Ran across this article on the BBC news site recently: It looks like the economic crisis is so global in scale that, contrary to normal trends, it might negatively affect the remittances that migrant workers send home.

This is quite serious because some countries depend heavily on the money sent home by their citizens abroad. It’s several times more than international aid to countries world wide, as you can see in this graphic from the article.


Here’s an excerpt from the article:

A resilient resource

But the [remittances are] estimated at up to three times the amount of money transferred from richer countries to the developing world by governments and international institutions as aid.

The flow of remittances has been rising by as much as 30% year on year in some areas, but the rate of growth has already dramatically slowed.

In 2009, the World Bank predicts, the amount sent home by the world’s 150 million international migrants could fall by about 1%.

Mexico – the third biggest recipient of remittances in the world – is forecasting that income will dip in 2008 by almost 8% from the estimated $23.8bn in 2007.

“We are very worried that remittances will not grow in the coming years because of the financial crisis in the developed countries which are the main source of remittances,” says Mr Ratha.

Migrant workers – working hard to alleviate need at home – often represent a resilient income source for developing countries.

In 2007, they generated almost half of Tajikistan’s Gross Domestic Product and more than a third of Lesotho’s, according to the World Bank.

And in the past when times are tough in the receiving country more money, rather than less, has arrived back home.