ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Overseas Employment Promoter Association (POEPA) Chairman Sarfaraz Zahoor Cheema on Sunday said that over 200,000 Pakistani workers could not go abroad due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The POEPA chairman said that the overseas Pakistani fear being laid off from their job due to the Covid-19 pandemic, however the government has done nothing to mitigate their problems.
He said that at present overseas Pakistanis remit around $20 to $22 billion annually adding that overseas Pakistanis can double the remittances in one year if the government gives them the status of an industry.
He further urged the government to facilitate overseas employment promoters as they are playing an important role for the economic revival of Pakistan.
The POEPA chairman said that the overseas employment promoter has sent 0.9 million people abroad in the last two years adding that the government has wrongfully claimed credit for this achievement.
He said the overseas employment sector is close to a collapse and urged the government to provide support to it. The POEPA chairman added that the sector has the potential to increase Pakistan’s foreign reserves.
He further said that Pakistan could not send thousands of people to Qatar due to ill-conceived policies of the government adding that if such policies continue then Pakistan will be deprived of sending manpower to Japan, Europe, Gulf, Canada and other countries.
Sarfaraz Cheema said that POEPA plans to explore new countries post Covid-19. He said that the government should establish a desk in every mission in order to facilitate workers.
He also requested Special Assistant to Prime Minister Zulfi Bukhari to declare overseas employment promoters as an industry.