Pakistan’s manpower exports to different countries have shown a downward trend in the past three years, mainly due to the prevailing situation of the Covid-19 pandemic which affected the work situation in different host countries and resulted in a strict ban on traveling.
According to the statistics of the Overseas Employment Bureau, Pakistan’s worker exports stood at 0.625 million in 2019, which decreased to 0.224 million in 2020 and 0.176 million by end of October 2021.
In the last three years, the overall exports of human resources from Pakistan to different countries totaled 1.02 million. The human resource included workers with first-time experience and those who returned to their host countries after spending vacations. The gradual decline in exports of workers has also been witnessed by regional countries such as India and Bangladesh, which are also leading human resource-providing countries to various states. Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Oman, and Kuwait are the leading destinations of Pakistan migrant workers.
The categories of migrant workers include laborers, drivers, technicians, and masons. The origin of Pakistan workers is usually from Dera Ghazi Khan, Sialkot, Swat, Lower Dir, Gujranwala, Lahore, Faisalabad, Mardan, Upper Dir, and Rawalpindi.
The situation of the human resource exports is likely to improve in the coming months with the reopening of business with SOPs and various preventive measures like vaccination, the work opportunities in various host countries are uncertain nonetheless.
The expectation of Fawad Chaudhry, Minister of Information and Broadcasting is highly ambitious for human resource exports of up to 2 million from Pakistan to different countries in the next two years.
He claimed the over 1 million exports of human resources in the last three years as the success of the government, which is a weird claim. The data of the Overseas Employment Bureau suggested that Pakistan did not export manpower up to 1 million in a single calendar year in history.
The highest ever exports of workers stood at 0.83 million in 2016. Hence, the export of 2 million workers is next to impossible however the possible upsurge in demand of workers could not be ruled out in various host countries with the normalization of business activities.
According to overseas employment promoters, the overall expense including airfare, visa, and various SOPs has surged to an unaffordable level for aspirant workers in Pakistan, who are now looking for easing off conditions related to Covid-19 in the host countries which can also reduce the cost of migration.
Syed Muhammad Javed Zaidi, one of the leading promoters of overseas employment, said the conditions for sending workers to different countries are not conducive right now but it is expected that restrictions related to Covid-19 will be relaxed soon which will increase the country’s export of manpower next year.
Presently, migrant workers receiving financial support from their employees can afford to resume their work in the host countries, he added. He said the exports of manpower can increase with the support of the government which should make efforts to enhance the quota of migrant laborers in different countries mainly in the Gulf States.
Pakistan’s quota of laborer export is less than Bangladesh, India, the Philippines, and different states at present, hence the export potential of manpower has not reached its maximum yet.