15 Aug 2023
No matter how much the technology grows and never mind the mushroom growth of innumerable online money transfer companies, segments of the Pakistani diaspora still send money to Pakistan through banks.
A report by the Pilot Guides estimated that about 9 million Pakistani expatriates live in different countries worldwide, with about 1.5 million living in the UK. The UK hosts the second-largest Pakistani diaspora population after Saudi Arabia hosting around 2.6 million.
These Pakistani migrants travel to developed countries for want of jobs with better financial prospects because they cannot find one in their native country.
Of all the developed countries, the UK has always been the top choice for Pakistani migrants seeking jobs and a host of other reasons. They work in the UK to earn a living and then find different means to transfer funds back home.
Several migrants still think banks are the best way to transfer funds across borders, despite several challenges banks face in their remittance operations.
But have you ever thought why some of you would still want to transfer your funds through banks that offer some archaic methods of doing so? What opening a bank account in the UK will take? And most important, what type of bank account would you need, particularly as an expatriate, because your financial needs as a native are different from an expatriate’s financial needs?
All of these are important questions that this blog intends to answer.
But first, let’s take a few reasons which compel Pakistani migrants to travel to the United Kingdom.
The following are a few reasons that attract migrants from across the world to the United Kingdom.
The UK’s robust economy offers many jobs to both the natives and Pakistani migrants, who travel abroad to earn money and then support their families back home through a repeated money transfer to Pakistan from UK.
The country gets huge investments from foreign countries which expands the job market with multiple opportunities appearing frequently.
The degrees in the UK are recognised worldwide, and if you graduate from any university in the UK, you are highly likely to get an international job as soon as you graduate.
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Other important reasons include the country’s top healthcare, ease of getting around, socialising with locals, etc.
All of these reasons create an immense appeal for outsiders, including those from Pakistan, to visit the country for work and education.
Let’s now see what it takes to open a bank account in the UK.
Having a bank account serves your financial well-being best as far as your financial management is concerned.
Keeping your funds in a bank account is as good as having them not!
Think about it.
If you want to withdraw cash, you can easily do so without time restrictions anywhere. It is akin to having your cash with you readily, and do not withdraw your cash if you do not need it, which is akin to not having it.
When you want to open a bank account in the UK, you will be required to produce some documents, which are different, for the following three purposes.
But remember that each bank’s document requirement varies slightly from the other.
You will be required to produce the following to prove your identification:
Banks in the UK will ask you to produce the following documents to prove your address:
Since the migrant footprint in the UK is huge, the country has recently relaxed its document requirement for newcomers.
The requirements, however, may include:
With the provision of these requirements, you can easily open a bank account for better financial management, safe keeping of funds or an online money transfer from UK to Pakistan, which you will do as a routine during the course of your stay as a Pakistani migrant.
You can opt for a variety of bank accounts in the UK, including the following.
It is a kind of account that you can open conveniently if you do not qualify for other accounts. Such an account, however, does not offer benefits that come with other account types.
This account allows you to make routine transactions, withdrawals, payments, etc. It comes with a debit card to provide you easy access to your funds and deposit.
This account type offers you interest on your deposit on an annual basis. Interest depends on the deposit and a bank’s and the country’s economic policies. But you cannot access your funds through a debit card in this account.
This account will serve you better if you are an international traveller, as its financial services will be largely available worldwide, making overseas payments easy.
These accounts serve the students best. These come with the added advantage of payments, low service charges, and overdrafts to help students with their studies.
This account is meant for two or more people and serves those committed or married best, as they can share their financial burden between them. Companies can also open such an account.
These are some of the account types you can open in the UK, and knowing the details about each will help you know better which one to open.
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Do overseas Pakistanis need to have a UK address to open a bank account?
Generally, to open a bank account in the UK, one may be required to provide a UK address. However, some banks offer international or non-resident account options for which a UK address may not be mandatory. It's recommended to check directly with the chosen bank to understand their specific requirements.
What documents are required for overseas Pakistanis to open a bank account in the UK?
Typically, banks will require proof of identity (like a passport or national ID card) and proof of address (like a utility bill or rental agreement). For overseas Pakistanis, additional documentation, such as proof of legal status in the UK or a reference from a current bank, may be required. Each bank may have slightly different requirements, so it's important to check in advance.
Can overseas Pakistanis open an account online, or do they need to visit a branch in person?
Many UK banks offer online account opening services, especially for standard accounts. However, given the additional checks that might be needed for overseas applicants, some banks might require a branch visit either to verify documents or to complete the account setup.
Are there any fees associated with opening a bank account in the UK for overseas Pakistanis?
This largely depends on the bank and the type of account you're opening. While many basic accounts don't have fees for account opening, there may be maintenance fees, transaction fees, or charges for specific services. Some international or non-resident accounts might come with higher fees. Always review the bank's fee schedule or speak with a bank representative to get a clear understanding.
How long does the account opening process typically take for overseas Pakistanis?
The duration can vary based on the bank and the specific account type. For straightforward applications, the process could be completed in a few days to a week. However, if additional verifications or documentation are required, it might take a few weeks. Starting the process well in advance if you anticipate needing the account for specific transactions or dates is recommended.