Bunq CEO launches foundation to help people escape Ukraine and Russia

Bunq CEO launches foundation to help people escape Ukraine and Russia

Bunq CEO Ali Niknam is the latest fintech figure to mobilise in support of people affected by Russia's invasion of Ukraine, creating a foundation designed to help people from both countries get to safety.

Over the weekend, Niknam took to LinkedIn to promise that the Dutch digital bank will do "everything in our power" to get Ukrainians and Russians to the Netherlands under a highly skilled migrant visa.

Niknam's insistence on including Russians in his plan draws on his own experience with the Iran-Iraq war, as he explains: "The one thing I've learned through my personal experience is that the world is far too complex to be divided in simple terms like good and bad."

The post went viral, attracting thousands of reactions and nearly 400 comments and, more pertinently, close to 500 requests for help.

With news that all Ukrainians will get a three year visa that will allow them to reside and work in the EU, Niknam has now banded together with fellow Dutch tech moguls Joris Beckers and Robert Vis to launch the 'Stichting People for People'.

Run by Pieter Jan van Krevel, the CFO of TransIP, the foundation has a website up and running where people can ask for help to get to safety and where others can make donations to support the efforts.

Several fintechs have taken steps to offer support to people affected by the conflict. Zopa Bank is to immediately sponsor 50 work visas for Ukrainian nationals following new Home Office guidance.

Revolut, whose co-founder and CTO Vlad Yatsenko is a Ukrainian national, is waiving transfer fees for sending money to a Ukrainian bank account and providing emergency logistical and relocation support for its 28 employees in the country.

Meanwhile, Binance is donating $10 million to major Intergovernmental Organisations and local NGOs on the ground.

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