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Money sent home by immigrants dwarfs money spent on foreign aid

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
February 1st, 2013
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

The money migrants send to their families back home topped $526 billion last year, making it a larger economy than Iran or Argentina. According to a study, that figure has tripled in the last ten years. Even more shocking is the fact that this amount is now three times bigger than the total aid budgets given by countries around the world.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - These findings have sparked debate over whether this so-called remittance money could be a viable alternative to relying on help from other governments.

Altogether, the top beneficiaries of migrant remittance are -
 
1. India: $63 billion

2. China: $61 billion

3. Mexico: $24 billion

4. Philippines: $22 billion

5. Nigeria: $21 billion
   
6. France: $19 billion

7. Egypt: $14 billion

8. Germany: $13 billion

9. Pakistan: $12 billion

10. Bangladesh: $12 billion

The figures from the World Bank, for example, show that migrants in the U.K. sent nearly $4 billion to India in 2011, compared to just $404 million handed over by the state.

Britain's shadow minister for international development, Rushanara Ali, who was born in Bangladesh, believes the U.K. government should try to harness migrant money to complement aid spending.

"I've never heard someone with an origin in another country not feel a sense of obligation or a sense of contribution," she told journalists.

"There will always be pressure on budgets. The time is ripe for coming up with new ideas on how Diaspora communities can make a difference."

A poll last month revealed that just one in four people support Britain spending billions of pounds on foreign aid every year, with more than 60 percent believing the cash is wasted.

There are more than 214 million migrants globally, which would make it the fifth most-populated country behind China, India, America and Indonesia.

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