The UK could well be the world’s most significant migrant-positive nation if one considers the number of migrant residents it holds and the remittances they forward to their countries of origin.
Numbers say it all!
In 2015, the UK was the smallest nation (along with the UAE) holding the largest number of resident migrants with the US, Germany and Russia being the only (way bigger sized) exceptions! With just this much of extract from the 2018 International Organisation for Migration (IOM) report, I may be safe in asserting even without numerical levelling that the UK hosts the largest number of migrant residents in the world relative to its size.
Further, numbers clearly point that the UK’s large migrant pool is a positive one and a plus at aggregates if we look at the remittances transferred abroad by the migrants in its borders. A study reveals that in 2016, £21billion was sent abroad by its resident migrants. That is about 150 percent of the British overseas aid at about the same time, which as per official data (2016) was £13.4 billion!
Only do the US, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates send more remittances than the UK. Even in comparison to them, the UK remittances are significant if one further breaks down the £483bn remitted globally in 2017 as the World Bank mentions.
On who got the most from the UK, in order, Nigeria was the top receiver with £3.27bn sent in 2017, India stands next with £3.13bn, £1.4bn was sent to France, Pakistan received £1.34bn while Germany received £1bn.
Across the pond, the US is home to the biggest number of migrants from developing countries and is the biggest sender of remittances in the world. The biggest recipients of US remittances in 2017 were Mexico (US$30,019bn), China (US$16,141bn), India (US$11,715bn), Philippines (US$11,09bn) and Vietnam (US$7,735bn), according to the World Bank estimates.
In comparison, the UK received less than 5 percent from its residents abroad. Australia remitted the most with US$1.08bn received from there. Spain, Canada, the US and South Africa were the next biggest senders.
India is the biggest receiver of remittances across the world, receiving a total of US$68,968bn. Just as the Indian government clapped down British foreign aid recently, there is some respite in the fact that it does receive increasing amounts of private remittances. China is the second biggest receiver of remittances, after India, receiving a total of US$63,860bn- all of 2017.
Remittances from the UK not only have considerable positive impacts on productivity and economic growth in the UK but may also result in the transfer of skills, knowledge and technology to the recipient countries. Most of these other countries being less financially resilient than the UK and many outrightly poor and fragile.
Globally, the remittances are now more than three times the amount of all nations’ Official Development Assistance (ODA).
The UK has assimilated highly skilled migrants as well as those assailed by humanitarian crises across the globe. With more money sent by migrants than spent on overseas aid by the British government, it’s clear that the migrants in the UK are productive and skilled in per capita terms. In a way, they exceed the government!
Undoubtedly the net effects as well as per migrant contribution is significant- a fact that may ideally inform the emerging UK migrant policy for both skilled as well as not so privileged migrants!
By Anurag Srivastava.