Fintech InstaReM, has revealed that migrant women in the UK, despite being the primary source of care for their families ‘back home’, pay up to 20% more than men to transfer money abroad. UK Migrant women are disproportionately employed in low income work, and often paid weekly, transfering money ‘little and often’ thereby incurring greater fees. Female migrants reportedly have lower levels of online literacy and less access to the internet than men, meaning they are unable to use lower cost digital transfer options. In the UK, migrant women (42%) are more likely to send money back to their families when compared to men, as a result the gender bias in transfer fees has a negative impact on the people they support.
Amongst those most heavily hit by the gender bias in money transfers are female migrants on overseas domestic visas in the UK (estimated to number 19,000). These low-paid domestic roles, are overwhelmingly taken by women from the Philippines, who remit money home, little and often to their families for the duration of their visa. To champion the female migrant domestic workers hit by the gender bias in remittance, InstaReM has redesigned the UK £10 note to tell the story of a Filipino female migrant and the impact the remittance gender bias is having on her, for this year’s International Women’s Day.
The UK is the world’s fourth largest sender of remittances with migrants in the UK sending £21 billion to their families back ‘home’ in 2017 (according to the latest World Bank figures) with much of this money (48%) being used for food and healthcare. One of the regions that relies most on money sent ‘home’ from the UK is Southeast Asia. India, Pakistan and The Philippines are the top three destinations for UK remittances in this region. In 2017, UK migrants sent over £3.13 bn to India, Pakistan received £1.34 bn and The Philippines £497 mn. Women represent approximately half (48%) of all migrant workforces and in some countries even outnumber male migrant workers. Globally, women send more of their income (73%) back to their families than men (65%).
Prajit Nanu, co-founder and CEO of InstaReM believes migrant women working in the UK should be supported better:
“It’s vital we raise awareness of the unfairness migrant women face when they send money home to their families. It’s unfair on them and the families they support at home. There are more efficient money transfer options that offer Zero-Margin FX rates and low transfer fees that ensure female migrants are empowered to do more with their money.”