Remittances are one of the most visible links between migrants and their countries of origin. They form a large share of global financial flows, often exceeding the amounts received as official development assistance and foreign direct investment. An important item in many national accounts, they are also an essential supplement to family incomes and a safety net for many poor individuals and communities worldwide. As they supplement family incomes, remittances have an impact on local economic activities, savings and job-creation.
According to the author , the focus on remittances should include social remittances or social transfers in the form of know-how, greater cultural and civic awareness and experience, and to expatriate communities and diasporas as agents of development. This wider view is key to a comprehensive understanding of how migration affects people and institutions, not only in terms of improved economic conditions, but also as a vector for change and social and normative innovation and development. Seen from that perspective, the perceived loss through migration to the home country can be transmuted to an asset to be harnessed to foster local socioeconomic development and to build linkages between the expatriate communities and the home countries for their mutual benefit.