COVID-19 AND REMITTANCES

Publication Year : 2020

Foreign remittances are an important source of much needed foreign exchange in Pakistan. Remittances have helped the country in reducing the current account deficit and external debt burden. The COVID-19 crisis is feared to bring a decline in remittances to Pakistan. Recession in global market and international travel restrictions due to COVID-19, and the decline in the oil prices have led to a significant decline in remittance flows. The Gulf region is a major destination for migrant workers and perhaps the largest source of migrants’ remittances to South Asian countries including Pakistan. Migrant workers are a large part of the GCC economies. Eighty per cent of the UAE population are foreign nationals. In Saudi Arabia, about 80 per cent of the labour force consists of migrant workers. Many of these overseas workers are employed as low-skilled workers in construction, hotels and restaurants and as domestic workers. For most of these workers, this is their only chance of employment and improving their lives. At the same time the recipient countries benefit from the billion of dollars received as remittances from these countries.