IAS Gyan

Daily News Analysis


22nd July, 2022 International Relations

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Context: India received 87 billion dollars in remittances in 2021, the top remittance recipient, and way ahead of countries like China and Mexico, according to a World Health Organisation report released.


  • The first WHO World report on the health of refugees and migrants said that today about one in eight people in the world, some one billion, are migrants. 
  • The report by the specialised agency of the United Nations responsible for international public health said that in 2021 the top five remittance recipients in current US dollars were India, China, Mexico, the Philippines and Egypt. 
  • With $87 billion, India was the top remittance recipient among low- and middle-income countries, as per 2021 estimates, way ahead of China and Mexico's 53 billion dollars, the Philippines (36 billion dollars) and Egypt (33 billion dollars). 
  • The United States was the largest source country for remittances in 2020, followed by the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Switzerland.
  • Remittances increase or maintain consumer spending and soften the blow of economic hardship, such as during the COVID-19 pandemic. 
  • Remittances are expected to continue growing in 2022, but there are challenges, such as the COVID-19 crisis, which still poses one of the greatest risks to flows to low- and middle-income countries, especially as fiscal stimulus programmes in migrant destination countries cannot continue indefinitely," the report said. 
  • It said remittances are an "important and positive" economic result of migration for migrants themselves and for family and friends remaining in their home countries. 
  • Once migrants have accessed economic opportunities, they often send remittances to their families. Remittances account for a large fraction of the global movement of funds.
  • Despite predictions that remittances would fall due to the COVID-19 pandemic (in part as a result of travel restrictions and the economic downturn), remittances proved to be resilient. 
  • The economic recovery in 2021 followed the resilience of remittance flows seen in 2020, which declined by a modest 1.7 per cent to $549 billion in the face of one of the deepest global recessions. 
  • It noted that in many low- and middle-income countries, migrants stepped up their support to families back home, especially to countries affected by the spread of the COVID-19 Delta variant. 
  • In most other areas, remittances have also recovered strongly, registering growth of 5-10 per cent in Europe and Central Asia, the Middle East and northern Africa, southern Asia and sub-Saharan Africa, but at a slower pace of 1.4 per cent in eastern Asia and the Pacific, excluding China (139). 
  • The key contributing factors are the willingness of migrants to support their families in times of need, together with the fiscal stimuli and employment support programmes implemented in the United States and European destination countries, which provided many migrants with the financial wherewithal to increase support to their families at home. 
  • In the Gulf Cooperation Council countries and the Russian Federation, the recovery of outward remittances was also facilitated by stronger oil prices and the resulting pickup in economic activity, it said.