Spain: 20% of Remittances Through Informal Channels


January 20, 2010

(ANSAmed) – MADRID – Twenty percent of remittances that immigrants send from Spain to their home countries leave through ''informal'' channels, unchecked, without guarantees.

Between January and September of 2009, foreign residents in Spain sent remittances totalling 7.050 billion euros; 20%, or 1.7 billion euros of which passed through unregulated channels, according to the results of a study published by the Permanent Immigration Commission.

In presenting the results of the study to the press, Secretary of State for Immigration Consuelo Rumi underscored that remittances that do not go through channels that are controlled can only be estimated, while those sent through regular channels represent a substantial percentage of the GDP for immigrants' countries of origin, which in some cases account for more than 10% of the GDP.

The economic crisis, naturally, has had serious effects also on the amount of remittances, which, after hitting a record level in 2007 with 8.445 billion euros, reached just over 7 billion euros in 2009.

The scarce figure of 20% that travelled through illegal channels did so in various ways, but mainly were carried by car. In 2008, 421 travellers were stopped by Spanish customs officers, exiting from the country in possession of greater than allowed or declared sums of money.

According to the head of the study, Inigo More', the illegal transfer of money is not a generalised phenomenon, but mainly involves several communities of immigrants, such as Venezuelans, 70% of which prefer this system; followed by Gambian citizens (50%), then Ukrainians, Moroccans and Polish citizens (40%).

Ecuadorians are the most observant of the legal mechanisms.

In terms of the amount of remittances, Moroccans topped the rankings of illegal transfers, followed by Romanians and Portuguese citizens.