Illegal immigrants get NI numbers


N

none

Illegal immigrants given NI numbers
1 June 2006

Ministers are to change the law "as soon as possible" to stop illegal
immigrants being given a national insurance number.

The move comes after it emerged thousands of people were issued with NI
documents despite doubts about their right to work in Britain.

In the face of suspicions that an applicant may have forged documents
and have no legal right to work, Jobcentre staff were told they have a
duty to issue NI numbers before passing details to the Immigration and
Nationality Directorate (IND) to consider prosecution.

A spokesman for the Department of Work and Pensions said on Thursday:
"The National Insurance system was set up in 1948 - times have
obviously changed since then.

"Having reviewed this issue, ministers have decided to change the law
as soon as possible so that people who have no right to live or work in
this country are not given a national insurance number."

The Home Office has said it does not know how many of the 3,300
applications passed to the IND last year had resulted in a prosecution,
leading to Tory claims of "a massive hole in our systems".

**************************************
so why are the DWP taking so much trouble hounding those who have paid
into the kitty and these guys get NI numbers
 
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M

Mike

none said:
Illegal immigrants given NI numbers
1 June 2006

Ministers are to change the law "as soon as possible" to stop illegal
immigrants being given a national insurance number.

The move comes after it emerged thousands of people were issued with NI
documents despite doubts about their right to work in Britain.

In the face of suspicions that an applicant may have forged documents
and have no legal right to work, Jobcentre staff were told they have a
duty to issue NI numbers before passing details to the Immigration and
Nationality Directorate (IND) to consider prosecution.

A spokesman for the Department of Work and Pensions said on Thursday:
"The National Insurance system was set up in 1948 - times have
obviously changed since then.

"Having reviewed this issue, ministers have decided to change the law
as soon as possible so that people who have no right to live or work in
this country are not given a national insurance number."

The Home Office has said it does not know how many of the 3,300
applications passed to the IND last year had resulted in a prosecution,
leading to Tory claims of "a massive hole in our systems".

**************************************
so why are the DWP taking so much trouble hounding those who have paid
into the kitty and these guys get NI numbers
I worked in NI allocations and my colleagues and I refused a number of
applications from people who had no right to work in the UK. We were
told in no uncertain terms that we could not refuse an NINo. all we
could do was alert immigration and give them an NINo.of course the
imm.rarely did anything & as far as the IR were concerned thay wanted
the revenue.

Of course having an NINo doesn't just make it easier to get work and
stay in the UK illegally it is a passport to the benefits system. The
DWP/IR does mark accounts with immigration int (to indicate no benefits
should be paid on the basis of their imm status as the time the NINo was
allocated. But as the central index is so antiquated there's no way of
the benefits office to know if an NINo was issued to someoen with no
right of abode here in the UK or not. It's only months (or years!)
later when a sweep is done that a potential error is identified and
investigated.

Mike
 
M

Martin Davies

none said:
Illegal immigrants given NI numbers
1 June 2006

Ministers are to change the law "as soon as possible" to stop illegal
immigrants being given a national insurance number.

The move comes after it emerged thousands of people were issued with
NI documents despite doubts about their right to work in Britain.

In the face of suspicions that an applicant may have forged documents
and have no legal right to work, Jobcentre staff were told they have a
duty to issue NI numbers before passing details to the Immigration and
Nationality Directorate (IND) to consider prosecution.

A spokesman for the Department of Work and Pensions said on Thursday:
"The National Insurance system was set up in 1948 - times have
obviously changed since then.

"Having reviewed this issue, ministers have decided to change the law
as soon as possible so that people who have no right to live or work
in this country are not given a national insurance number."

The Home Office has said it does not know how many of the 3,300
applications passed to the IND last year had resulted in a
prosecution, leading to Tory claims of "a massive hole in our
systems".

**************************************
so why are the DWP taking so much trouble hounding those who have paid
into the kitty and these guys get NI numbers
Eh?
What hounding have they done?

