Dubai: The amount of money that UAE expatriates send to their friends and families back home is colossal, accounting for more than $19 billion (Dh70 billion) in one year, one of the largest in the world, according to official data.

The 2016 World Bank migration and remittances factbook, which looks at remittance outflows for 2014, ranks the UAE as the fourth top remittance-sending country in the world. The aggregate outflows represent 4.8 per cent of the UAE’s gross domestic product (GDP).

Overall, the United States remains in the number one spot, sending the biggest amount of remittances at $56.3 billion. Saudi Arabia ranks as the second largest at $36.9 billion, followed by Russia ($32.6 billion), Switzerland ($24.7 billion) and Germany ($20.8 billion).

Rounding up the top ten remittance-sending countries are Kuwait in the seventh place with $18.1 billion, France ($13.8 billion), Luxembourg ($12.7 billion) and United Kingdom ($11.5 billion). The six Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries accounted for $98 billion in outward remittance flows in 2014.

Money transfers are a major source of income for millions of families worldwide particularly those in developing or poor countries. The large scale of money being sent out from the UAE every year doesn’t come as a surprise, given that the country – like most GCC countries - is one of the world’s top immigrant destinations, with expatriates accounting for 88.5 per cent of the population as of 2013.

“The GCC is very much the de facto destination for expatriate workers to come, live, save and remit due to sound government policies and robust economies,” noted Promoth Manghat, CEO of UAE Exchange.

Manghat maintained that despite economic uncertainties, remittance transactions in the region remain robust. “This underpins the GCC as a region with strong, functioning and expanding economies that attract talent and manpower from world over, especially the Arab region.”

The World Bank recorded $431.6 billion in remittances to developing countries for 2015, a marginal increase of 0.4 per cent over $430 billion in 2014. The biggest bulk of money transfers went to India, which attracted $69 billion, followed by China, with $64 billion, the Philippines ($28 billion), Mexico ($25 billion) and Nigeria ($21 billion).

After bottoming out in 2015, remittances are forecast to recover this year with the positive economic performance in the United States and the Euro area, and stabilisation of US dollar exchange rates of remittance-source countries.

The World Bank’s factbook contains the latest available data on migration, remittances and other socioeconomic variables.


Source: World Bank