All Round View (Islamabad): Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) member states still remain top-destination for Pakistani emigrants as half a million people opted for these countries to get employment in multiple sectors during the last year.
The data, compiled by Bureau of Emigration and Overseas Employment (BEOE), indicated that 539, 976 Pakistani workforce proceeded to GCC member countries in 2019, constituting some 95 per cent of the total outgoing manpower which is 563,018.
Among the Gulf countries, Saudi Arabia alone imported 294,156 Pakistanis as compared to 100,910 in 2018, registering a marked growth of 191 per cent in previous year.
The United Arab Emirates employed 195,241 Pakistani manpower, followed by Oman 26,062, Qatar 17,413, Bahrain 6,988 and 116 by Kuwait.
Overall, the Ministry of Overseas Pakistanis and Human Resource Development (OP&HRD) has facilitated 563,018 Pakistanis to get jobs in different countries, witnessing a massive increase of 47 per cent in 2019 as compared to 2018 when only 382,439 went abroad for overseas employment in various trades.
Rubbishing some reports circulating in some media sections that a large number of qualified youth left Pakistan due to unemployment, an official source in the OP&HRD ministry said the total number of emigrants who got foreign employment in 2019 included 45.5 per cent skilled, 39.72 per cent unskilled, 10.64 per cent semi-skilled, 2.53 per cent highly qualified and 1.56 per cent highly skilled workforce.
Talking to APP, he said 217,499 laborers and 161,226 drivers went abroad for different job assignments during 2019.
To a query, the official said apart from the Middle East, the ministry was exploring new markets to send qualified and skilled youth to other countries.
He said the ministry had already initiated the process of sending skilled workforce to European countries including Romania and the United Kingdom.
The official said Special Assistant to the Prime Minister (SAPM) on Overseas Pakistanis and Human Resource development, Sayed Zulfikar Bukhari, had held consultations with the relevant authorities in different states to augment the number of Pakistani workers abroad.
He said that Zulfi Bukhari had formally requested the Saudi authorities to enhance the number of Pakistani workers in the multi-billion-dollar project, the New Taif City.
He said that Saudi Arabia had also extended an offer for Pakistan’s manpower export through “Musaned,” a digital platform launched by the Kingdom to facilitate labor recruitment process and ensure the protection of workers’ rights.
The process would take some months and after that the Pakistani workforce would be sent to Saudi Arabia through the online platform, he added.
The official said the ministry was also in the process of linking up its digital portal with the UAE to set up a direct link between its intending immigrants and foreign employers.