Wasn't aware other people got hounded to get given NI numbers.

Martin <><
 
I

izzix

The National Insurance scandal that ministers ignored
By JAMES SLACK, Daily Mail 07:44am 2nd June 2006

Comments Reader comments (25)
Josette Fitzpatrick


Warnings that thousands of National Insurance numbers were being handed
out to illegal immigrants were ignored by ministers for six years.

The revelation came as the Government finally promised to scrap a
policy of giving the numbers to people even if officials have grave
doubts about their right to work in the UK.

Related stories
· Exposed: The woman who 'helped fake citizenship tests'
· Why Britain needs this Tory vision

The Department for Work and Pensions promised to close the loophole as
'soon as possible'.

But it has known about the scandal since at least 2000 and did nothing,
it has emerged.

In a remarkable admission, a spokesman said last night: "Whether
applicants work legally or illegally has never been an issue."

Senior officials decided it would be too complicated to ask Job-centre
staff - who are in charge of giving out the numbers - to do checks on a
person's immigration status at the same time.

Ministers faced a barrage of questions over why it has taken so long to
end such blatant abuse of the system.

MPs demanded to know why a report submitted to ministers six years ago
by Lord Grabiner, QC, demanding reform of the system, was swept under
the carpet.

Astonishingly, five years after his report the policy of handing out NI
numbers to those with no right to be in the country was even officially
sanctioned.

In 2005, a memo from a senior Department for Work and Pensions official
said: "Where DWP is satisfied as to the individual's identity, a NI
number would be issued in this situation even if we have suspicions
around his immigration status."

Last night Shadow Home Secretary David Davis said: "Six years after
they were warned about this problem and told how to put it right, the
Government's left hand still doesn't seem to know what its right hand
is doing.

"This is a massive hole in our systems, both of benefits and
employment, and it is long past time it was put right.

"This is not just a massive administrative failure - it is a massive
failure of political will to get a grip on this problem."

The number of foreigners applying for National Insurance numbers was
440,000 last year, up from 350,000 in 2003.

Last month the Daily Mail revealed that up to 300,000 NI numbers were
being given to foreign nationals every year without even cursory checks
on their immigration status. They need only to produce documents
proving their identity, and proof they hold a job, and a NI number is
handed over.

Now it has emerged that, even when officials suspect the documents are
forged, they still issue the migrant with a number.

The case is then supposed to be referred to the Home Office's shambolic
Immigration and Nationality Directorate for further investigation This
happened in 3,300 cases last year - but the Home Office is unable to
say if anybody was prosecuted or action taken.

The 2005 memo, written by Gary Gibson of the Identity and Security
Branch, Programme Protection Division, at Jobcentre Plus, made it plain
that a person's immigration status was a matter for the IND only.

It said: "Any prosecution action in respect of falsified immigration
documentation would be the responsibility of IND - NOT DWP."

Lord Grabiner, a Labour peer, said his report into the black economy in
2000 had warned of abuse of the system.

It said: "There are a number of ways of abusing National Insurance
numbers but, in respect of the hidden economy, the most significant is
the acquisition of a number by an individual not entitled to work."

Facing the Home Affairs Committee two weeks ago, DWP chief economist
Jonathan Portes admitted the problem was well known in the department -
but had not been stopped.

He told MPs: "It is something that has occurred to us."

'Significant policy change'

Mr Portes said it would be 'a significant policy change' to train
Jobcentre staff to check a migrant's right to be in the country and it
would add hugely to their workload.

He added: "In terms of numbers, I think we issue in the order of
200,000-300,000 NI numbers a year to foreign nationals; so that sort of
number we would be talking about."

In his evidence to MPs, he also admitted: "The important point for us
is that National Insurance numbers are an internal reference number
that lets us link an individual with their social security, or their
child support, or their tax contribution record.

"It is not proof of their identity, and it is not supposed to be proof
that you are entitled to work. It is not supposed to provide a rigorous
check on immigration status."

