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South Asia: Remittances from Gulf migrant workers expected to decline by 22 percent this year

Author: Sebastian Castelier, The New Arab, Published on: 1 June 2020

"Gulf recession reverberates across Asia as remittances from migrant workers plummet", 2 June 2020

...Thousands of other Gulf migrant workers have been unable to send money back home due to the economic downturn caused by Covid-19 and the oil crisis.

According to the World Bank, remittances to South Asia will decline by 22 percent in 2020, following a growth of 6 percent last year. 

Beyond economic indicators, this 'Gulf money' is a crucial lifeline for millions of families across the Indian subcontinent, often keeping the most vulnerable households afloat.

Indian low-skilled workers in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), for example, earn 1.5 to three times more in wages than they would at home, the International Labour Organization (ILO) estimates.

The rapid economic development experienced by the Arab states of the Gulf in recent decades offered South Asia an opportunity to export local employment and gain wages in return. In Nepal, remittances account for 28.6 percent of the Gross Domestic Product.

In the Gulf, migrant workers are the lifeblood of the economy, yet many have been left to fend for themselves during the pandemic as stimulus packages announced by governments across the region provide minimal assistance to unpaid or jobless foreign labourers...


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