Newly recognised refugees face major barriers to opening a bank account. They typically do not have the documents that most banks require to set up a bank account, and often have limited knowledge of how the UK banking system works and the options available to them.
To address this issue, the Refugee Council has created a banking guide to help make this process easier for refugees. The guide explains how bank accounts work in the UK, the documents that banks require applicants to provide, how to make an application for a new account and tips for avoiding financial scams.
Andy Hewett, Head of Advocacy at the Refugee Council, said:
“Opening a bank account is an urgent priority for refugees once they have been granted refugee status – without a bank account they cannot receive any income, pay bills or start a tenancy. Newly recognised refugees have just 28 days to solve these issues; after that, the government support ends and this leaves many refugees at high risk of homelessness and destitution.
Helping refugees to set up a basic bank account quickly and easily is critical to ensuring they can secure a home and a means of supporting themselves before the 28 day move-on period ends.”