The UK is pretty average. Land a half decent job (Office bitch here) and you could afford to live, so long as you're not going for town/city center apartments/houses. As for the banks - They are mostly completely useless. However, almost all the Polish people I used to see through Bargain Booze had Llyods TSB accounts, straight 'off the boat' so to speak. I've been refused everything at Barclays (Even stuff I haven't applied for, which is confusing sometimes), but got exactly what I wanted at Lloyds in about an hour and a half with nothing but a passport and some payslips. IIRC you can apply for a basic account of theirs online, which you could probably 'upgrade' and so on when you got into the country. As for the name thing that's been mentioned - It's very true. I've seen it happen at my current work place more than I care to remember, which is entirely down to one of the higher-ups being absolutely against anyone who isn't called Steve. It's not like he's of an uncommon mindset, either. Don't let that put you off, though, because there are some smarter, less retarded* people in this country. *: I don't mean any offence to anyone who actually is differently abled/whatever the PC term is these days.