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Taking the Hassle out of the Kiwi 'Big OE'

Chief Reporter
4 November 2002

Taking the Hassle out of the Kiwi 'Big OE'

Opening a bank account in the UK is a notoriously difficult procedure - now New Zealanders off on the 'Big OE' can avoid the hassles by opening a UK bank account before even leaving New Zealand.

London-based travel advisory company, 1st Contact, has recently extended its range of services designed to help Antipodeans on working holiday visas in the UK.

New Zealander Mike Kaye, Managing Director of 1st Contact, says opening a bank account in the UK is an extremely difficult and time-consuming process. "1st Contact recently surveyed 300 New Zealanders in the UK and we discovered 72% 'had a nightmare' opening a bank account in London.

"For young New Zealanders just arriving in London it can take at least two months to open a bank account. Compared to the process in New Zealand this comes as an unpleasant surprise. It makes starting out in the UK pretty stressful," says Mr Kaye.

"We have always helped clients open bank accounts on arrival in the UK, but now we can offer young travellers a chance to sort out their banking needs before even arriving in the UK. It's great for those with jobs already secured or who want to transfer funds prior to arriving in the UK, or those that just want the peace of mind."

Since offering the service with major UK bank Lloyds TSB, more than 69% of 1st Contact's clients have taken advantage of the new service - opening accounts before leaving New Zealand. (The remainder opened accounts with 1st Contact's assistance on arrival in the UK.)

Opening an account is simple for New Zealanders with a valid working holiday visa or passport that entitles the holder to work in the UK. Accounts can be opened with a nil balance and no bank fee.

Applications (available on purchase of 1st Contact's 'Kickstart package') must be received by 1st Contact's Auckland office at least six weeks prior to departure with copies of passport, bank statement and utility bill. 1st Contact takes care of the rest, advising an account number and sort code prior to departure. A cheque book and ATM card is then supplied by Lloyds TSB on arrival in the UK.


1st Contact

Assisting more than 750 000 clients over the past 12 years, 1st Contact is one of the biggest providers of recruitment and immigration services to New Zealanders, Australians and South Africans in the UK.

1st Contact focuses on providing recruitment (medical, teaching and general 'unskilled' employment) and banking facilities, as well as tax consultation, financial management, visa/immigration issues, money, shipping and telecommunications services.

1st Contact was established in 1992 by New Zealander Mike Kaye and South African Reg Bamford; has offices in New Zealand, Australia and South Africa and employs more than 250 in its central London offices.

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