Record number of emigrants registered for overseas employment in 2022

A worker walks at the departure area of the Islamabad International Airport, during a media tour. — Reuters/File
A worker walks at the departure area of the Islamabad International Airport, during a media tour. — Reuters/File

  • Number is reported to be highest since last five years.
  • Declining trend observed in years 2020 and 2021 due to COVID-19.
  • Pakistan signed 12 manpower export MoUs with different nations.

ISLAMABAD: As many as 829,549 emigrants were registered for overseas employment through the Bureau of Immigration and Overseas Employment (BE&OE) in 2022 — the highest in the last five years.

The statistics regarding emigrants were shared by the Parliamentary Secretary for Overseas Pakistani and Human Resource Development Syed Agha Rafiullah at the National Assembly on Wednesday.

Responding to questions, Rafiullah said that 12.45 million Pakistani workers, since 1971, had been registered with the bureau for employment abroad till 2022. 

However, a declining trend was observed in the years 2020 and 2021, as only 224,705 and 286,648 emigrants were registered by BE&OE respectively due to COVID-19 restrictions, he said.

He said that the ministry has taken several measures to explore and tap into the international job markets for intending emigrants.

A diversification strategy was adopted to shift focus to new labour markets and the declaration of intent on migration and mobility has already been signed with Greece and the UK and soon would be signed with Germany.

Rafiullah said 12 memoranda of understanding (MoUs) on manpower export with different countries including Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Greece, Iran, Italy, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Portugal, Romania and Uzbekistan were under bilateral discussion. 

The overseas minister visited Romania and Portugal to explore new regular labour migration avenues, he said.

He added that the government had appointed 24 community welfare attachés in 16 different countries to explore new avenues for Pakistani manpower through Labour Market Analysis (LMA) of the host country so that skilled Pakistani intending emigrants could be imparted required training as per labour market requirements of the host country.

He said approximately nine million Pakistanis were working/residing in different countries around the world and contributing towards the socio-economic development of the country.

However, the parliamentary secretary said that there was no dedicated mechanism for providing solutions to the protection of their properties. In order to address the issue, the ministry/Overseas Pakistanis Foundation (OPF) undertook the initiative of proposing a bill that would address their grievances and provide protection to overseas Pakistanis with regard to their properties.

To another question, he said all the regular employees of OPF schools and colleges were getting minimum remuneration as prescribed by the government. Furthermore, contract employees were being paid a salary as per the terms and conditions of contractual employment rules/polices and as per advertisements published in newspapers at the time of hiring, he said.

However, he said, the remuneration of some contract employees was still less than the minimum wages as declared by the Federal government. Furthermore, up to a 10% annual increment was also granted to the contractual employees upon renewal of their annual contracts, he said.