Critics say one reason for the Government's slowness to act is the
benefit for Chancellor Gordon Brown.

Once people have an NI number they are liable to pay tax and National
Insurance, even if they are not legally entitled to work. The DWP
yesterday said that it planned to have the loophole closed by the end
of July. It requires a change to the law so that those in work are not
automatically entitled to an NI number, regardless of their status.

Insiders said the Work and Pensions Secretary, John Hutton, had only
personally become aware of the loophole after the select committee
hearing. A spokesman said: "Having reviewed this issue, ministers have
decided to change the law as soon as possible so that people who have
no right to live or work in this country are not given a National
Insurance number."

Liberal Democrat spokesman Nick Clegg said it was clear at least 3,300
illegals had been given NI numbers last year, as this was the number
with forged documents spotted by DWP staff.

He added: "Failing to check the immigration status of individuals
seeking NI numbers is one thing, but deliberately issuing those numbers
even when the Department for Work and Pensions suspects, and in some
cases knows, the document to be forged is a travesty of the system in
place."

The revelations are the latest to hit the Government's immigration
policy, plagued by accusations of a lack of 'joined-up' management.

Last week new Home Secretary John Reid dubbed the operation 'not fit
for purpose'.

Got a job? Have a number

Under Government rules, a National Insurance number cannot be denied to
anyone who has secured a job in the UK.

So for an illegal immigrant trying to give some legitimacy to their
status, this means the first step is gaining employment.

Firms are supposed to check a person's entitlement to work in the UK by
asking for a visa, passport or letter from the Home Office. Some simply
do not bother, while others are duped by fake documents.

Once a job is secured, the migrant asks for a letter to take to the
Jobcentre. Here, they must show both the letter and proof of their ID
to obtain an NI number.

The only check carried out by staff is that the person is who they say
- not whether they are legally in the UK. Once their identity is
established, the NI number is handed over, even if the documents used
to establish ID are forged or suspect.

An NI number is crucial in unlocking the door to thousands of pounds of
benefits, including jobseeker's allowance. Before a person can make any
claim for housing benefit, tax credits, jobseeker's allowance or any
other state handout, they must have a number to present to officials.

Comment Add your comment | View all Reader comments (25)

25 people have commented on this story so far. Tell us what you think
below.

Here's a sample of the latest comments published. You can click view
all to read all comments that readers have sent in.

Why are people complaining? Sure beats me.
Labour was always like this - great at handing out taxpayers' money to
any dead-beat with a tin cup. They were doing it in the 60's when I
bailed out and have just got better at it over the years.
Brits have a great facility for voting in really awful governments and
then complaining about them. This is the third time this shower have
been elected. If you want it to stop it's very simple - vote for
someone else!

- Barry Mckay, Ottawa, Canada

Us idiots that have paid into the system for years can expect about
£84 a week max when we retire in a few years time. I fortunately
haven't needed to take that much out of the Health Service, nor have my
kids. If I had saved my NI contributions myself in some high interest
account during my working life and not left it to the government to
take it away from my earnings at source, I would be rolling in money
now. Once the governments has the money, they by and large waste it.

- Liz, Bristol, UK
 
I

izzix

The Home Office has not just lost control - it's given up trying
By Tom Utley
(Filed: 19/05/2006)

In most weeks, the news that the Home Office had accidentally repealed
an extremely important law would have caused quite a stir. Yesterday,
however, the fact that it may now be perfectly legal to carry a forged
passport, because of yet another blunder by this most chaotic
department of state, made only a short item on page six of my edition
of The Daily Telegraph.

We have all become so used to tales of monstrous incompetence -
dangerous criminals lost without trace, no attempts made to trace
illegal immigrants or to enforce deportation orders - that we greet
each new instance of bungling with a weary shrug: "Oh, well, it's New
Labour's Home Office. What do you expect?"

According to Criminal Law Week, the forged-passport fiasco arose when
the new ID Cards Act gained Royal Assent in March. A clause in the Act,
which gives the Government the power to go ahead with its ID cards
scheme, repealed an important section of the 25-year-old law banning
fake passports - the Forgery and Counterfeiting Act 1981.

