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Provide a national insurance number when work permit granted

Comment 5th July 2010

Whenever a non-British / EU passport holder wishes to enter the UK they are required to have a work permit.

However, once they start working, their employer will ask them for a national insurance number.  This is not a requirement to start work, but HM Revenue & Customs expect all employees, in time, to obtain a number.

This is granted after the employee attends an interview at Job Centre Plus, which usually has to be booked weeks or even months in advance.

My idea is why not simply grant a national insurance number when the work permit is issued? 

The interview system is presumably in part to protect the Taxpayer from NI number applicants applying for social security benefits as soon as they get the number.  The solution to that is simple – put a time limit of, say, 2 years before any social security benefits can be paid.

Why does this matter?

The idea would save the time and cost of needless interviews by Job Centre Plus staff.  This allows them to focus on their primary function, which is to find jobs for unemployed people.

My idea will also save the time and inconvenience of those who previously had to apply for national insurance numbers and book time off work to apply for the number.

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