ISLAMABAD: With declining opportunities in the local employment market, especially after the Covid-19 pandemic, an increase of 27.6 per cent was noted in the number of Pakistanis seeking jobs abroad in the year 2021 compared to the previous year.

According to the Bureau of Emigration Overseas Employment (BEOE), 286,648 workers were registered for overseas employment in 2021, representing a 27.6pc increase over the previous year. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (54pc), Oman (13.4pc) and Qatar (13.2pc) are the main destinations for unskilled migrant workers from Pakistan in 2021. An overall increasing trend was observed in terms of migrants registered in 2021 as compared to 2020.

Punjab had the most workers go abroad, with 156,877, followed by Khyber Pakhtunkhwa with 76,213 individuals. The government believes the situation of human resource exports is likely to improve in the coming months with the reopening of business with SOPs and various preventive measures including vaccination, work opportunities in various host countries, etc.

The Ministry of Overseas Pakistani and Human Resource Development took various steps to boost manpower export and ensure regular emigration. The draft “National Emigration and Welfare Policy for Overseas Pakistanis” has been developed and is at the final stages of approval.

The ministry has signed bilateral agreements and MoUs with destination countries. In this regard, a pact on manpower exports was signed with Saudi Arabia in 2021. The BEOE is actively pursuing the signing of bilateral memorandums of understanding on manpower export with other potential countries as well.

The bureau prepared country-specific strategies for Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Malaysia, suggesting the responsibilities of each relevant stakeholder in boosting manpower exports to these countries.

It is also actively working to explore job opportunities for Pakistani workers in non-traditional countries. In this regard, a comprehensive diversification strategy has been developed for the top five priority countries, i.e. Saudi Arabia, UAE, Malaysia, Qatar, and Oman, along with other five potential/non-traditional countries such as Kuwait, South Korea, Japan, Germany, and China, to promote the export of manpower to these countries.

The BEOE also created linkages between Overseas Employment Corporation (OEC) and the National Vocational and Technical Training Centre (NAVTTC) for matching of available jobs on the Bureau’s official website and data of the trained job seekers maintained by NAVTTC. An MOU has also been signed.

Published in Dawn, June 11th, 2022

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