§ Lynne Jones
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what his policy is on the issuing of national insurance numbers to asylum seekers who have been given permission to work; and what the average time for issuing of NI numbers has been from the date of application in the last 12 months. 
§ Malcolm Wicks
Asylum seekers who have been granted permission to work should apply for a National Insurance number if they are working or claiming a 271W benefit. A person applying for a National Insurance number will be invited to attend an evidence of identity interview at their local Benefits Agency office and complete the relevant documentation for the allocation of a National Insurance number to be considered.
Information about the overall length of time taken for an application for a National Insurance number to be processed is not held.