June 16, 2024 By: Gina Leon

International money transfers: Remittance Day

Every year, we celebrate Family Remittance Day on June 16. This day highlights the crucial role remittances play in supporting families worldwide. Remittances are the money that migrant workers send back home to their families. These funds are lifelines, helping with daily needs, education, healthcare, and more.

Remittances, a global phenomenon, constitute a substantial part of the income for many families in developing countries. The World Bank reports that in 2023, remittances worldwide reached a staggering $640 billion. In Australia alone, migrants sent back over $8 billion in the same year. This international money transfer not only sustains families but also bolsters the economies of the recipient countries, contributing to their development and poverty reduction.

This blog aims to illustrate the importance of remittances by sharing the real-life stories of migrant workers. We will explore their journeys, the challenges they face, and the profound impact their remittances have on their families. Through these stories, we hope to honour the hard work and sacrifices of migrants and underscore the importance of Family Remittance Day.

The role of migrant workers in global remittances

Migrant workers play a vital role in the global economy. They leave their homes and families to work in foreign lands, supporting their loved ones and contributing to the economies of their host and home countries.

According to the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA Migration data portal)​, there were around 281 million international migrants in 2023. They represent 3.6% of the world’s population. Migrants often work in essential but sometimes undervalued jobs. Despite the challenges, their dedication helps improve the lives of their families back home.

In Australia, there are over 7.5 million migrants, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics. Many of them regularly send money to their families abroad. These remittances help pay for food, education, healthcare, and housing. They also fund community projects and small businesses. This flow of international money transfers is crucial for many developing countries​.

A group of woman who send international money transfer.

Personal stories of migrant workers

Kamal from Bangladesh to Australia

Kamal moved to Australia from Bangladesh six years ago to work in agriculture. He works long hours, often under the scorching sun, but he knows his hard work is worth it. Kamal sends a significant portion of his earnings back to his wife and two children in Dhaka.

His remittances have transformed his family’s life. Before, they struggled to make ends meet, and his children couldn’t attend school regularly. Now, Kamal’s earnings pay for his children’s school fees, books, and uniforms. His wife can also afford better healthcare for their aging parents. “Every dollar I send home means my children can dream of a better future”.

Sunita from Nepal to Australia.

Sunita left her village in Nepal to work as a caregiver in Sydney. It was a tough decision, leaving her two young daughters behind with her parents, but she knew the opportunities in Australia could provide her family with a better life. Sunita works tirelessly, caring for older people and sending money back home every month.

Her remittances have profoundly impacted her family. Her daughters now attend a good school, and her parents have a stable income. Sunita’s earnings also funded the construction of a new house. “Seeing my family live comfortably makes all the sacrifices worth it”.

Ramesh from India to Australia

Ramesh left his hometown in India to work in the IT sector in Melbourne. He was driven by the desire to provide a better future for his family. Despite the challenges of living in a new country, Ramesh remained focused on his goal. He diligently sends a portion of his salary back to his wife and parents in Bangalore.

Ramesh’s remittances have funded his younger sister’s college education and covered his mother’s medical expenses. His contributions have also helped his father expand their small family business. “I miss home every day, but knowing that my family is thriving keeps me going”.

The broader impact of international money transfer

Economic Impact

Remittances are a significant source of income for many countries. In 2021, remittances to low- and middle-income countries reached $589 billion. This money helps boost local economies, create jobs, and reduce poverty.

In Australia, remittances sent by migrants help support their families and communities back home. This international money transfer not only aids individual families but also contributes to the economic development of their home countries.

Social Impact

Remittances have a profound social impact. They fund education, healthcare, and housing. These improvements lead to better living conditions and opportunities for families.

Remittances often help children stay in school and avoid child labour. They also ensure families can access medical care and live in safe, secure homes. This support is vital for improving the quality of life in developing countries.

Community Development

Remittances also support community development projects, such as building schools, hospitals, and infrastructure. Migrants often pool their resources to fund these projects, benefiting entire communities.

In Australia, many migrant communities organise fundraising events to support projects back home. This collective effort shows the strong bonds and sense of responsibility that migrants feel towards their home countries.

Brisbane City in Australia. Most of the migrant live in big cities in Australia
Morning view of Brisbane City from Kangaroo Point.

Challenges faced by migrants in sending remittances

Financial Barriers

Sending money home can be expensive. High fees and unfavourable exchange rates reduce the amount received by families. Migrants often face limited options and lack information on affordable services. Migrants must understand the different prices, sometimes hidden fees, and false promises in foreign exchange rates offered by remittance providers.

Many companies advertise low fees but add hidden costs that cut into the money sent home. This can be frustrating and costly for migrants who work hard to support their families.

Services like Rocket Remit help address these issues by offering low fees and excellent exchange rates. They ensure migrants can send their love and support to their families without hidden fees. By choosing reliable remittance services, migrants can maximise the amount their families receive and avoid unnecessary costs.

Legal and Regulatory Issues

Migrants also face legal and regulatory hurdles. These include restrictions on money transfers and difficulties in accessing banking services, which make it harder for migrants to send money home efficiently.

Understanding and complying with these regulations can be complex and time-consuming. It requires knowledge and resources that not all migrants have access to.

Personal Sacrifices

Migrants make significant personal sacrifices. They leave behind their families and familiar surroundings. They work long hours, often in demanding jobs.

Despite these challenges, migrants remain committed to supporting their families. Their hard work and determination are a testament to their love and dedication.

Migrant who send international money transfer
Migrants make significant personal sacrifices.

Before we wrap up

Family Remittance Day recognises and celebrates the contributions of migrant workers. Their remittances support millions of families and drive economic and social progress.

Through the stories of Kamal, Sunita, and Ramesh, we see the profound impact of remittances. These migrants work tirelessly to provide for their loved ones. Their efforts deserve our appreciation and support.

As we celebrate Family Remittance Day, remember the importance of international money transfer. Let’s acknowledge the sacrifices and dedication of migrants. And let’s continue to support and innovate the remittance industry for a better future.

About Rocket Remit

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