India has overtaken China to become the top recipient of migrant remittances, the first ten-year study of money sent home by migrants has shown.
Indian migrants sent home $62.7 billion in remittances in 2016, accounting for 3.3% of GDP, the report Sending Money Home: Contributing to the SDGs, One Family at a Time by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) found. This made India the biggest recipient of remittances, above China's $61 billion. In 2007, on the other hand, Chinese immigrants sent $38.4 billion home, above India's $37.2 billion.
While global remittances to developing countries increased by 51% in the last decade, remittances to India grew at a higher rate of 68.6%, IFAD reported.
The Gulf states, followed by the United States are important destination countries for Indian migrant workers, the report finds. India is itself an important destination for workers from Nepal, whose remittances makes up a third of that country's GDP.
The amount of money migrants send to their families in developing countries has risen by 51 per cent over the past decade, far greater than the 28 per cent increase in migration from these countries, according to the IFAD. More than 200 million migrant workers are now supporting an estimated 800 million family members globally, and one in every two remittance sender is a woman. By 2017, one in seven people globally is projected to be involved in either sending or receiving more than $450 billion in remittances.
Total migrant worker earnings are estimated to be $3 trillion annually, of which approximately 85 per cent remains in the host countries. "Taken together, these individual remittances account for more than three times the combined foreign aid from all sources, and more than the total foreign direct investment to almost every low- and middle-income country," the report says.