Bulgarian emigrants have drastically reduced the amounts they send to relatives in their homeland. During the crisis year 2020, Bulgarians abroad sent only 339.4m euros to relatives at home, according to data from the National Bank of Bulgaria.
The amount is almost 880 million euros, or more than 72% decrease from last year. This is money that Bulgarian families have lost because their relatives abroad have not been able to send it.
In recent years, remittances have steadily increased. However, the crisis changed the situation dramatically and many migrants lost their jobs, with some having to return to their homeland.
In the first quarter of last year, remittances amounted to 227m euros, more or less at the level of the same period last year. However, in the second quarter of 2020, emigrant money fell more than 8 times on an annual basis, falling to 39.4 million euros. The weakest month last year was April, when Bulgarians abroad transferred just 10.5m euros, an impressive 10-year low. In Q3 and Q4, remittances from Bulgarians abroad remained on a downward trend to EUR 37.8 million and EUR 35.1 million, respectively.
Immigrant money is used to cover the budgets of families in Bulgaria, to pay bills, food, repairs, and even to buy real estate. Reducing the outflow of capital from abroad directly leads to a reduction in household consumption. As well as being a serious blow to the income of many Bulgarians, it also hurts the economy as they reduce revenues from VAT, excise and more.
Most of last year’s influx, namely 67.4 million euros, came from immigrants in Germany, who nevertheless were born with 73.2% or 184 million euros compared to last year. Capital from the United States came in second, reaching 58.2m euros, down 74.6%.
Spain ranks third after Bulgarian emigrants from the Iberian country sent only 34.9m euros to their relatives last year, down 74.9%. They are followed by Great Britain with 25.8 million euros and Greece with 21.6 million euros.