In a groundbreaking achievement, India has surged ahead as the world’s top recipient of remittances, surpassing the unprecedented milestone of $100 billion, as reported by the United Nations’ migration agency.

The International Organisation for Migration (IOM) unveiled its latest findings in the World Migration Report 2024, highlighting India’s commanding position among the top remittance recipient countries alongside Mexico, China, the Philippines, and France.

“India stands tall, leading the pack with over $111 billion, a feat never before accomplished, solidifying its status as the foremost destination for remittances,” the report stated.

While Mexico secured the second spot in 2022, China relinquished its historical position, sliding to third place, as per the report’s data. India’s ascension to the top echelon of remittance recipients reflects a steady climb since 2010 when it first topped the charts with $53.48 billion, followed by notable milestones in 2015 and 2020.

The report underscored Southern Asia’s pivotal role in global remittance inflows, with India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh emerging among the top ten recipients worldwide. Despite the economic lifeline remittances provide, migrant workers from these regions face multifaceted challenges, including financial exploitation and xenophobia.

The Gulf States remain key destinations for migrant labor, particularly highlighted during the 2022 football World Cup, which magnified issues concerning migrant rights violations. Migrants, predominantly hailing from countries like India, Egypt, Bangladesh, Ethiopia, and Kenya, contribute significantly to sectors such as construction, hospitality, and retail in these nations.

India’s prominence extends beyond remittances, boasting the largest diaspora worldwide, with significant populations residing in countries like the United Arab Emirates, the United States, and Saudi Arabia. Furthermore, India features prominently in international migration corridors, underscoring its interconnectedness with nations like the United Arab Emirates, the United States, Saudi Arabia, and Bangladesh.

Meanwhile, Mexico’s rise as the second-largest recipient of remittances signifies a shifting dynamic, with China ceding its long-held position due to various factors, including demographic changes and stringent travel policies.

The report also shed light on the educational landscape, noting Asia’s dominance in supplying internationally mobile students, particularly from China and India. The United States emerges as the leading destination for these students, followed closely by the UK, Australia, Germany, and Canada.

However, challenges persist, notably in irregular migration patterns to the United States, which saw a surge in encounters at the US-Mexico border, attributed in part to geopolitical shifts and policy changes.

Amidst the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic, the report highlighted the profound impact on Indian emigrant workers, exacerbating vulnerabilities among low-skilled laborers and informal economy workers. The pandemic-induced disruptions reshaped internal labor migration patterns, with a notable decline in urban migration and a significant reverse migration trend.

Since 2000, the IOM has been at the forefront of documenting global migration trends, offering insights into the evolving landscape of human mobility every two years.