In the first nine months of 2023, there has been a significant migration of over 630,000 people from Pakistan in search of better job opportunities abroad. A total of 633,108 Pakistanis had registered for employment abroad during the current calendar year, as of September, data provided by the Bureau of Immigration and Overseas Employment revealed.
This increase in migration represents a 17% increase over the same period last year, indicating a significant shift in the aspirations and mobility of the Pakistani workforce. Let us consider the details of this phenomenon.
|Year||No. of Pakistanis Left|
A closer look at the data reveals a diverse range of occupations among migrants. Within this period, 275,433 of them were classified as workers, while 141,282 were identified as drivers. Among the departing Pakistanis were 6,351 engineers, 5,876 accountants, 2,580 doctors and 1,194 teachers. The data further categorizes these immigrants by their skill level, with 17,058 considered highly skilled, 35,414 highly skilled, 232,933 skilled, 65,922 semi-skilled, and the majority, 281,781, unskilled.
|Occupation||Number of Pakistanis|
The preferred countries for employment were Saudi Arabia, with 302,634 people, United Arab Emirates with 173,561, Oman with 44,567, and Qatar with 44,777 people. Beyond the Middle East, substantial numbers landed in countries such as Malaysia (18,609), Bahrain (9,599), Romania (4,405), Greece (2,676) and Iraq (2,646).
|Destination Country||Number of Pakistani Workers|
|United Arab Emirates||173,561|
It is important to note that Bureau of Immigration and Overseas Employment data only relates to individuals who have officially registered with the Bureau. Those who travel abroad for educational purposes or through alternative immigration channels are not included in this list.
Comparison with Previous Years
This increase in migration has implications for Pakistan. While this reflects the aspiration and desire among its people for economic development, it also raises concerns about brain drain and its consequences on the development of the nation. The data highlights a remarkable trend, as a record-breaking 832,339 Pakistanis sought to go abroad for work last year, the highest number since 2016.
Impact on Pakistan
The increase in migration reflects ambition in the Pakistani workforce and a desire for economic growth, but it also raises concerns about brain drain and its consequences for the nation’s development. Challenges faced by migrants in their new homes include cultural, language and legal barriers, along with issues of exploitation, poor working conditions, and limited access to legal protection.
In this age of globalization, accurate and timely data is essential for policy-making and ensuring the welfare of Pakistani workers abroad. The Bureau of Immigration and Overseas Employment plays an important role in managing this data.
The government has recognized the importance of overseas employment and is taking steps to ensure the safety and welfare of its expatriates. These efforts include improving labor contracts, expanding consular services and offering financial incentives.
The increase in overseas employment also has economic implications for Pakistan. Remittances sent by expatriates play an important role in the foreign exchange reserves of the country and in stabilizing the economy.
The migration of more than 630,000 Pakistanis in the first nine months of 2023 is indicative of a profound shift in the country’s employment landscape. It reflects the aspirations of its workforce, the challenges it faces and the economic implications for Pakistan. Government proactive measures and data management play a vital role in ensuring the welfare of its migrants.