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Migrants in Germany Sent Nearly £16 Billion to Their Homelands in 2016

BERLIN, GERMANY - JANUARY 11: A sign advertises the money transfer service Western Union on January 11, 2018 in Berlin, Germany. Much of the German financial services, consumer goods and foodstuffs economy is dominated by nationwide chains and brands. (Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images)
Sean Gallup/Getty Images

Migrants in Germany sent back £15.6 billion ($20.6bn) to their homelands in 2016, a number dwarfing the country’s total foreign aid budget.

The figures, released by the German Federal government, come following a parliamentary request from the populist Alternative for Germany (AfD) and reveal the massive growth of capital outflow from Germany by migrants compared to previous years, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung reports.

The £15.6 billion figure is not only a £5.7 billion ($7.5bn) rise from 2007 but is also more than double the German foreign aid budget in 2016 which stood at £6.9 billion ($9.1 bn).

Figures are high in other countries as well such as the United States where an estimated £106 billion ($140bn) was sent back to migrants’ countries of origin in the same year. In the UK in 2014, £10.9 billion ($14.4bn) flowed out of the country.

While some experts believe there are benefits for migrants sending money back home, such as the fact it makes the money more likely to directly go to their family members rather than potentially corrupt governments, others see negative ramifications for such large outflows of cash, FAZ reports.

Some claim that the poorest members of the origin countries do not benefit as they are unlikely to have relatives abroad to send them back cash, while others cite the fact that some countries become reliant on money being sent back to them such as Tajikistan where it accounts for 42 percent of the country’s GDP.

While remittances are a small part of the migrant crisis, the sum total of all the issues relating to the crisis came close to bringing down the government of Chancellor Angela Merkel over the last several weeks when Interior Minister Horst Seehofer announced he wanted to overhaul the asylum system and turn away migrants at the border.

Chancellor Merkel did an about turn and found a compromise with Seehofer, who leads the sister party of Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union, the Christian Social Union, earlier this week.

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