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Tue 19 Feb 2008 12:00 AM

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Over one fifth of expats send no money home

Survey also reveals Westerners repatriate significant percentage of earnings.

Just over one-fifth of employees in the Gulf do not send any money back to their home country, according to the ArabianBusiness.com Salary Survey, despite around 40% of the region's population being expatriates.

Data from the survey also shows that while it is commonly thought low-paid workers from countries such as India and the Philippines send the greatest proportion of their salary home, in fact a large number of Westerners also repatriate a significant percentage of their earnings.

GCC nationals are the least likely to repatriate their earnings, with more than half of those polled saying they did not send any money home, followed by citizens from Palestine (44.79%) and Syria (44.54%).

The high percentage of nationals that do not repatriate could be down to the fact that so many work in their home country, while the high percentage of Palestinian and Syrians may be due to the number of families from these countries that have immigrated to the Gulf over the years.

Interestingly a high proportion of Pakistanis do not repatriate any of their earnings either (29%), almost the same proportion expatriates from the US and Europe.

Just over 36% of those surveyed from France do not send any money home, closely followed by expatriates from Germany (31.03), Canada (30.68%) and the UK (29.38%).

But interestingly, 13.78% of American, 11.27% of French and 10.62% of British expatriates still repatriate more than 50% their income.

This is more than India (9.79%) and Pakistan (8.4%). Only the Philippines has a higher percentage of its citizens that send more than 50% of their salary home, at 26.5%.

In fact, even if you look at the percentage of expatriates that send home more than 20% of their earnings, Americans and Europeans are not far behind those from the subcontinent and the Philippines.

Just under 40% of UK citizens send home over 20% of their income, followed by the US (38.67%) and France (35.21%). This compares to 68% of Filipinos, 45.4% of Indians and 36% of Pakistanis.

The survey data indicates there is a strong correlation between the amount employees earn and how much they repatriate - the more someone makes, the higher percentage of their salary they send home.

The US, the UK and France rank among the highest earners in the Gulf, according to the salary survey.

A third of those polled who make over $150,000 per year repatriate more than 50% of their income, while only 13.04% of those earning less than $20,000 sent home over 50% of their income.

However, many more of those in the low and middle income brackets - which includes the majority of Indians, Pakistanis and Filipinos - repatriate between 10% and 50% of their salary than those in the high income brackets.

Around 9,000 people comprising 121 nationalities took part in the ArabianBusiness.com 2008 Salary Survey.

Get interactive: What was the average amount of money sent home by Middle East workers last year?

Arabian Business: why we're going behind a paywall

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