Latest Update 2017-
For au pairs it is no longer straight forward to open a bank account. However, many au pairs manage well without a bank account; using a credit card from their home country to make any on-line payments, and receiving their weekly pocket money in cash. However if you still feel you need a card or account, our clients have told us they have been happy with alternative options like Revolut and Pockit. Please note, because au pairs are not employees, they are not required to have a bank account, however Employees and workers ARE required to have a bank account for their salary payments to be paid into.
Setting up a bank account can sometimes be tricky, it really depends on the particular branch’s bank manager. Also, no bank is keen to open an account where they think the account holder will only stay in the UK for a short time. So do emphasise that your helper is hopefully going to end up staying with you for years….
Usually where a candidate persists, she/he is able to open one in the end.
Your au pair/mother’s help/ elderly companion should go to the local bank/s and find out what documents they need to be able to open a bank account.
It is normally enough to take these documents:
- Letter of Invitation/ Contract between Family and Candidate
- Candidate’s Passport
- Letter written by the Family, stating that the Candidate is living at your home and is engaged as your au pair/ mother’s help/ elderly companion and does not have any utility bill in her/his own name at your address.
- For all employees, make an appointment to go to the Job Centre and obtain a National Insurance number. Give this to the bank, this will help with opening a bank account as well as registering with the local doctor’s surgery.
If it proves very difficult to open one, then ask around who else has been able to open an account locally and at which local branch.
Our understanding is that Employees with an NI number, working in the UK will always be able to open a bank account, so just persevere. For non-employee positions (au pair), particularly for those outside of Western Europe it could be more difficult. If it does not work at all then she/he would have to survive without a bank account, which is also possible.
If you have any information which we could add to this to help others, please let us know!