Remittances sent home by migrant workers have played a significant role in reducing poverty in most countries including the least developed one like Bangladesh, said a senior official of the United Nations.
In Bangladesh just 13 per cent of households that receive remittances from abroad are below the poverty line, compared to 34 per cent of non-remittance-receiving households, according to an updated data of the UN.
In Bangladesh, some 27 per cent of the total population of some 155 million people, live below international poverty line, said the UN data.
Bangladesh earns around $14 billion a year from remittances sent home by its nearly 8.0 million expatriate workers across the globe mainly in the Middle East and the Gulf regions.
With the increase in inward flow of remittances the enrolment of students, including girls has been boosted in Pakistan, where many other programmes to uplift socio-economic conditions of the people are being taken in proportionate with the enhancement of remittances from expatriate workers, said the UN official.
“Remittances have reduced poverty in many countries in Latin America, Africa, South Asia and elsewhere,” said Special Representative for Migration of the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, Peter Sutherland, in a an article published in the China Daily USA on Tuesday.
Migration could be a tool for economic development and it could have a meaningful impact on the lives of the migrants giving them greater access to their rights and wages, Mr Sutherland said.
“Perhaps even more important, it could change public perceptions of migrants so that they are viewed as a blessing rather than a scourge,” he said.
The growing remittances and more movement of people have proved that the countries of the world are becoming more interdependent.
“The trend shows that meaningful economic progress can be achieved in future, if the people are allowed to move more freely,” the article said.
Yet migration is the original strategy for people seeking to escape poverty, mitigate risk and build a better life.
“It has been with us since the dawn of mankind, and its economic impact today is massive,” Mr Sutherland said.
Migrant remittances exceed the value of all overseas development aid combined, to say nothing of the taxes that migrants pay, the investments they make and the trade they stimulate.
There are an estimated 215 million international migrants today – a number expected to grow to 400 million by 2040 – and another 740 million internal migrants who have moved from rural to urban areas within countries, the UN official said.
Each typically supports many family members back home, which also helps lift entire communities.