Georgians used to receiving financial assistance from relatives working in Russia as migrants are finding their remittances have been hampered.
Sanctions imposed by Western countries on Russia are starting to have an impact on the economic stability of its neighbours. Many Georgians working in Moscow normally send money home to their relatives. But new banking and currency restrictions now mean it's becoming a struggle to get the money out of country.
Prior to Russia's invasion of Ukraine, thousands of Georgian citizens received financial assistance from their relatives working in Russia as migrants. But, the subsequent punitive measures imposed on Russia by western leaders have hampered remittances.
"My relatives from Moscow used to send me money every month. Both the transfer and withdrawal were easy. Money was credited to the account through the app. Then I used to take it out from the ATM. Now they can only send Russian rubles, it makes no sense and the rate is low. The dollar has risen sharply in Russia. Some banks in Georgia have even suspended this service. If they send in dollars, it takes a lot of effort to get the money", says Sofia Gvaramia, a Georgian citizen.
Remittances make up 13% of Georgia's GDP. In 2021 Georgia received more money transfers from Russia than any other country.
Experts say that a fall in transfer activity may affect the individual, but is unlikely to cause any significant disruption.
“Decrease in money transfers may impose some problems for particular citizens and banks also may be partly affected. Though the institutions do not face any threat. This is what I can definitely say”, says Alexandre Dzneladze, President of Banking Association of Georgia.
According to the National Bank of Georgia, the money transfers will not totally cease, but will be considerably reduced.
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