Employing migrant workers


National Insurance Numbers (NINOs)

Q46 - If a new employee only possesses a document with details of their NINO, does this establish a defence?

No. A document containing details of a person's NINO will no longer provide you with a defence on its own if produced to you by a job applicant starting work for you after 30 April 2004.

You will only have the statutory defence from 1 May 2004 if a document containing a person's permanent NINO is presented to you when presented with one of the other documents in List 2 at sections B-H.

The Government has made this change because the core purpose of the NINO is to link an individual to their social security contribution record. While the overwhelming majority of people who have a NINO can work in the UK, possession of a number does not always mean that the individual's immigration status allows them to undertake all forms of employment in the United Kingdom.

Back to top

Q47 - Can I accept any document which contains a NINO?

No. When checking for evidence of a person's NINO, it is important that you only accept a permanent number on the documents set out in List 2. The following will not provide you with evidence under section 8 that a person has a permanent number:
  • a card or certificate issued by the Inland Revenue under the Construction Industry Scheme (a CIS card); or
  • a document with an invalid NINO. This would include any temporary number beginning with TN, or any number ending in a letter from E to Z inclusive
Back to top

Q48 - What if a job applicant produces one of the documents from List 2, but does not have a document containing a NINO? Should I employ that person and obtain a NINO for them after they start working for me?

The overwhelming number of job applicants who do not possess national passports, but who are able to work here, will already have been issued with a NINO by the Department for Work and Pensions' Jobcentre Plus. You will need to have checked and copied a person's NINO, along with one of the other documents from List 2, B-H before employing them. If you do this then you will establish a defence.

If, however, you choose to employ someone who has one of the documents included in List 2 categories B-H, but does not have a permanent NINO, then you may face prosecution. Even if the individual concerned is in the process of applying for a NINO, there is no guarantee that you will not be prosecuted.

A person can apply for a NINO at their local Jobcentre Plus office. You can find the address and telephone number for your local office here. Further information about NINOs and the application process can be found on the NI Number section of the DWP website and an information leaflet can be downloaded here.

Back to top

Q49 - What if a UK resident who is under 20 applies for a job with me and claims they have not been issued with a NINO, but does have a full UK birth certificate?

Nearly all residents in the UK are automatically given a NINO as they approach age 16. On, or after reaching the age of 15, a young person will receive a small plastic card notifying them of their NINO.

A small number of young people may, however, miss the automatic registration process. Providing they are over age 15 years and 9 months and under 20 years of age, you should advise them to contact the Juvenile Registration Helpline on 0845 915 7006 which will ensure that they are registered and issued with a number quickly, providing they are entitled to one. You may wish to consider keeping a job offer open until that person has been issued with a number.

If an applicant is 20 years or over and does not have a NINO, then they will need to apply as an adult to their nearest Jobcentre Plus.

Back to top

Q50 - Do A8 workers need a NINO to prove that they have permission to work in the UK after 1 May 2004?

If a national of the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia or Slovenia provides a national passport or national identity card to an employer, then they will not be required to provide evidence of a valid National Insurance number to establish a defence under section 8. Nationals from all of these countries are free to work in the United Kingdom from 1 May 2004, but the worker may also be required to register under the Worker Registration Scheme (WRS).

If an individual needs a NINO, they can apply for one at their nearest Jobcentre Plus.

Back to top


Additional Info

Home Office. Building a safe, just and tolerant society

Contact Us | Site Map | Accessibility | Terms & Conditions | Freedom of Information | Cymraeg