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National Insurance: Foreigners

Volume 473: debated on Thursday 13 March 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many national insurance numbers were held by non-UK citizens in (a) 1997, (b) 2002 and (c) the most recent year for which figures are available; and what each figure was as a percentage of total national insurance registrations. (162348)

Information on the totality of national insurance numbers held is not available broken down by nationality.

The number of new national insurance number registrations for adult foreign nationals by year of registration for 2002-03 and 2006-07 is published in Table 2 on page 16 of the report “National Insurance Number Allocations to Overseas Nationals entering the UK (previously Migrant Workers Statistics) 2007: Full Report” on the Department's website at:

No figures are available for 1997

The total number of national insurance numbers registered in 2006-07 was 1,539,000. This includes all adult registrations and those registered via the juvenile registration process just prior to age 16.

It is not possible to provide a direct comparison between the number of national insurance numbers registered to foreign nationals and the total number of national insurance numbers registered because some foreign nationals will obtain a national insurance number through the juvenile registration process and no numbers are available for this. Also, the data for adult foreign nationals and total NINO registrations are derived in different ways and captured over different periods.

The number of foreign nationals registered with NINOs does not indicate either the number of migrants coming to the UK or the number of foreign nationals in employment. The national insurance figures count all foreign nationals, including those who stay only briefly. Office for National Statistics immigration statistics define a migrant as someone who stays in the UK for at least a year. Equally, ONS figures are not restricted to arrivals allocated a NINO, for example, non-working students, and family members not requiring a national insurance number.