Home > Uncategorized > Sending money home – remittances from ‘foreign’ labour in the EU

Sending money home – remittances from ‘foreign’ labour in the EU

from Merijn Knibbe

The European Union is changing into one labour market (again…). International mobility is higher than you might think: Germany has more than 7 million foreign citizens, Spain almost 6 million, many of them from South America. Aside from these citizens there are millions of seasonal and temporary workers – and these people are sending billions of Euros home (7 billion from foreign citizens in Spain alone, and that’s surely a minimum taking the black market and cash transfers into consideration!). Some data, from a recent Eurostat publication

EU27 top remitting countries: Spain, Italy, Germany, France and the Netherlands. As in previous years, the outflow of workers’ remittances in 2010 was highest in Spain at 7.2 bn euro or 23% of total EU27 remittances, Italy (6.6 bn or 21%), Germany (3.0 bn or 10%), France (2.9 bn or 9%), and the Netherlands (1.5 bn or 5%). These five Member States accounted for nearly 21.2 billion euro, or 68% of total EU remittances (Table 2). This might not be surprising given that 66% of all the 32.5 million foreigners in the EU resided in these five Member States in 2010 (Table 1).

Table 1: Foreign* citizens in the EU, 2010

Country Foreign citizens
Germany                        7 130 919
Spain                             5 663 525
France                           3 769 016
United Kingdom             4 362 000
Italy                               4 235 059
Netherlands                     652 188
EU-27 3                         2 489 000

* Foreigners in this table are defined as persons who are not citizens of the country in which they reside
Source: Eurostat

Table 3: Major remittance corridors – outflows, in million euro, 2010

Italy to China 1 816
Spain to Colombia conf.
Spain to Ecuador conf.
Italy to Romania 869
Germany to Turkey 820
Italy to Philippines 743
Spain to Bolivia conf.
France to Morocco 612
Greece to Albania 514
France to Portugal 467

Fun fact – the European Institutions are mentioned as a seperate entity – which shows a 4,6 billion boost the the Belgium/Luxembourg economy, not counting secondary effects.

  1. robert r locke
    January 31, 2012 at 5:59 am

    I think your statistics would be more helpful if they distinguished between EU people workiing abroad in other EU countries, which is encouraged in the Union, and those working in EU countries who come from outside the EU. Lots of people work in Germany who are EU borderland Citizens (Holland, Luxembourg, Belgium, France, Poland).

  2. Pyrite
    July 26, 2012 at 10:28 pm

    About 1,000 euro’s surplus to send home a year is not much. Hopefully it would be worth enough back home to make it worth while. If that’s it it really is not fair compensation.

    Perhaps the statistics are wrong?

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