A Bow To Migrant Workers

Migrant workers will send home $414 billion by the end of 2013, a %6.3 increase over last year and a figure that is expected to go as high as $700 billion by 2016. To the nations which receive the remittances, they are often in excess of the foreign aid given to them. What’s even more remarkable than this amount, are the obstacles the migrant workers have to surmount. Banks charge up to %9 for the transactions, and beneficiaries sometimes have to pay additional fees. In some areas international banks are closing the accounts of many transfer operators for fear of money laundering or financing of terrorism. From the workers side, they may be illegal and have to deal with the hardships of their status, frequently brave perilous voyages to a country where they hope to find work, face smugglers and other dangers, and if they make it may be subject to recruitment, visas, passport or residency permit fees. One can only imagine the privations and sacrifices of workers who are so often ill treated, underpaid and live in substandard conditions so that they may help their families abroad. How many of us would be willing to do what they do, much less do it over long periods? Still too many look down on migrant workers, when the reality challenges us to reevaluate our stereotypes and ideas about them.