As part of the project “Strengthening the dialogue and cooperation between the European Union and Latin America and the Caribbean (EU-LAC)”, IOM has carried out a pilot project that aims to prepare the groundwork to generate efficient and transparent information about transferring remittances. The goal of this project is to generate sources of information for Colombian migrants in the United Kingdom to allow them to take informed decisions regarding remittances.
To fulfill these aims, on the 28th November 2014 at 6.00 pm, IOM UK hosted an event to launch the website “Remesas Colombia” (www.remesascolombia.com). Colombian migrants, members of different grass roots organizations that work with Latin American migrants, as well as managers from different Money Transfer Operators (MTOs) all attended the event. The launch of the website aimed to address the challenges that exist in the area of remittances and migration within the community. The event also provided the opportunity for feedback to be gathered from everyone who attended.
Remittances sent home are undeniably important components of development as well as benefiting the economy of many countries. In the case of Colombia, remittances sent home by migrants represent the third highest source of income to the country’s economy. However, migrants do not necessarily have access to clear information about the different services available, the costs involved in the transactions and the choice of MTOs. To identify their needs, IOM carried out different discussion groups with the Colombian migrant community in order to collect information about their understanding of the remittances market and to determine their knowledge of and access to financial services in the UK and Colombia. Additionally, many different migrant organisations within the UK acted as a bridge to provide access to the wider community of Colombian migrants.
The website “Remesas Colombia” would stand as a reliable source of information on remittances. IOM also hopes this website will be the first of many others steps to provide adequate and up to date information to migrants, to permit them to make better and informed decisions when sending money home.