ISLAMABAD: Nearly 250,000 Pakistanis have been deported, mostly from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates over the past three years, the Federal Investigation Agency statistics revealed on Saturday.
According to the Labour Migration from Pakistan: 2015 Status Report’ through Deportation Statistics, a total of 242,817 irregular Pakistani migrants have been deported between 2012 and 2015. The largest number of deportations, 73,064 to be precise, took place in 2014, while the year 2010 witnessed the smallest number of deportations (46,032).
Majority of the irregular migrants — 131,643) – have been deported from Saudi Arabia followed by the United Arab Emirates (32,458), Iran (28,684, Oman (17,248), Greece (14,145), the United Kingdom (9,778), and Malaysia (8,861).
Most of the deportees from Saudi Arabia and the UAE were job-seekers and businessmen, while those sent back from Iran were in transit to Greece. Deportations from Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries are attributed mainly to security-related issues, the report reveals.
These statistics suggest that deportations are on the rise and the trend might be indicative of an increase in the trafficking of persons and smuggling of migrants.
A study by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime has found that the majority of irregular migrations involved migrants originating from Punjab, especially from Gujrat, Gujranwala, Mandi Bahauddin, Dera Ghazi Khan, Multan and Sialkot districts.
The report says that around 513,231 individuals have been deported from different countries between 2007 and 2015, registering a year-wise upwards trend.
From 2005-2006 to 2014-2015, around 932,051 migrant workers had been stranded in destination countries due to a lack of proper documentation and subsequently deported. The largest number of stranded Pakistanis, 882,887 to be precise, had been deported from Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, followed by Doha, Qatar (4,200).
Around 14,628 migrant workers had been detained in destination countries during the said period while consulate officials or community welfare attaches had made 4,200 monitoring visits to the employment sites of the migration workers.
Most of the visits were made in Dubai, UAE (1,863), followed by Kuwait (652), Manama, Bahrain, (496) and Seoul, South Korea (400), says the report.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 20th, 2016.