The Government statistics showed that Pakistan is the 2nd largest manpower/labour exporting country of South Asia. Bureau of Emigration and Overseas Employment (BE&OE) has recorded greater than 11.11 million emigrants for employment abroad. Statistics also showed that during 2019, the Bureau of Emigration & Overseas Employment recorded 625,203 for overseas employment as against to 382,439 emigrants in 2018 explaining a rise of 242,764 people as against to the previous year. It is also showed that Saudi Arabia (KSA) is the main destination country for Pakistani emigrants where greater than 53 percent of emigrants proceeded, followed by UAE (33.78 percent), Oman (4.54 percent), Qatar (3.09 percent), Malaysia (1.81 percent) and Bahrain (1.31 percent). The rise in manpower export in 2019 was optimistic in terms of remittances which played a main role to stabilize the economy and containing the current account deficit in Pakistan. The comparison among provinces in of workers went abroad was registered 186,176. From Sindh the number of registered workers grew from 41, 551 in 2018 to 57,171 in 2019. In other provinces emigration trend is optimistic except AJK and Areas where minor fall is observed in 2019 as against during 2019, there has been a fall in highly qualified and highly skilled workers during 2019. Workers grew from 142,486 in 2018 to 285,932 during 2019. The growing trend last year was because of the stabilization of Gulf economies and opening up of career opportunities for Pakistani workers mainly in Saudi Arabia after the recovery of oil prices and diplomatic efforts of the government. It is mentioned in the economic survey of Pakistan that the government of Pakistan is also taking following various initiatives in order to increase the manpower export and to ensure safe emigration these initiatives are:
- Under the directives of PM of Pakistan, a Task Force has been organized to improve manpower export and facilitation of overseas Pakistanis.
- In order to improve the manpower export, Ministry of Overseas Pakistanis & Human Resource Development inked signed bilateral agreements with Oman, UAE and Japan.
- In order to provide one-window facilitation services to intending emigrants, a project was deployed titled, registration of intending emigrants via biometric verification system connected with NADRA by which protector registration procedure has been made in minimum possible time.
- Collection of a registration fee, welfare fund and insurance premium on a single deposit slip and offer emigrants one window facility. The desks are operational at all protector offices.
- Qatar selected Pakistan as one of the eight countries for establishment of Qatar Residency Permits in Pakistan. The project covers procedures as finger printing, biometric data processing, medical examination and signing work contracts of expatriates in the country and start job immediately after arrival in Qatar.
- Linkages have been created between overseas employment corporation and NAVTTC for match making of available jobs at the bureau of emigration & overseas employment official website and data of the trained job seekers maintained through NAVTTC.
- Ministry of OP&HRD is actively working to explore career opportunities for Pakistani workers in non-traditional countries. In this regard, Japan, Germany, Canada, Denmark, Austria, Poland and Romania are the potential countries where diplomatic efforts are underway in order to get the maximum share of jobs for Pakistani workforce.
- The Campaign has been introduced against illegal overseas job advertisements in close coordination with newspapers, FIA, PTA and other relevant departments.
- Pursuing linkage of registration portal with overseas employers and destination countries (Qatar, KSA and UAE).
- Bureau of Emigration &Overseas Employment started uploading foreign jobs on its website to facilitate intending emigrants.
- To retrieve the date of returnee migrants, bureau of emigration & overseas employment has entered into/inked an MOU with FIA for accessing the data on returning migrants from FIA database.
- Pursuing establishment of 04 New Protectorate Offices (D.G.Khan, Abbottabad, Sukkur, Sialkot)
According to SBP, job losses of overseas workers and closure of international borders due to the Covid-19 pandemic were the main factors affecting remittances flow. Unfortunately in May 2020 the remittances from overseas Pakistani workers declined 18.6 percent or $429.2 million against to $2.3 billion registered in May 2019. Statistics showed that overseas Pakistani’s remitted a total of $1.87 billion in May 2020, an increase of $82.8 million or 4.6 percent, as against with $1.79 billion worth of remittances received in April 2020. The remittances registered in May 2019 were the highest registered monthly statistics of that year, which explains the drastic year-on-year percentage drop. Statistics also revealed that workers’ remittances received during the first 11 months of the fiscal year 2020 reached at $20.65 billion, a rise of 2.7 percent or $551.5 million as against to $20.1 billion received during the corresponding period of last year.
According to the statistics, remittances received from Saudi Arabia and UAE reached at $436.2 million and $323.4 million respectively. Furthermore, remittances from USA and UK reached at $428.3 million and $284.8 million respectively. It is said that this trend of stable remittances in 2020 is subject to change, however, as the Covid-19 pandemic affects the employment of Pakistanis working abroad.