Helping families meet the challenges of moving to the UK

Assignees moving to the UK face a host of challenges, both practical and emotional. Neil Barsby, head of NatWest Global Employee Banking, explains how having the right bank account can help them and their families to adjust to life in a new country, reducing the risk of assignment failure and enabling the employee to be productive from the outset.

Family in the park

Source: Image courtesy of NatWest Bank

The challenges of moving to a different environment in a new country should never be underestimated. For families, the excitement of arriving in a new destination has to be tempered with tackling a range of practical issues that need to be undertaken during what can be a stressful period of adjustment.With the new job secured, the practicalities for the new employee and his or her family are wide ranging. Inevitably, they will cover such essentials as where they are going to live, whether to rent or buy, and what type of accommodation is preferred, combined with other factors, such as commute time to work, the nearby facilities, and the added challenge of finding the right school.Some of the issues are more emotional than practical. Adapting to a foreign country is not easy for everyone. For example, making new friends might be easier for the person in the family who has the new job and will meet a range of new people, rather than for the partner who may not be working or for the children who have to say goodbye to friends and make new ones in a school that they do not know.It may seem surprising that a bank would be a place to turn to for people facing a move to the UK, but some banks are hugely experienced in supporting families when they make such a move.At NatWest Global Employee Banking, we have years of experience in helping families when they are relocating. Once an account is opened, customers have access to a full range of banking products, including the technological advances that are making banking on the move so much easier. Thanks to the wide-ranging research that we have access to, we have guidance on many ofthe other practicalities that need to be addressed for such an important step.PrioritiesYears of working with the internationally mobile have taught us that, for international assignees, UK banking did not feature high on their list of priorities. But that may be to underestimate the importance that arranging their banking provision plays in the overall process. For without banking as a high priority, inpats are not able to undertake many of the other things they felt were more important, including buying property and arranging school fees.NatWest Global Employee Banking offers a dedicated fast-track service that enables people moving to the UK, or transferred from their company overseas to the UK, to establish a bank account with a leading-brand bank. In many cases, the account can be established before they leave their home country, with the minimum of fuss.MobileOne rapidly changing aspect of the banking industry is the substantial enhancements that have been introduced to make mobile banking easier. Mobile payments and transfers are more than doubling each year as more and more banking customers take advantage of the apps that enable customers to bank on the go.A recent survey indicates that 90 per cent of internationally mobile customers have three or more personal technology devices. These are led by the PC (91 per cent), only slightly ahead of the smartphone (87 per cent) and the laptop (83 per cent). Tablets and notebooks are also popular, and it is evident that making it straightforward to undertake banking services through these channels will be an advantage to the newly relocated family with a string of practical matters to sort out in their new environment.Recognising this, NatWest has developed banking apps designed to give customers more control of their finances and help them keep a track of payments and balances, wherever they are. One example of this is NatWest’s mobile banking app, which has recently introduced Touch ID login, allowing customers to log in to their app using just their fingerprint.There is also the award-winning feature Get Cash, which can be used for customers who have left their wallet behind, or by parents who need a quick way to send money to their children immediately. Customers simply select the amount they would like to withdraw (limits apply) via their app, which creates a secure six-digit code to be used at any NatWest, RBS or Tesco cash machine.British culturePutting banking to one side, we include on the NatWest Global Employee Banking website many more practical guides to assist overseas assignees moving to the UK. We have built a relocation hub to offer a host of practical tips across a wide spectrum of aspects of a family move to a new destination. For instance, as far as education is concerned, our guide offers an insider’s look at the UK school system and how best to go about selecting the most appropriate school.Not everyone arriving here will be familiar with British culture, so we have a section devoted to British idiosyncrasies, covering a whole range of topics, from etiquette to cuisine unique to different regions of the UK. It’s another way in which we try to smooth the integration process for new arrivals. We also understand the effect of this transition on families, especially children, and the website shares some tips to help parents when they are talking to their children about moving abroad, so as to make the transition easier.NatWest Global Employee Banking, through our website and through the service we provide, aims to be a seasoned and trusted adviser for those who are relocating and need a UK banking service. We are always happy to consider new opportunities or introductions from corporate organisations.If this free service may be of interest to you, please contact Neil Barsby, head of NatWest Global Employee Banking, directly on +44 (0)1245 355628, or via email at

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