The volume of funds sent by foreign workers, who live and work in Cayman, to their home countries has declined steadily since 2008.
The 19.3 per cent fall in remittances from CI$228.97 million in 2008 to CI$184.76 million in 2010 is set to continue this year, the first ever remittance report by the Cayman Islands Monetary Authority has revealed.
The Cayman Islands Remittance Report includes all the workers’ remittances transmitted by remittance companies licensed in the Cayman Islands as money service providers.
In the first two quarters of 2011 foreign workers sent abroad $42.8 million and $45.2 million respectively, which if the trend continues, would result in a 4 to 5 per cent decline compared to 2010.
Approximately two thirds of all remittances from Cayman are sent to Jamaica, followed by the Philippines (10.8 per cent), Honduras (6.4 per cent) and the Dominican Republic (1.5 per cent).
While the share of Jamaican remittances remained largely unchanged since 2008, the share of funds sent to the Philippines has increased to nearly 11 per cent this year, up from 7.3 per cent in 2008.
This is mainly a reflection of the smaller decline in the number of Filipino work permit holders in the Cayman Islands, compared to other nationalities over the past three years. Since 2008 the number of Jamaican workers in the Cayman Islands declined by nearly 3,500 to 7,998 (-30.2 per cent) at the end of 2010. The number of Honduran work permit holders fell during that period by -29.5 per cent to 792, significantly more than the decline in workers from the Dominican Republic (-13.7 per cent) and the Philippines (-7.6 per cent).
The overall decreasing number of foreign workers from these core remittance countries also explains the general drop in remittance flows.
Yet the amount of funds sent home each year by individual workers remains relatively high. Dividing the total remittances sent to any particular country by the number of workers from that country shows that on average Jamaican workers repatriated $15,236 in 2010. This is followed by Hondurans with $15,003, Dominicans with $11,889 and Filipinos with $6,860.
It must be remembered, however, that in reality these figures might well be lower given that Caymanians who have family relations in these countries may send remittances, too.
While remittances from Cayman have been declining, globally remittances recovered in 2010 to the 2008 level of US$325 billion after having dropped to $307 billion in 2009 as a result of the global financial crisis. Flows are projected to rise to $351 billion in 2011 and $374 billion by 2012, according to The World Bank.
More than 215 million people, approximately 3 per cent of the world’s population, are migrants and the money they send home is an important source of funds in developing economies.