Reduced Remittances from Russia and Ukraine

Reduced Remittances from Russia and Ukraine

The FINANCIAL -- Money transfers to Georgia constituted USD 323,559,100 during the first quarter of 2014, up from USD 310,518,400 in the same period of last year. In total the amount was 4 percent more than in the first quarter of 2013, though the volume of money transfers from Russia was reduced. 

With USD 156 million, Russia is still the leading country by remittances to Georgia. Comparison of the first quarters of 2013 and 2014 has shown USD 8 million, or 5%, reduction of money transfers from Russia this year. A reduction was also seen from Ukraine - USD 623,700, or 6.2%, less was transferred from Ukraine, as the country is in the midst of serious political turmoil.

USD 9,432,800 was transferred to Georgia from Ukraine in the first quarter of 2014, down from USD 10,056,500 in 2013 in the same period. The country is top sixth by remittances to Georgia. Despite the 5% reduction, the Russian Federation leads the list of the top countries from which the largest share of remittances are sent to Georgia. It is followed by Greece, Italy, the USA, Turkey, Ukraine, Spain, Germany, Israel, Azerbaijan, the UK and Kazakhstan. These countries constitute the list from which money transfers to Georgia exceed USD 1 million per month.

As well as the Russian Federation and Ukraine, remittances have also been reduced from the UK. USD 3 million was transferred in 2014, while the sum amounted to USD 4 million during the previous year.

USD 49 million was transferred from Greece to Georgia in 2014, up from USD 41 million in the first quarter of 2013. Significant growth was shown from Italy. USD 17 million was sent in January-March 2014, up from USD 7 million in 2013.

Monthly comparisons of 2014 show that the largest share - USD 120.5 million - was transferred in March. In February the sum amounted to USD 106.5 million, and in January - USD 98.7 million.

The volume of remittances in March 2014 (USD 120.5 million) was USD 7.8 million (GEL 13.6 million), or 6.9 percent more than the amount was in March 2013.

90.6 percent of the total money transfers from abroad came from 9 big donor countries, with the volume of transfers from these countries each exceeding USD 1.5 million in March 2014. In March 2013 the share of these 9 countries constituted 90.7 percent of the total volume of money transfers.

In March 2014, USD 14.2 million was transferred from Georgia, as compared to the USD 11.3 million in March 2013.

The volume of outflow from Georgia has increased by 23% during the first quarter of 2014 compared with the same period of 2013. USD 38.8 million was transferred from Georgia during the current year, up from the USD 31 million in 2013.

According to the migration policy centre of the European Union 2013 report, looking at destination countries’ statistics, 767,489 or 198,904 Georgian migrants resided abroad in the years around 2012 (table 1), who represent respectively 17.1% or 4.4% of the total population residing in Georgia.

Immigration stocks in Georgia show relatively small flows in comparison to other countries in the CIS region. However, in the past decade flows have steadily increased. Labour immigrants move to Georgia mostly from India, Turkey and China.

Georgian consular statistics found stocks to amount to 405,433 emigrants. Based on the country of citizenship criterion, these statistics likely include a number of irregular migrants - who want to be in a regular position at least with the institutions of their countries of origin - and some second generation migrants. According to these figures, over half of all migrant stocks are in Russia.

Migrants are heavily distributed across the working ages. As for their gender composition, males are much more represented in other former Soviet republics (64.0%), while a more gender-balanced profile is observed in other countries (males make up 49.2%). Georgian migrants tend to be medium-highly educated with 45.3% holding a secondary diploma and 32.8% tertiary education.

Migrants in OECD countries tend however to be higher skilled with the same percentage being at 35.7% and 38.7% compared with those staying in other former Soviet republics (where the same values stand at 53.8% and 27.7%, respectively).

In OECD countries, there are three main occupational shares for Georgian emigrants - professionals (18.4%), service workers and shop and market sales workers (16.4%), and craft and related trades workers (14.8%).

The main motivation to migrate for 78.4% of all emigrants was to improve their current economic situation. Study (6.6%) and asylum (1.1%) were the other motivations of note.

Skills mismatch is a likely trend amongst Georgian stocks, as one in four potential migrants has been found not to have a particular job preference. Instead, gaining employment is their major aim. For example, potential emigrants are willing to accept lowly qualified jobs such as domestic help/care giving.