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India received over $111 billion in remittances in 2022, first country to ever reach that figure: UN

India received over $111 billion in remittances in 2022, first country to ever reach that figure: UN
  • India received over $111 billion in remittances in 2022, the largest in the world, becoming the first country to cross the $100 billion mark.
  • India, Mexico, China, the Philippines and France were the top five remittance recipient countries.
  • The International Organisation for Migration (IOM) launched its World Migration Report 2024 on Tuesday.
India received over $111 billion in remittances in 2022, the largest in the world, becoming the first country to reach and even surpass the $100 billion mark, the United Nations migration agency has said.

The International Organisation for Migration (IOM), in its World Migration Report 2024 launched Tuesday, said that in 2022, India, Mexico, China, the Philippines and France were the top five remittance recipient countries.

"India was well above the rest, receiving more than USD 111 billion, the first country to reach and even surpass the USD 100 billion mark. Mexico was the second-largest remittance recipient in 2022, a position it also held in 2021 after overtaking China, which historically had been the second-biggest recipient after India," the report said.

According to the report's data, India was the top country receiving remittances in 2010 (USD 53.48 billion), 2015 (USS 68.91 billion), and 2020 (USD 83.15 billion), with the remittances crossing the USD 100 billion mark to reach USD 111.22 billion in 2022.

It noted that with a very large number of migrant workers from the subregion, Southern Asia receives some of the largest inflows of remittances globally.

Three countries in Southern Asia - India, Pakistan and Bangladesh, rank among the top ten recipients of international remittances in the world, underscoring the significance of labour migration from the subregion.

"With India estimated to have received more than USD 111 billion in 2022, it is by far the largest recipient of international remittances in the world and the first country to ever reach that figure," the report said.

Pakistan and Bangladesh were the sixth and eighth largest international remittance recipients in 2022, receiving nearly USD 30 billion and USD 21.5 billion respectively.

The report however noted that while remittances remain a lifeline for many people in the subregion, migrant workers from these countries continue to face a myriad of risks, including financial exploitation, excessive financial debt due to migration costs, xenophobia and workplace abuses.

The Gulf States remain significant destinations for migrant workers from around the world, and the 2022 football World Cup further underscored the importance of migrant labour to the subregion as well as rights violations.

Migrants continue to comprise high proportions of the total populations in many Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) States.

In the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait and Qatar, migrants made up 88 per cent, nearly 73 and 77 per cent of the national populations, respectively.

Most migrants - many of whom come from countries such as India, Egypt, Bangladesh, Ethiopia and Kenya - work in sectors such as construction, hospitality, security, domestic work and retail.

The report added that nearly 18 million or 1.3 per cent of the total population, India is also the origin of the largest number of international migrants in the world, with large diasporas living in countries such as the United Arab Emirates, the United States and Saudi Arabia.

India came in 13th as the destination country for immigrants, with 4.48 million.

India - United Arab Emirates, India - US, India - Saudi Arabia and Bangladesh - India were among the top 10 international country-to-country migration corridors, the report said.

Mexico is now the second largest recipient of international remittances in the world after India. China had long held the second spot but it was surpassed by Mexico in 2021, with the Central American country estimated to have received more than USD 61 billion in 2022, while China received about USD 51 billion.

"The contraction of remittance flows to China has been attributed to multiple factors, including demographic shifts that have resulted in the shrinking of the working age population and the country's zero-COVID policy, which prevented people from travelling abroad for work," the report said.

The report further said that countries in Asia are the origins of the largest number of internationally mobile students in the world.

In 2021, more than one million internationally mobile students were from China, by far the highest number globally and more than double the number of students from India, which ranks second (around 508,000).

The US is the largest destination country for international mobile students in the world (more than 833,000), followed by the UK (nearly 601,000), Australia (around 378,000), Germany (over 376,000) and Canada (nearly 318,000).

China is also an important destination for international students, especially those from the Republic of Korea, Thailand, Pakistan and India.

The report said that there are more female than male international migrants in destination countries in Europe and Northern America, such as the US, Canada, France, Spain and Italy, but also in India.

India has a slightly higher share of female immigrants than males. Countries with a significantly high proportion of male emigrants include India, Bangladesh and Pakistan.

Irregular migration to the US remains an ongoing challenge and major policy issue, with increasing numbers of arrivals from atypical origin countries. There were 2.4 million encounters at the United States-Mexico border in 2022, the highest on record.

"Encounters" constitute both apprehensions and expulsions, and these statistics also include many migrants who tried to enter the US several times without authorisation.

For years, most irregular migrants were overwhelmingly from Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras but in 2022 and for the first time, there were more encounters with migrants from Venezuela, Cuba and Nicaragua.

"There were also a large number of arrivals from Haiti, Brazil and from countries outside the region such as India and Ukraine," it said.

"The shift in origin country geography has also been attributed to Title 42, which suspends the right to claim asylum under United States and international law on the basis of preventing the spread of COVID-19," it said.

The report noted that the impact of the pandemic has been severe on both internal and international Indian emigrant workers, particularly low-skilled emigrants on short-term contracts, migrants working within the informal economy and undocumented workers.

Loss of jobs along with wage theft and lack of social security during the pandemic has plunged many Indian migrants into deep debt and insecurity.

"The pandemic has had an overwhelming effect on internal labour migration patterns and has reshaped work in both rural and urban areas. There has been a decline of almost 10 per cent in blue-collar workforce mobility towards cities, which has drastically cut the labour supply for major industries. The official estimate of reverse internal migration is 51.6 per cent for men and 11 per cent for women," the report said citing experts and official data.

Since 2000, IOM has been producing its flagship world migration reports every two years.

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