UK: Migrant workers in Ireland sent home $1.3bn last year

More than 30% of the outflow from Ireland went to Nigeria, United Nations report shows.

Migrant workers in Ireland sent home $1.3 billion (€1.16 billion) in remittances last year, one of the highest per capita levels in Europe, according to the UN’s International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD).

The agency’s Sending Money Home: European flows and markets report showed more than 30 per cent of the outflow from Ireland, equating to $392 million, went to Nigeria.

The other top recipients included Poland ($217 million), Lithunia ($142 million), India ($85 million), China ($72 million), Hungary ($64 million) and Philippines ($60 million).

The remittances from Ireland did not, however, represent a significant outflow of wealth, amounting to just 0.7 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP).

The report shows migrant workers in Europe as a whole sent home $109.4 billion last year providing “a lifeline to more than 150 million people” around the world.

Europe has only 10 per cent of the world’s population but 20 per cent of all migrant workers and makes 25 per cent of all remittance. More than 600,000 people sought refugee status in Europe last year and more than 100,000 have arrived by boat alone so far in 2015.

Western Europe and the Russian Federation were the main source of remittances, with the top six sending countries shown to be the Russian Federation ($20.6 billion), the UK ($17.1 billion), Germany ($14 billion), France ($10.5 billion), Italy ($10.4 billion) and Spain ($9.6 billion).

Together, these top six states accounted for about 75 per cent of all flows from Europe.

On the receiving side, about a third or $36.5 billion of European remittances went to 19 countries in the Balkans, the Baltics and Eastern Europe, including 10 EU member states.

The remaining two thirds or $72.9 billion went to more than 50 developing countries outside Europe.

Of the 19 remittance-receiving countries within Europe, the report shows that nine countries whose economies are agriculture-based relied the most on flows from Europe, representing 22 per cent of GDP in Moldova and 17 per cent in Kosovo.

Beyond Europe, Northern Africa and Central Asia were the regions that were most reliant on European flows, largely from France and Russia respectively.

The report noted that at a time of unprecedented inflows of refugees fleeing conflict Europe was a source of considerable remittances to fragile states, including Iraq, Mali, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen “and that more could be done to leverage the impact of remittances to help stabilise and rebuild countries.”

Remittance outflows from Ireland in 2014:

1 Nigeria $392m

2 Poland $217m

3 Lithuania $142m

4 India $85m

5 China $72m

6 Hungary $64m

7 Philippines $ 60 m

8 Latvia $46m

9 Slovak Republic $38m

10 Czech Republic $35m