Migrants sent $251 billion to developing countries

World remittances reached $337 billion last year. 30 October 2008. As many as 190 millions migrant workers sent money home in 2007, according to the World Bank.

Remittances/fund transfers that could be tracked reached $337 billion last year, of which $251 billion went to developing countries. The true size, including unrecorded flows through formal and informal channels, is believed to be significantly larger.

The cost of sending money depends on both its source and its destination. On average, it costs only $7.68 to send $500 from Spain to Brazil, a 1.5% fee.

By contrast, it costs a whopping $86.41 (a charge of 17.3%) to send the same sum from the Netherlands to Indonesia.

The Netherlands, Germany and Japan tend to be the most expensive places to send money from.

Remittance costs are generally lowest in Russia, Saudi Arabia, Spain, Singapore, America and Britain.

International migration, the movement of people across international boundaries, has enormous implications for growth and welfare in both origin and destination countries.

Nearly 200 million people live outside their country of birth.
There are strong pressures for international migration which are driven by differences in demographic profiles and real incomes between countries. The major issues are how to minimize disruptive effects of large-scale international migration and enhance its development impact.

Research suggests the economic gains for both developed (receiving) and developing (sending) countries are significant even for relatively small increases in the workforces of OECD countries, and that relative gains are much higher for developing-country households than rich-country households.

Massive migration of highly-skilled citizens—the so-called "brain drain"—poses troubling dilemmas for many smaller low-income countries. For example, 8 out of 10 Haitian- or Jamaican-born college graduates live abroad.

Remittance flows are more than twice as large as total development aid and represent the largest source of foreign exchange for numerous countries.

Reducing the cost of remittance transfers produces significant benefits to the migrants’ families. In addition to raising consumption levels, the steady stream of foreign currency improves a country’s creditworthiness for external borrowing.

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