Pakistan Economic Survey 2020-21 revealed that Pakistan’s exports of skilled manpower had reached 224,705 against India and Bangladesh who could only manage to export 94,145 and 217,699 workers respectively.
But Pakistan’s manpower did fall from 2019 which had stood at 625,203 after a yearly decline of 400,498. India and Bangladesh manpower exports also declined from 273,093 and 482,490 respectively in terms of their emigrants registered during 2020 as compared to 2019.
This overall decline in manpower exports is also due to the pandemic as most of the countries imposed a ban on the traveling foreign employees to curb the spread of the coronavirus. Fortunately, Pakistan was one such country that was successful in controlling the spread and therefore was able to surpass its regional competitors in the export of skilled workers.
The Ministry of Overseas Pakistani & Human Resource Development is actively working to boost the export of manpower and to ensure regular emigration and a special Task Force has been established to facilitate Pakistani expatriates.
Bilateral agreements/MOUs with destination countries such as Turkey and Malaysia were also signed by the ministry in 2020 to enhance the export of manpower. A comprehensive diversification strategy has also been developed for the top five priority countries — Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Malaysia, Qatar, and Oman and five other potential countries such as Kuwait, South Korea, Japan, Germany, and China to secure jobs for the people of Pakistan.
The BE&OE has also initiated a project called the ‘Registration of Intending Emigrants via Biometric Verification System linked with NADRA’ in order to provide one-window facilitation services to intending emigrants.
According to data released by Bureau of Emigration & Overseas Employment (BE&OE), Saudi Arabia hosted more than 60 percent of emigrants, followed by the UAE (24 percent), and Oman (4.6 percent) during the year 2020. However, during the pandemic a downward trend was observed in terms of emigrants registered in 2020 including the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries.
The highest number of workers who went abroad in 2020 was 118,818 from the Punjab, followed by 68,299 from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. 16,950 9,026 employees from Sindh traveled abroad for employment from Sindh, from the tribal areas, 7,865 from Azad Kashmir, 1,869 from Balochistan, and 244 from the Northern Areas.
Majority of this manpower comprised of laborers, drivers, technicians, masons, carpenters, clerks, accountants, and managers.