Pakistanis losing out in hunt for jobs abroad

Saudi Arabia and UAE provide 90% of job opportunities to Pakistan’s total overseas workforce

Qadeer Tanoli October 03, 2016
Saudi Arabia and UAE provide 90% of job opportunities to Pakistan’s total overseas workforce. PHOTO: AFP

ISLAMABAD: For Pakistanis, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) are still the leading providers of employment outside their country. This is largely true even though job opportunities are shrinking for a Pakistani workforce due to increasing demand for highly skilled human resource.

Last year, a total of 947,718 workers landed jobs abroad out of which a little more than half, or 522,932, secured jobs in Saudi Arabia which amounts to 55.17 per cent of the total workforce sent abroad, according to statistics submitted in the Senate by Minister for Overseas Pakistanis and Human Resources Pir Syed Sadaruddin Shah Rashidi.

Fewer jobs for Pakistanis in Middle East

Another 326,995 persons were sent to the UAE for employment purposes -- forming 34.50 per cent of the total workforce. Statistically, Saudi Arabia and UAE together hosted around 90 per cent of the total Pakistani workforce sent overseas.

Available statistics show that Pakistanis rarely find job opportunities in developed countries including the United States and Britain. Pakistani workers are also exploring African countries for possible jobs.

Employment of Pakistanis in Saudi Arabia is, however, also under constant threat in the backdrop of the worldwide oil prices crisis which has also jolted the Saudi Arabian economy.

The crude oil that fetched over $100 per barrel in 2014 was sold for only $26 per barrel in February this year. Being dependent on oil production, the Saudi economy has also suffered as a result. However, it has been accepting the Pakistani human resource, contributing a major chunk of foreign remittances.

Malaysia and Qatar are some other countries that offer job opportunities to Pakistanis. Malaysia provided jobs to 20,218 Pakistanis while Qatar gave employment to 12,751 Pakistanis last year. Another Arab country Bahrain provided jobs to 9,048 Pakistanis.

Nearly a million workers left Pakistan in 2015

War-hit Yemen accommodated 24 Pakistanis last year while Somalia provided jobs to 23 Pakistanis. Another African country Uganda hosted 37 Pakistanis by giving them job in 2015. Guinea, Jordan, Kenya, Kuwait, Lebanon, Nigeria, Libya, Oman, Sudan and some other countries also provided jobs to Pakistani workers.

These statistics show that Algeria hosted 211 Pakistani workers while the southern African nation, Angola provided jobs to 22 Pakistanis. Azerbaijan provided jobs to just eight persons and Cameroon provided jobs to two Pakistanis. These statistics maintains that 355 persons were sent to China and Cyprus employed 500 Pakistani last year.

Germany provided jobs to 44 Pakistanis, Greece two, Hong Kong 29, Italy 431, Japan 84, Singapore 68, South Africa 140, South Korea 734, Sweden 34, Switzerland 15, Turkey 57, UK 261 and USA provided jobs to 350 Pakistanis.

When contacted to comment on these statistics, renowned workers’ rights activist Habibuddin Junaidi said the trend of going to Middle East countries began in 1970s when relaxations were given during ZA Bhutto’s regime for obtaining international passports.

Pakistanis legally sending $2 billion abroad yearly

He said during that era a large segment of the Pakistani workforce, mostly unskilled labour, got employment in countries like Saudi Arabia, UAE and Qatar.

“However, as advanced and developed countries need highly skilled workers, Pakistanis cannot get many job opportunities in countries like the US, UK, Australia and others,” he added.

According to Junaidi, there is no crisis management system over here to handle any untoward situation which may emerge if the oil price issue deepens further and Pakistanis working abroad lose their jobs.

“An age has arrived when authorities must understand that producing a highly skilled workforce is the demand of the day and quality education is key to success to overcome any disaster regarding human resource,” he added.

Published in The Express Tribune, October 3rd, 2016.



Amna Khan | 5 years ago | Reply That's very unfortunate students are paying huge fees to universities like LUMS, LSE, UCP etc and still Pakistani losing out in hunt for jobs abroad and neither we have good jobs in Pakistan.
Avtar | 5 years ago | Reply @Xman: You may be right about media perception. The perception is a function of your government's policies and commitment to develop the country. With a few bright (no matter what type of society) individuals, other than Army there is no economic plan, no institutes of learning or economics in which the country is committed to excel. Pakistan has not carved out any area to compete in China. The education level in Pakistan is full of misinformation and it is geared to provide cheap labour to the Middle East and religious groups.
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