Around 12 percent of global remittance, a total of over $61bn, came from the six Gulf countries last year, with nearly half of this going to India, according to the latest official data from the World Bank.
The latest Migration and Development Brief from the World Bank’s Migration and Remittance Unit found a total of $507.6bn was sent between the main 212 countries featured in the study.
In terms of the outflow of remittance, 12 per cent came from the six GCC countries of Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the UAE, giving a total of $61.046bn.
The majority, or $24.18bn came from Saudi Arabia, which accounted for 39 percent of total remittances from the Gulf, followed by the UAE on $18.21bn and 29.8 percent.
An additional $1.15bn was sourced from Bahrain, $7.18bn from Kuwait, $3.52bn from Oman and $6.77bn from Qatar.
In terms of recipient countries, the majority of the remittance was destined for India. A total of $29.69bn was sent home by Indian expat workers in the GCC last year, accounting for a total of 49 percent of remittances from the Gulf. The Gulf also represented 47 percent of the total remittances that was sent into India last year, demonstrating the close ties between the two countries.
The other countries which ranked highly on the list as destination countries included Bangladesh, Egypt and Pakistan.
By comparison, British and American expats in the Gulf sent home just $74m and $81m respectively last year, collectively representing just two percent of the remittance cash transferred from the Gulf last year.
Gulf expats living abroad also sent a total of $283m home last year, with the bulk ($244m) coming from Saudis living overseas. A total of $58m was sent by Saudis living in the US, with $32m coming from Saudis living in the UK. A total of $39m was also sent home by Omani expats living abroad.
Nearly one billion people – that is, one out of every seven persons on the planet – have migrated internally and across international borders in search of better opportunities and living conditions, with profound implications for development.
As a result, remittance flows to developing countries have more than quadrupled since 2000, rising to over $500bn in 2012 from $132bn in 2000.
On a global level, officially recorded remittance flows to developing countries grew by 5.3 percent last year and are expected to grow by an annual average of 8.8 percent for the next three years.
The top recipients of officially recorded remittances for 2012 are India ($69bn), China ($60bn), the Philippines ($24bn), Mexico ($23bn) and Nigeria and Egypt ($21bn each). Other large recipients include Pakistan, Bangladesh, Vietnam, and Lebanon.
"Migration and remittances offer a vital lifeline for millions of people and can play a major role in an economy's take-off. They enable people to partake in the global labour market and create resources that can be leveraged for development and growth,” said Kaushik Basu, the World Bank’s Chief Economist and Senior Vice President for Development Economics.
“But they are also a source of political contention, and for that very reason deserving of dispassionate analysis,” he added.