Remittances: down 15% per worker but up 15% in total
Emirates 24|7 quoting Jean Claude Farah, Regional Vice-President for the Middle East, Pakistan and Afghanistan at Western Union:
According to our assessment, expatriates in the GCC region were able to cover their living costs using only 20 per cent of their salaries and they could keep 80 per cent of it free for remittances to their families or for their savings and investments. Following the inflationary wave in the region, the cost of living surged sharply to about 45 per cent of the expatriates' income. This had a significant impact on remittances. The value of each remittance declined.
The other change in the industry was the increasing number of remittances from the region due to the enormous economic development, which attracted a large number of expatriate workers in different development projects in the GCC countries. The overall value of remittances from the Gulf increased with more people remitting money home thus increasing the number of transactions, but the monetary value of each remittance declined.
The UAE remittance market is estimated at $6.5 billion [Dh23.87bn] in 2008, while remittances ranged between $4.5bn and $5bn during the previous two years.