08/04/2004, 00.00
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Chinese and Filipinos lead the 48 million migrants in Asia

There are about 48 million economic migrants in Asia according to the International Organisation for Migration, 15 million of whom are legal residents of their host country, this according to figures of the International Labour Organisation. On the other hand, the Office of the United Nations Commission for Refugees estimates the number of refugees in the continent at around 8 million.

With 35 million people abroad (26 in Asia alone) China has the largest number of its citizens working abroad followed by the Philippines (8 million in 193 countries). Annual remittances by Filipinos living abroad alone amount to US$ 7 billion and represent 8 % of the Philippines' Gross Domestic Product.

Bangladesh and Pakistan are next on the list with 3 million emigrants each.

The countries with the largest proportion of foreign workers to total population are the United Arab Emirates (73%), Kuwait (57%), Jordan (39.6%), Israel (37.4%), Singapore (33.6%), and Oman (26%).

Overall, the Middle East is host to about 9 million foreign workers, mostly from India and the Philippines.  

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