For many immigrants having to pay thousands of dollars to get smuggled to an opportunity in life just because no functional temporary immigration programs have been enacted; being easily cheated in their new surroundings because no one cared about teaching them a foreign language; paying fortunes in phone calls to communicate with their families; having to live in cramped quarters paying exorbitant rentals; incurring many costs just because they are not allowed a drivers license; and making all type of other sacrifices in order to send some help home, the fees they pay for that might indeed be high, but, frankly, they are among the least of their problems.
Trying to understand the economic effect of immigration by looking at the remittances is a bit like trying to understand the world’s economy by looking only at the cash dividends paid out by corporation.
Development banks have looked more than enough at the issue of remittances fees and it will be solved, in due time, with competition among service providers. It is now high time to move on.
Sent to FT, November 20, 2005