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Migrants step up to share Christmas cheer with their extended families

Zimbabweans most generous migrant group in Australia at Christmas time

Sydney, Australia, 3 December 2016:  Just as Australian retailers prepare for a flood of shoppers in the lead up to Christmas, remitters prepare for migrants in Australia to go above and beyond for family and friends back home this holiday season.

Data released for the first time by online money transfer service WorldRemit reveals that migrants send far more remittances at Christmas time. Zimbabwean, Kenyan and Filipinos are the most generous when it came to sending money home.

WorldRemit’s data shows that Zimbabweans make more than double the number of overseas money transfers at Christmas time (212%). Kenyans come next with a 160% increase in money transfers at Christmas time followed by Filipinos with 86%% more transfers. 

Michael Liu, Regional Director for Asia-Pacific at WorldRemit, says there are a few key factors driving migrants from these countries to send a little bit of extra money back home for the holiday period.

“Last Christmas migrants living in Australia sent almost 150% more transfers per day than they normally would, showcasing the importance these populations place on family connections and friends throughout the holiday season. In the case of our top countries such as Zimbabwe, Kenya and the Philippines, we know that customers typically send to more than one person. On average, we see Kenyans and Zimbabweans in Australia sending to about 6 different friends and family members, while Filipinos will send to 4, and sometimes even more,” Mr Liu said.

 “Culturally, all of these nationalities have a larger conception of ‘family’ – approximately 50% of Kenyan and Filipino children live with ‘extended’ family, according to the Institute for Family Studies.* Extended families provide social and economic support to children, who often compensate for the absence of one or both parents. This explains why we see a trend towards sending to many different people.

“We also know that many migrants feel obliged to support multiple members of their family and friends by sending money home,” he said.   

The increasing volume of transactions from Zimbabweans, Kenyans and Filipinos, can also be attributed to WorldRemit’s facility for transferring funds to Mobile Money accounts, which enables safer, faster and more affordable transfers.

“Mobile Money has emerged as the preferred payment of choice in developing countries where many people are locked out of basic financial services,” Mr Liu said.

“We’ve seen a rapid growth in transactions to Mobile Money services in the Philippines and Zimbabwe, while Kenya has become the benchmark for Mobile Money globally.”

WorldRemit is the leading sender of Mobile Money services globally. With the WorldRemit app, customers in more than 50 countries can send remittances to over 125 destinations.


WorldRemit compared the average number of transfers per day for its top 10 migrant customer groups on 21-24 December 2015 compared to the average daily transfers in 2015.

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