I’ve lived here for 12 years now. I worked in the UK this summer and had a terrible time getting paid because of the transfer fees on both sides of the border.
All the UK high street and online banks I approached(>10!) said I could not hold a UK account without a UK address and since I’m an itinerant worker I didn’t have proof of a uk address. I even discovered several forums and banking institutions explaining how it is now “impossible or even illegal” to hold an account in the uk without proof of permanent reaidency.
Eventually however, I discovered this is untrue. The Co-op Bank have given me an account -I chose a very basic one- from my French address. Using proof of residency in France and my UK passport. I can now get paid in pounds and spend my pounds in the UK without needing to exchange or lose money on transfer fees.
A word of caution though…even one of the counter clerks in the co-op bank tried to put me off by saying “you cant open an account without proof of British residence” When I said “according to your own website I can, so please can i talk to a manager” I moved along with my application.
I also came across TransferWise who do an online bank with up to 40 choices of currency and they appear to be very good value.
I just wanted to warn you not to heed the naysayers and to encourage people to open accounts asap in case things get worse