National Insurance Numbers and Illegal Immigrants

Part of Opposition Day — [6th allotted day] – in the House of Commons at 1:08 pm on 16 January 2008.

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Photo of Peter Hain Peter Hain The Secretary of State for Wales, The Secretary of State for Work and Pensions 1:08, 16 January 2008

That question does not merit an answer.

Under Labour today, a national insurance number can never be proof of anyone's right to work, as the hon. Member for Epsom and Ewell appears to believe and as he implied this afternoon. The previous Conservative Government believed that it should be and legislated to that effect. That is a crucial point. The Tories thought that a national insurance number should be a passport to work and legislated to that effect. I repeat that, under Labour today, the national insurance number on its own cannot be an automatic passport to a job. It is an administrative mechanism whereby we can track people's contributions to the national insurance system and record their entitlement to pensions and other benefits.

Of course, when the Conservatives were in power, illegal immigration and working were not the global phenomena they are now. That was not because they had well thought out policies to keep them under control. The main reason was that, under their stewardship, the economy was going to hell in a handcart. No one, especially not the 3 million unemployed, associated Britain with work.


Danny Rizo
Posted on 17 Jan 2008 6:58 pm (Report this annotation)

The Secretary of State is right to say that a "national insurance number on its own cannot be an automatic passport to a job". But does he recognize the fact that without one, the path to employment is completely blocked? In order words it is essential to have one? Does he admit to the fact that if an individual does not have a NINO his chances of gaining legal employment are absolutely and totally zero, thus making the NINO the quintessential document?