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Immigrants still sending money back home despite rising costs of living; World Remit Report

WorldRemit, which serves more than 5 million customers across 130 countries worldwide, has released a report of a recent survey they conducted in July. The aim of the survey was to understand the impact of the rising costs of living across the globe. A total of 3000 responses were received, 1000 each from the US, the UK and Australia.

Here are the key findings:

  • 78% of remittance senders agree that the cost of living has increased for themselves.
  • 75% of respondents said that the costs of living for those they send money to has increased since the start of the year
  • Daily expenses, healthcare and educational support continue to be major reasons for sending 
  • The survey also shows that migrants around the world have changed their spending habits during this period of inflation to maintain their financial obligation to family and loved ones back home.  
  • 49% reported that they eat out less, 46% save on day-to-day expenses, 28% limit social gatherings to save money, and 25% opt for public transportation rather than driving themselves 

The resilience of remittances is welcome news for Kenya considering money sent back home by Kenyans in the diaspora represents one of the top sources of forex for the country, surpassing tourism, tea, and horticultural exports in recent years. 

Data from the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) shows that remittances reached USD 3.71 billion (KES 421.98 billion) in 2021, up 20.2 percent from USD 3.09 billion (KES 351.46 billion) a year earlier. Remittances in Kenya have hit a record high every year since 2016. 

WorldRemit notes that the continued shift to digital remittance technologies has made it more convenient and affordable for those in the diaspora to send money back home. 

The London based digital remittances firm also noted that Kenya is among the top 3 countries in Africa where WorldRemit users globally send money to. The company processed transactions to Kenya worth 170 million GBP (approx. KES 24.47 billion) as of June 1st, 2022. This figure puts Kenya at par with Zimbabwe and second only to Nigeria, where WorldRemit users globally sent 270 million GBP (approx. KES 38.86 billion).

“Migrants’ resilience and commitment to their loved ones back home has proven to be vital, especially in a period where household expenses are increasing around the world,” said Jorge Godinez Reyes, Head of the Americas, WorldRemit. “This latest study proves that even during times of financial instability, many migrants are making conscious adjustments to their daily lives to maintain the regular flow of remittances to families and loved ones back home.”

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