Page last updated at 23:40 GMT, Tuesday, 27 January 2009

Slowdown hits Mexico remittances

Dollar notes
Mexican migrant workers are sending less money home to their families

Mexicans living abroad sent home less money per year in 2008 for the first time on record as the US slowdown hit migrants' earnings.

According to Mexico's central bank, remittances fell 3.6% in 2008 to $25bn.

This money is the country's second largest source of foreign income after oil revenues.

The fall is thought to have been caused by a crackdown on illegal immigration and migrant job losses as the US recession leads to widespread layoffs.

The central bank said the fall was the first annual drop since it started keeping track of remittances in 1995.

Flows of remittances from the US to Mexico are among the largest among all migrant workers worldwide.

Overall, remittances from workers to their home countries make up an estimated $300bn, three times the level of foreign aid.

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