ISLAMABAD: Member states of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) once again remained the top destination for Pakistani emigrants, as half a million people opted for these countries to get employment in multiple sectors during the last year.
According to data compiled by the Bureau of Emigration and Overseas Employment (BEOE), 539,976 Pakistani workers proceeded to the GCC member countries in 2019, constituting some 95pc of the total outgoing manpower (563,018).
Among the Gulf countries, Saudi Arabia alone imported 294,156 Pakistanis as compared to 100,910 in 2018, registering a marked growth of 191pc in the previous year.
The United Arab Emirates employed 195,241 Pakistanis, followed By Oman 26,062, Qatar 17,413, Bahrain 6,988 and Kuwait 116.
Overall, the Ministry of Overseas Pakistanis and Human Resource Development (OP&HRD) helped 563,018 Pakistanis get jobs in different countries, a massive increase of 47pc as compared to 2018 when only 382,439 went abroad for overseas employment in various trades.
According to an OP&HRD official, the total number of emigrants who got foreign employment in 2019 included 45.5pc skilled, 39.72pc unskilled, 10.64pc semi-skilled, 2.53pc highly qualified and 1.56pc highly skilled workforce.
Talking to APP, he said some 217,499 labourers and 161,226 drivers went abroad for different job assignments during the period under review.
To a query, the official said apart from the Middle East, the ministry was exploring new markets to send qualified and skilled youth.
He said the ministry had already initiated the process of sending skilled workforce to European countries, including Romania and the United Kingdom.
The official said Special Assistant to Prime Minister (SAPM) on Overseas Pakistanis and Human Resource Development Syed Zulfikar Bukhari had held consultations with the relevant authorities in different states to augment the number of Pakistani workers abroad.
He said that Zulfi Bukhari had formally requested the Saudi authorities to enhance the number of Pakistani workers in the multi-billion-dollar project, the New Taif City.
Saudi Arabia had also extended an offer for Pakistan’s manpower export through “Musaned,” a digital platform launched by the Kingdom to facilitate the labour recruitment process and ensure the protection of workers’ rights, he added.