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International remittances soar to $US689 billion

9 December 20190 comments

The world’s 270 million migrants sent home a staggering $US689 billion in cash remittances last year.

The figure is contained in the latest migration report from the United Nations’ migration agency the International Organisation for Migration (IOM).

The World Migration Report 2020 says the overall figure of $689 billion was a nine per cent increase in remittances in 2018, up from $633 billion in 2017.

India tops the list of countries which get remittances from its diaspora abroad, with the latest figure standing at 78.61 billion USD, according to the report.

China is second with $67.4 billion followed by Mexico ($35.7 billion) and the Philippines ($34 billion).

The United States remained the top remittance-issuer, at $68 billion, followed by the United Arab Emirates ($44.4 billion) and Saudi Arabia ($36.1 billion).

It is the third successive time India has topped the list of countries receiving remittances. In 2010, India was the top country to send remittances of $53.48 billion and again led the table for the second consecutive time in 2015 receiving remittances of $68.91 billion USD, the report said.

In 2005, India was placed third with migrants sending home contributions of just $22.13 billion.

The report said, the high-income countries are almost always the main source of remittances. For decades, the United States has consistently been the top remittance-sending country, with a total outflow of $67.96 billion in 2017, followed by the United Arab Emirates ($44.37 billion), Saudi Arabia ($36.12 billion) and Switzerland ($26.6 billion).

It said the number of migrants globally (272 million) represents just a tiny fraction of the world’s population, although it is a 0.1 per cent increase on the level indicated in its last report, published two years ago.

“This figure remains a very small percentage of the world’s population (at 3.5 per cent), meaning that the vast majority of people globally (96.5 per cent) are estimated to be residing in the country in which they were born,” the report said.

It said more than half of all international migrants (141 million) live in Europe and North America.

An estimated 52 per cent are male, and nearly two-thirds of all migrants are looking for work; that’s around 164 million people.

India continues to be the largest country of origin of international migrants, with 17.5 million living abroad, followed by Mexico (11.8 million) and China (10.7 million).

Other findings indicate that the number of migrant workers declined slightly in high income countries – from 112.3 million to 111.2 million – but increased elsewhere.

Upper middle-income countries saw the biggest increase, from 17.5 million to 30.5 million.