Nobody at the Home Office seems to have spotted that the Act charged
ahead with scrapping old laws, without bothering to put any new ones in
their place.

Because of all the confusion, a court case involving two men who are
said to have been caught with forged passports has already had to be
adjourned.

You could argue, I suppose, that it doesn't really matter if a British
passport is forged, at a time when the Home Office is dishing out the
genuine articles to all and sundry, whether they are entitled to them
or not.

Lots of real passports simply go missing and never find their way to
their legitimate owners. It emerged only yesterday that 1,500 UK
passports that should have been sent to their owners by the UK Passport
Service had been lost over the past two years.

As Damian Green, the shadow immigration minister, said: "A criminal who
has obtained [somebody else's] genuine passport could well use it to
obtain a genuine ID card under a fraudulent identity."

On Wednesday, we learnt that no checks are made on the immigration
status of applicants for National Insurance numbers - the first step on
the way to a state pension and all the other benefits funded by British
taxpayers.

All you have to do is pitch up at the local Jobcentre and say: "Hi! My
name's Osama bin Laden. I've just flown in from Pakistan [or
Afghanistan, or Sudan, or Switzerland, as the case may be]. Give me an
NI number." You don't even have to say "please".

The clerk behind the desk will stifle a bureaucratic yawn and hand over
the necessary documents. I have heard it said that there are now more
NI numbers than there are people officially resident in the United
Kingdom.

The fact is that the Home Office has completely lost control of the
numbers of foreigners who flow over our borders. Worse than that, it
has given up trying. I have a great deal of sympathy with Dave Roberts,
the director of enforcement and removals at the Immigration and
Nationality Directorate.

At least he was honest, when he faced the all-party Commons Home
Affairs Committee on Tuesday.

How many people were in Britain illegally? "I haven't the faintest
idea," he said. How many failed asylum seekers simply ignored their
instructions to leave? "I haven't got that figure." OK, then, how many
bogus asylum seekers had been told to leave? He admitted that he didn't
know that, either.

The poor man is so weighed down by the sheer numbers of liars and
chancers who have flooded into Britain during Labour's term, alongside
all the countless tens of thousands of lawful immigrants, that he
cannot begin to keep track of what is going on. And it is not really
his fault.

When ministers make policies these days, they make them because they
hope that voters will like the sound of the noises that come out of
their mouths - and to hell with the practicalities of putting their
"eye-catching initiatives" into action. They "crack down" on this or
that - foxhunting, childhood obesity, anti-social behaviour or

illegal immigration - without a thought to the administrative
difficulties of putting their policies into action. When things go
wrong, as they inevitably do, their first instinct is to blame their
civil servants.

It used to be said (although nobody dares to say it any more) that
Britain's National Health Service was the envy of the world. It is
still said, and up to a point it remains true, that our Civil Service
is the envy of the world.

It is certainly less corrupt than most other countries' bureaucracies,
and parts of it remain moderately efficient. But how much longer can
our civil servants be expected to do their jobs well, while the
Government goes on making intolerable demands of them?

What is quite clear is that the Home Office has completely broken down
under the weight of Mr Blair's initiatives. It is an utter shambles -
and its employees cannot begin to cope with the work that has already
piled up in their in-trays.

Yet this is the department that is supposed to be introducing ID cards
- one of the most ambitious and expensive schemes ever proposed by a
British government in peacetime. It is a massive bureaucratic cock-up
just waiting to happen.

Setting up a national biometric database is likely to cost anything
between £10.6 billion and £19.2 billion (this being a Home Office
project, nobody can be more precise than that).

Every one of us will then be expected to pay something like £100 for
the privilege of queuing up at a police station to have our
fingerprints taken and our irises scanned. After all that expense, we
will be given a piece of plastic that will do nothing to cut crime or
benefits fraud - still less terrorism or illegal immigration.

