It’s a classic immigrant story: a young enterprising person leaves home in search of opportunity. She moves to a different country, finds a job, works hard and moves up the career ladder (or “jungle gym”, as it is sometimes referred to in Silicon Valley). Despite the unfamiliar cultural and linguistic terrain, this newly minted professional finds success. Maybe she builds her own company or goes on to join or invest in others. Once rooted in her new home, she feels a sense of gratitude and deep loyalty towards her adoptive country. She also feels a sense of responsibility toward those left behind; she wants to give back but isn’t going to move back.
Sound familiar? Chances are, if you work in STEM, finance or any major company, you know someone who fits this description. Traditionally, first- and second-generation immigrants have channelled their money home in the form of remittances – a $600 billion annual economy. But lately a second form of remittances is taking hold – one that can benefit companies, employees and whole countries, but wasn’t possible at scale even a few years ago, before the advent of smart mobile devices.