KSA urged to increase Pakistani manpower quota in new Taif project

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ISLAMABAD: The government has formally requested the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to enhance the quota of Pakistani workforce in the multi-billion dollar ‘New Taif City’ project.

“Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Overseas Pakistanis and Human Resource Development Sayed Zulfikar Bukhari has requested the Saudi authorities to enhance Pakistani manpower’s quota in Taif city project,” an official source revealed on Tuesday.

He said the request was formally conveyed by the special assistant during his recent visit to Saudi Arabia where he held discussions with the Saudi authorities to explore new avenues for bolstering Pakistani manpower export to Saudi Arabia.

He said the new Taif project comprises the establishment of a new airport, development of Okaz City, technical oasis, residential areas, a university and an industrial city.

The official said that Saudi Arabia had also extended an offer to import Pakistani manpower through ‘Musaned’ – a digital platform launched by KSA to facilitate the labourers’ recruitment process and ensure the protection of their rights.

“Pakistan would send its workforce to Saudi Arabia through ‘Musaned’ shortly as the process would take some months,” he added.

Besides Saudi Arabia, he said, the overseas ministry was planning to link its digital portal with the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to as to develop a close liaison between the workforce and foreign employers.

“The move would eventually minimise the middleman’s role in overseas employment and would help the country train its workforce as per the international markets’ demand,” he added.

The official said the UAE’s Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (MOHRE) had offered Pakistan access to its labour market’s database which would provide updated information on job opportunities in the Emirates.

“MOHRE had also agreed to activate the joint committee that was formed for implementation of the Memorandum of Understanding signed recently to ensure the protection of Pakistani workers’ rights and resolving their legal job disputes in the Emirates.”

According to the Ministry of Overseas Pakistanis and Human Resource Development, as many as 568,464 Pakistanis were registered for overseas employment during the last one year (Sept 2018 to Sept 2019). In comparison, some 424,867 went abroad for job assignments during the previous year (Sept 2017 to Sept 2018).

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