UNESCO thinks financial companies are taking too big a cut of the £8 billion UK migrants send abroad to their families each year.
What it means: Most migrant workers are low paid by UK standards (25 percent of them earn the minimum wage, compared to just 14 percent of Brits). But even the UK minimum wage is often significantly higher than what they could earn back in their native countries. So the money these workers send back can often make a big difference to their left-behind family’s quality of life. In particular, it can be used to ensure kids receive a good education.
The more educated someone is, the more money they tend to earn (an extra 10 percent salary rise for every year of school, according to the World Bank.) Especially in poorer countries, that tends to be good news for both individuals and their economies. People on higher wages pay more tax, so governments get more money to spend on roads and police officers and other stuff people like. They can also buy more things, helping to support local businesses and aid job creation. And better-educated workers also have the skills and training to do higher-value work or come up with new ideas and innovations.
Because of these benefits, UNESCO (yes, them of the heritage sites, but they also do stuff around promoting global human rights, freedom and fairness) has criticised finance companies for putting large charges on money transferred abroad. It says that the average fees eat up 7 percent of the money sent, and recommends they should be dropped to just 3 percent.
But a representative of the financial companies said the problem is that the financial sector is too heavily regulated (i.e. controlled by the government) which stops new businesses wanting to set up shop. They think that with a bit more competition, fee prices would fall of their own accord. (Some might say they just don’t want governments to force them to lower fees).
We’ve moved beyond a world where your country was all that matters. Our economies have become bigger than we realise. Things we use are less and less likely to come from our own country and more likely to have been imported from a country across the globe – this has become so normal that we’ve forgotten what a huge implication this has for how our economies work…