Expats in the Gulf send home US$100bn

Published:  10 Jun at 9 AM
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Expatriate workers in the oil-rich Gulf states sent home over US$100bn in remittances in 2014, according to a recent economic report.

In a strong indication of growth, the figure marked a two-fold increase since 2010, said Kuwait Financial Center (Markaz) head of economic research Raghu Mandagoathur.

About 25 million expats reside in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) nations of United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Kuwait, Oman, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, which roughly equates to the same number of locals in the states.

The report, which cited World Bank and IMF data, said that the remittances were estimated at 6.2 per cent of the GCC states’ combined GDP of US$1.6trn. In comparison, foreign workers in the UK and the US sent home 0.8 per cent and 0.7 per cent of GDP in remittances respectively.

In Saudi Arabia, roughly 10 million expats sent home US$44bn – the highest of the six states – while US$29bn was remitted from UAE. Remittances from Kuwait was at US$12bn and from Qatar US$9.5bn, while the amount of funds sent home from Bahrain and Oman were slightly less.

The majority of foreign workers in the Gulf originate from Egypt, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Indonesia and Yemen.

The high remittance figures can be linked to restrictions on foreign ownership and investment in the GCC states, according to the report. Furthermore, unlike in Western nations, expatriates are unable to obtain citizenship regardless of how long they stay in these countries.
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