Recently, a colleague shared this link with me, which shows the flow of money on a global basis owing to remittances. The visualization though a little cramped still makes interesting viewing. Click on India, you will find the country in the South-East direction of the pie-chart and see how the money transfer happens. It is interesting to note, if you thought the Middle East was likely to be the number one destination in terms of sending money back, you will be surprised. There is competition. Here is the link: http://www.torre.nl/remittances/ Quite a tool indeed, developed by Roxana Torre. You get to see how much money is received and sent from each country. Eye in the Sky feeling?
In fact, you can find a rather interesting fact sheet at CMF Publications in the CMF's website. Here is the exact link - Click Here. For all fact sheets, please visit this page. With a large deal of such transactions happening through informal channels, it is quite a wonder as to how these people really trust such informal mechanisms. With actual legitimate mechanisms costing them a bomb and KYC (Know Your Customer) norms proving to be an obstacle more than a convenience, such informal ways of transferring money will always be preferred.
In many ways, this untapped potential presents itself as a business idea. If someone could help migrant workers in urban India transfer their money back to their rural areas of choice in an easy and affordable manner - why would such a service not be preferred? While you dwell on that topic, check the findings of this study as well: Putting Money in Motion - How Much Do Migrants Pay for Domestic Transfers?