Remittances to India this year are likely to increase to $70 billion, the highest in the world, followed by $66 billion to China, the World Bank said in a report on Wednesday.
The sharp increase in remittances to India has come from the Gulf countries.
Regions and countries with large numbers of migrants in oil-exporting countries continue to see robust growth in inward remittance flows, compared with those whose migrant workers are largely concentrated in the advanced economies, especially Western Europe.
"South Asia, MENA (Middle East and North Africa) and East Asia and Pacific regions, with large numbers of workers in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries, are seeing better-than-expected growth in remittances," the World Bank said.
The total remittance flow to the developing countries is expected to touch $406 billion this year, registering an increase of 6.5% over the previous year's figure.
Remittances to the developing countries are projected to grow by 7.9% in 2013, 10.1% in 2014 and 10.7% in 2015 to reach $534 billion in 2015, according to the latest World Bank report on global migration and remittances.
“Although migrant workers are, to a large extent, adversely affected by the slow growth in the global economy, remittance volumes have remained remarkably resilient, providing a vital lifeline to not only poor families but a steady and reliable source of foreign currency in many poor remittances recipient countries,” Hans Timmer, director of the World Bank’s Development Prospects Group, said in the report.
Among the top remittance receivers, India and China will be followed by the Philippines and Mexico with $24 billion each and Nigeria with $21 billion.
Other large recipients include Egypt, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Vietnam, and Lebanon.
As a percentage of gross domestic product (GDP), the top recipients of remittances, in 2011, were Tajikistan (47%), Liberia (31%), Kyrgyz Republic (29%), Lesotho (27%), Moldova (23%), Nepal (22%), and Samoa (21%).
For South Asia, remittances in 2012 are expected to total $109 billion, an increase of 12.5% over 2011; East Asia and the Pacific region is estimated to attract $114 billion, an increase of 7.2% over 2011; while MENA is expected to receive $47 billion, an increase of 8.4% over the previous year.
Remittances to Latin America and the Caribbean are supported by a recovering economy and an improving labour market in the United States but moderated by a weak European economy. The region will, thus, see modest growth of 2.9% in 2012, totalling an estimated $64 billion.
"Migrant workers are displaying tremendous resilience in the face of the continuing economic crisis in advanced countries,” said Dilip Ratha, manager of the World Bank’s migration and remittances unit and lead author of the 'Migration and Development Brief'.
“Their agility in finding alternate [sic] employment and cutting down on personal expenses has prevented large-scale return to their home countries,” Ratha said.
Going forward, the World Bank expects continued growth in remittance flows to all regions of the world, although persistent unemployment in Europe and hardening attitudes towards migrant workers in some places present serious downside risks.
Another obstacle to the growth of remittance flows is the high cost of sending money, which averaged 7.5% in the third quarter of 2012 for the top 20 bilateral remittance corridors and 9% for all countries for which cost data are available.
The average remittance cost for sub-Saharan Africa was 12.4%, the highest amongst all developing regions.