x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Expats who toil for their families afar

India Dispatch: 1.7 million Indian nationals are earning salaries in the UAE.

About 7.5 million Indians work in the Gulf, according to the Indian government.

The Indian population in the UAE is about 1.7 million, which represents about 21 per cent of the country's residents and is by far the largest expatriate group.

Indians based in the Emirates account for nearly 13 per cent of the total remittance flow into India. Indian expats tend to send most of their salaries to their families in their native country.

Non-resident Indians (NRIs) use official and unofficial channels to transfer money.

Many use ordinary bank transfers, but thousands rely on hawala, an informal network of money brokers.

According to the World Bank, there has been a huge increase in remittances from Indians abroad over the past seven years.

In 2003, India received US$21 billion (Dh77.13bn) from overseas, but by last year last year the figure had grown to $55bn.

India received the highest remittance of any country last year.

Remittances to India account for about 3 per cent of GDP.

The states of Kerala and Punjab received the largest amounts.

The Reserve Bank of India announced a series of liberalisation policies last month to make foreign exchange transactions easier for NRIs.

These include joint local bank accounts and lending in rupees.