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16 June 2016

Receiving remittances from a family member working abroad (file photo). Photo: IOM

IOM Statement on the International Day of Family Remittances

By William Lacy Swing, IOM Director General

Switzerland - The hard-earned money that migrants send every day to their loved ones back home represents a vital economic lifeline for millions of struggling families around the world. These remittances improve standards of living in countless ways and help to make vulnerable communities more resilient to shocks, such as economic downturns and natural and man-made disasters.  Remittances increase household income and pay for basic needs such as food, education, housing and medical services. The global scale of remittances is staggering. The World Bank estimates that worldwide remittance flows exceeded $601 billion in 2015, with developing countries estimated to receive about $441 of this total figure. With the number of international migrants expected to rise, a global increase in the amount of money remitted is likely to follow.

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A Toolkit to Support Migrants to Save and Invest

A new toolkit to help migrants learn about investment opportunities and how to cut costs when they send remittances home is being launched by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) today, on the second International Day of Family Remittances.

On each of IOM's 162 country webpages, migrants will be directed to resources (such as World Bank's money transfer comparison tool) that can help them save up to 20 per cent on the funds they send home. Members of the diaspora will also be able to learn about opportunities to support individual projects in their countries of origin and gain access to other relevant resources.

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‘Reduce Remittance Fees to One Percent’

Sending remittances is not a tradition or a cultural thing, but helping others financially is a responsibility. People in my family who are financially more comfortable will always take care of those relatives who need help.

Even when I was a student, I had to meet that responsibility. It is funny, but sometimes when my parents sent me money in France and I then remitted it to my relatives, even though my parents could have sent the money directly to them. But this is how it works. My parents helped some members of the family and I contributed to the wellbeing of some others. It wasn’t obligatory, but I wanted to do it.

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To know the answer to yesterday's migration quiz, go to our twitter poll here.


For the latest Mediterranean Update data on arrivals and fatalities please visit: #MigrationEurope



Migration in the News
  • Reuters and AFP reported 34 migrants have been found dead in Niger desert after being abandoned by their smuggler, according to a statement released by the Nigerien government.

  • Sputnik reported that Dutch marines taking part in the European Border Agency Frontex operations in the Mediterranean Sea rescued 193 migrants from a sinking ship, the Netherlands’ Defense Ministry said on Wednesday.

  • AP reported that more than 3,400 migrants died or were recorded as missing as they tried to cross borders around the globe in the first five months of the year — over 80 percent of them trying to reach Europe by sea, according to IOM.

  • New Business Ethiopia reported that 74 Ethiopian male migrants – 53 adults and 21 unaccompanied minors – stranded in Tanzania after crossing the Kenyan border irregularly were safely assisted back home to Ethiopia with IOM’s help.

  • Spain’s La Vanguardia reported on I Sea, a new application that allows anyone with a smartphone to help detect small boats crossing the Mediterranean Sea and thus help save lives.

  • Amnesty International said that the Dominican Republic has unlawfully expelled hundreds of Dominicans to Haiti who have been caught in the middle of a wave of returns and deportations of more than 100,000 people in recent months, in a new report launched a year after the Dominican Republic ended a moratorium on deportations on June 18, 2015.

  • reported that Mexican and US authorities are on the alert in view of the growing numbers of irregular migrants from Central America heading into the United States.

  • Bangladesh’s The Daily Star featured the story of a Rohingya couple who fled Myanmar and were eventually granted refugee status in Indonesia after a failed attempt to reach Australia by boat.

  • The New York Times reported that more than 1,300 people have died trying to cross the Mediterranean in boats from North Africa in the last few weeks alone.

Trending on the Internet

  • From The World Bank blog on migration, remittances and development: “Migrants and their families must be at the core of any remittance framework.”

Media Contacts

For comment / interviews on today's news, please go to the contact(s) listed at the end of each press briefing note.
For other information please contact the IOM Media & Communications team here