon satisfying certain employment and benefit-related criteria. Individuals who are employed, self-employed, in receipt of benefit, or the partner of a benefit claimant can be eligible for a NINO.

A non-working Bulgarian or Romanian national would be allocated with a NINO in order to apply for a benefit subject to satisfying the relevant benefit entitlement criteria and identity requirements. There are limited circumstances in which benefit entitlement would arise. For example a highly skilled migrant who holds an EEA registration certificate annotated to say that they have unrestricted access to the UK labour market and who meets the normal conditions of entitlement for income-based jobseeker’s allowance would have benefit entitlement.

A “right to work” condition was introduced into the NINO allocation and decision making process for employment-related applications. This was implemented in July 2006. Bulgarian and Romanian nationals who apply for a NINO for the purposes of self-employment will need to provide proof of their right to work in the UK, their self-employment status, and their identity before a NINO would be allocated.