How migrants' money makes the world go round

From Global development | The Guardian Wed Jan 30 2013, 18:37:29

Remittance - much of it from the developed world's low‑paid workers - is now a huge part of many economies

On the streets of London it isn't hard to find people who work hard all day (or all night) only to send a sizeable proportion of their income halfway round the world to support a family back at home. Some are maids, cleaners or nurses, others work in retail or construction. All recognise that £100 usually goes a lot further in the developing world than it does here.

"I can't afford much," says Nativity Eyan Nyieng, 33, a Guinean national who works as a maid in King's Cross. "But when I can, I send about £100 now and then to my little sister in my home country for her studies." It is not just family members who are taken care of. Bibiche Aiala, a journalist from Congo, sends up to $200 (£127) a month to a friend living in China. Male, an Indian national, gives £50 to £60 a month to a charity back home run by a friend.

They are just individual players in a great global game in which millions of migrant workers transfer more than $500bn back home (or to family in third countries) annually.

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