The process of the globalization coincided with the open and swift flow of information and further ease of transportations and communications have led to the formation of international migration phenomena on a worldwide level. Although adoption of strict laws by different countries for issuing people’s entrance and exit permissions has caused migration growth to pave a constant trend compared to the global population growth, the degree of migration significance among other social phenomena has never decreased while this phenomenon has changed into one of the most important and efficient social events worldwide. Some socialists have known migration, especially international migration to be the main concern of social researchers since the beginning of the 21st century in a way that this issue has produced important and radical challenges among international statesman and scholars (Maloney & Korinek, 2011, p. 1). In 1988, United Nations proclaimed as soon as the length of an individual’s stay in another country exceeds one year, that person is called an international migrant instead of international visitor (Kritz, 2007, p. 3019). At the beginning of the 21st century, attitudes towards the significance of migration phenomenon and its efficient role in the development of less-developed communities underwent a remarkable resurgence. Widespread researches raised in the field of the role of migration in the development of societies in world’s different universities. The key basis of this attitude is the discussion about remittances moving in the opposite direction of migrations. Remittances are allowances and goods sent by internal or international emigrants to their families and communities in their hometowns (Blackwell, 2011). The main remittance corridors also represent migrants’ capital returns (or North-South remittance flows) very well. In all these corridors, the sender is a rich developed country and the receiver is a developing country. It is interesting to note that many of these remittance corridors are the most important within the migratory corridors. Thus, the reverse remittance flow is clearly proven (see table 1).
Migration and remittance in GCC countries
Over the years Middle East has emerged as a prime destination for the world’s migrants. In 2010 around 19 million migrants were present in this region which includes 6.1 percent of the total population of the region. So immigrant density in ME is twice of that in the world. Three percent of worlds’ population includes international migrants (IAMTN, 2010).
But there is no doubt that among Middle East countries we see 6 Arab countries member in Persian Gulf Cooperation Council (includes KSA, UAE, Qatar, Kuwait, Oman and Bahrain) which have accepted enormous rate of migrant from various parts of the world. Estimates of the World Bank shows that in 2010 around 15 million foreigners have lived and worked in these states that was 40 percent of the population of GCC.
Thus migrant density in this region is 13th times more than world average which is the uttermost in the world. In this regard we can posit GCC region beside North America and Europe.
Among the region KSA is home to 7.3 million immigrants and after that UAE has accepted 3.3 million (Fact Book, 2011). Furthermore 98 percent of UAE labors and 90 percent of Qatar labors are from the other countries (IMTN, 2010). More information is in figure 1.
In terms of the share of international migrants in total population, Qatar tops the list(86, 5%) and is followed by the UAE (70%) and Kuwait (68.8%); Bahrain (39.1%) is 18th, Oman (28,4%) is 28th and finally KSA (27.8%) is 30th. (Fact Book, 2011)
Most of immigrants living in GCC, are from MENA (contains Egypt, Yemen, Iran, Syria, KSA, Sudan, Algeria, Gurdon, Sudan and Morocco) and north and east north of Asia (contains India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Philippines and Indonesia) (Table 2).
The table shows main immigrants in GCC, are from undeveloped or developing countries of Asia and North Africa. India has sent the most migrant in between. According to World Bank report in 2011, India-KSA and India-UAE are 2 0f 5 important migration corridors in south Asia. India-UAE is the 5th corridor in the world. IMF expected remittances from GCC states to touch $74bn. Last year outward remittances from the GCC region stood at $65.6bn, IMF said in its Regional economic outlook. Outward remittances from the region accounted for $52.9bn in 2008 and $60.4bn in 2009 (Gulf Times, 2011). IMF estimated this figure about $83bn in 2012.
Statistics in 2008 shows that 78 percent of remittance outflow of Middle East has been from GCC region (IMTN, 2010). KSA by $26bn outflow in 2009 has been the first place. According to Arab News, year-to-July 2013 outflow of remittances of Saudi Arabia expanded by 14.9 percent year-on-year. In terms of migrant population this country ranked 4th globally (Fact Book, 2011).
India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Philippines, Egypt and Yemen are top countries which impart to GGC remittance outflow. IMF said: “Growth linkages between the GCC and the other countries in the region are also significant. Estimates indicate that an increase of 1 percentage point in the GCC’s real GDP growth will increase GDP growth in migrant workers’ countries of origin by 1/3 percentage point” (Gulf Times, 2011).
Sending labor migrant, India has abled to enter around $55bn which approximately is 4 percent of its GDP. 45 percent of remittance outflow of GCC has entered to India.
Pakistanis immigrants are the second largest group that has sent $10bn to their country in 2011 as a 6 percent of Pakistan GDP. Bangladesh and Seri Lanka receive 12 and 8 percent of their GDP via remittance from all over the world. Most of which, are from GCC.
In addition outward foreign direct investment (FDI) from the GCC is projected at $42.7bn in 2011. Outward FDIs from the region totaled $38.6bn in 2008, $16bn (2009) and $20.9bn (2010), IMF said.
The region holds a key space in the global migration map. The World Bank recognizes the importance of the Middle East as an alternative destination. The presence of such markets becomes particularly important in times of crisis such as the global economic slowdown last year. In 2009, the recipient regions (Latin America, Africa) dependent on the US suffered badly, but those having diversified presence (South Asia) fared quite well (IMTN, 2010).
Also, the Middle East accommodates bulk of the low-skilled and semi-skilled workers hailing from the poor developing nations such as Pakistan and Bangladesh, both of which posted remarkable growth in remittances in 2009. The majority of remittances for these countries come from this region. Recently, a number of major destination countries such as the US, UK, Australia, Malaysia and Russia have reduced the annual quotas or imposed tougher standards for immigrant workers (Ibid).
Increasing outflow of funds from Persian Gulf Cooperation Council estates reveals extremely high attractiveness of the area for migrants and remaining this trend wouldn’t be unexpected.