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Spain's migrant workers send $10 billion home

Emma Anderson · 15 Jun 2015, 15:45

Published: 15 Jun 2015 15:45 GMT+02:00

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Spain was one of the top countries in Europe for the amount of money that migrant workers sent back home in remittances, according to a report published on Monday by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD).

Remittance refers to regular payments that migrant workers send back to their families in their home countries. The report said that this money usually covers "basic goods, such as food, clothing, shelter, medicine and education".

"Remittance payments can make up 50 percent of a family's income - at the least," Pedro de Vasconcelos, head of the IFAD remittances programme, told The Local. "They need this money in order to sustain the family, send kids to school, have shelter and food. And hopefully have some to save and invest."

Russian migrant workers sent the highest amount of money outside the country at $20.6 billion, followed by the United Kingdom ($17.1 billion), Germany ($14 billion), France ($10.5 billion) and Italy ($10.4 billion). 

"In the case of Spain, the story has changed a little bit with the crisis. We've seen a reduction in flows because after the crisis migrants did not have money to send back to their families," said De Vasconcelos.

The largest portion of payments from Spain during 2014 went to Latin America and the Caribbean ($3.5 billion), followed by Africa ($2.9 billion).

Morocco took in the greatest amount from Spanish migrant workers compared to any other country at $1.7 billion while China took in $1.07 billion.
In Ecuador, 38 percent of remittance payments came from Spanish workers, making it the country most reliant upon Spain, followed by Gambia.

The report said that though the amount of money sent by migrant workers to families outside of the country might seem high, these payments did not result in a "significant outflow of wealth".

In Spain, the nearly $10 billion sent by migrants accounted for just 0.7 percent of the country's GDP (gross domestic product).

Top Countries Where Spanish Migrant Workers Send Money

Source: International Fund for Agricultural Development.

In total European migrant workers sent home $109.4 billion, which helped to support more than 150 million people across the globe, the report said.

One-third of this money went to countries within Europe, especially to Ukraine, Poland and Romania.

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Most immigrants sent between $1,500 and $3,200 in the entire year.

The report calls for efforts to lower the costs migrants face in transferring funds to love ones, which eat up about $2.5 billion in transfer fees each year for European migrants.

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Emma Anderson (emma.anderson@thelocal.com)

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