Migrants and the Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Remittances

Manuel Orozco
Date of Publication: 
March, 2020
Source Organization: 

This analysis by the Migration, Remittances and Development Program at the Inter-American Dialogue offers a glimpse of the potential impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on US immigrants and family remittances. The pandemic will be especially hard on those who are financially vulnerable and have underlying health risks. Even though the pandemic tends to be more dangerous for older adults, migrants (who are typically far younger than this high-risk age-group) will likely still be disproportionally affected. With continued business closures, diminished economic activity, and a forecast recession, migrants, who predominantly work in the construction and services industries, may be the first ones to lose income—either by working fewer hours, days, or losing their jobs. Past events involving worldwide crises can offer insight as to how this pandemic will likely affect remittance transfers. A conservative estimate shows that remittances will register a negative seven percent (-7 percent) decline in 2020 relative to 2019, from $76 billion to $70 billion. As the virus continues to spread, countries that will likely suffer the most will be Haiti, Venezuela, Nicaragua and Honduras. The loss of remittances may likely trigger humanitarian crises in these countries.

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Orozco, M. (2020, March 18). Migrants and the Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Remittances. Inter-American Dialogue. https://www.thedialogue.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/Migration-remittances-and-the-impact-of-the-pandemic-3.pdf