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Banks to lift restrictions on Asylum Seekers to open bank accounts.

Asylum seekers can now open bank account with any retail bank.

This change comes as a result of bank of ireland announcement a month ago that asylum seekers will be allowed to open bank account with alternative documents.

The main problems that asylum seekers face in relation to opening bank accounts is the issue of identity documents. Many International Protection applicants enter the state with little or no identity documents such as passport, birth certificate or drivers licence. Many applicants also have difficulties with providing proof of address.

With the criteria for access to the labour market reduce from nine to six months and international protection applicants can now access the labour market much earlier, being able to open a bank account with any of the retail banks is very welcoming news.

The Banking and Payment Federation Ireland (BPFI) has now announced that all five retail banks are rolling out a package of measures including the publication of a new BPFI guide for asylum seekers and refugees explaining how to open an account and providing examples of the documents that will be accepted.

The guide, which will be provided to all accommodation centres, will also be made available in Arabic, French, Somalian, Georgian, Albanian as well as English in the coming weeks.

James Browne, minister of state with special responsibility for law reform, yputh justice znd immigration, said: "My Department has been engaged with Banking & Payment Federation Ireland and other stakeholders over the last several months to address concerns around access to bank accounts for international protection applicants in Ireland, particularly in the context of the 2016 EU Payment Accounts Regulation.

These Regulations provide for all consumers legally resident in the EU, including people with no fixed address and asylum seekers, to be able to open a payment account without undue difficulty".

This development, is indeed good news for International protection applicants and all those who worked with them through the international protection process.


Stevroy Steer

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