Tony Blair proposed ID cards for the same reason that he championed so
many of his other initiatives: he thought that they sounded kinda
modern, and European, and tough - and never mind the practicalities of
administering them.

Never mind that countless thousands of these cards are likely to be
dished out to people who have no right to them, or that thousands of
others will go astray, and others again will be forged. It is said that
many Spanish citizens, perfectly entitled to official ID cards, prefer
to buy forgeries because they are just as good as the real thing - and
much cheaper.

The Government admitted yesterday that it would take at least a decade
to clear the backlog of illegal immigration cases that has mounted up
over the past few years. Why can't we all agree to put ID cards on hold
until the Home Office has caught up with the work already on its plate?
With a bit of luck, New Labour and its ill-thought-out schemes will be
a distant memory by then.
 
A

anthonyberet

On Wednesday, we learnt that no checks are made on the immigration
status of applicants for National Insurance numbers - the first step on
the way to a state pension and all the other benefits funded by British
taxpayers.
it does have to be said that to qualify for a state pension one does
have to make the right amount of NI contributions - and the NINO is how
these are recorded.
All you have to do is pitch up at the local Jobcentre and say: "Hi! My
name's Osama bin Laden. I've just flown in from Pakistan [or
Afghanistan, or Sudan, or Switzerland, as the case may be]. Give me an
NI number." You don't even have to say "please".
That isn't strictly true - one also has to show that one has been
offered a job (and the employer is responsible for checking the right to
work), or that oneis entitled to benefits (which have separate checks -
the NINO does not entitle a person to benefits in and of itself).
The clerk behind the desk will stifle a bureaucratic yawn and hand over
the necessary documents. I have heard it said that there are now more
NI numbers than there are people officially resident in the United
Kingdom.
Anecdotally there are 20 million more NINOs than citizens of the
country. This isn't as bad as it sounds, as visitors to the country need
NINOs to record tax and NI, and they often leave (think of all those
young Australians that come on long working holidays but who go home
after a year or so).
There are also active NINOs associated with dead people, if their
partners are getting widows pensions.

The DWP have done nothing wrong here. There is a misconception that
NINOs show that a person has the right to work or claim benefits - that
is not the purpose or use of a NINO.

Having said that, I welcome this spotlight on the IND, as they are crap.
 
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M

Martin Davies

anthonyberet said:
On Wednesday, we learnt that no checks are made on the immigration
status of applicants for National Insurance numbers - the first step
on the way to a state pension and all the other benefits funded by
British taxpayers.
it does have to be said that to qualify for a state pension one does
have to make the right amount of NI contributions - and the NINO is
how these are recorded.
All you have to do is pitch up at the local Jobcentre and say: "Hi!
My name's Osama bin Laden. I've just flown in from Pakistan [or
Afghanistan, or Sudan, or Switzerland, as the case may be]. Give me
an NI number." You don't even have to say "please".
That isn't strictly true - one also has to show that one has been
offered a job (and the employer is responsible for checking the right
to work), or that oneis entitled to benefits (which have separate
checks - the NINO does not entitle a person to benefits in and of
itself).
The clerk behind the desk will stifle a bureaucratic yawn and hand
over the necessary documents. I have heard it said that there are
now more NI numbers than there are people officially resident in the
United Kingdom.
Anecdotally there are 20 million more NINOs than citizens of the
country. This isn't as bad as it sounds, as visitors to the country
need NINOs to record tax and NI, and they often leave (think of all
those young Australians that come on long working holidays but who go
home after a year or so).
There are also active NINOs associated with dead people, if their
partners are getting widows pensions.

The DWP have done nothing wrong here. There is a misconception that
NINOs show that a person has the right to work or claim benefits -
that is not the purpose or use of a NINO.

Having said that, I welcome this spotlight on the IND, as they are
crap.
True.
A NINO is merely a tool - useful to individuals and government departments.
Good old media making sure people get a story. Which isn't the same as
making sure people get the facts.

Martin <><
 

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