Indians working across the globe sent home USD62.7 billion last year, making India the top remittance-receiving country, surpassing China, according to a United Nations (UN) report.
“About 40 per cent of remittances – USD 200 billion – are sent to rural areas where the majority of poor people live,” said Pedro de Vasconcelos, manager of IFAD’s Financing Facility for Remittances and lead author of the report. “Remittances are therefore critical to help developing countries achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG),” de Vasconcelos said.
The ‘One Family at a Time’ study by the UN International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) said about 200 million migrants globally sent more than USD445 million in 2016 as remittances to their families, helping to lift millions out of poverty.
The study is the first-ever of a 10-year trend in migration and remittance flows over the period 2007-2016. It said 80 per cent of remittances are received by 23 countries, led by India, China, the Philippines, Mexico and Pakistan. The top 10 sending countries account for almost half of annual flows, led by the US, Saudi Arabia and Russia.
The study said India was the top receiving country for remittances in 2016 at USD 62.7 billion, followed by China (USD 61 billion), the Philippines (USD 30 billion) and Pakistan (USD 20 billion).
The study said Asia is the highest originating region with 77 million migrants; with 48 million remaining within the region. Over the past decade, remittances to Asia and the Pacific increased by 87 per cent, reaching USD 244 billion, while migration grew by only 33 per cent in comparison.
Asia remains the main remittance-receiving region, with 55 per cent of the global flows and 41 per cent of total migrants. It is projected that an estimated USD 6.5 trillion in remittances will be sent to low and middle-income countries between 2015 and 2030.
The study added that the money migrants send to their families in developing countries has risen by 51 per cent over the past decade – far greater than the 28 per cent increase in migration from these countries.
This dramatic increase in the money migrants sent home to their families in developing countries is helping to lift millions out of poverty and in attaining the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), the study said.
In the decade between 2007 and 2016, India surpassed China to become the top receiving country for remittances. In 2007, India was second behind China, with USD 37.2 billion in remittances as compared to USD 38.4 billion for China.
Migration flows and remittances are having large-scale impacts on the global economy and political landscape. Total migrant earnings are estimated at USD 3 trillion annually, approximately 85 per cent of which remains in the host countries.
The report also recommended improving public policies and proposed partnerships with the private sector to reduce costs and create opportunities for migrants and their families to use their money more productively.
“As populations in developed countries continue to age, the demand for migrant labour is expected to keep growing in the coming years,” de Vasconcelos said. “However, remittances can help the families of migrants build a more secure future, making migration for young people more of a choice than a necessity,” he added.
Remittance flows have grown over the last decade at a rate averaging 4.2 per cent annually, from USD 296 billion in 2007 to USD 445 billion in 2016.