Saudi Arabia becomes largest market for Pakistani workers

TO GO WITH AFP STORY BY ASSAD ABOUD Foreign illegal laborers wait in a long queue outside the Saudi immigration offices at the Al-Isha quarter of the Al-Khazan district, west of Riyadh, on May 28, 2013. Saudi authorities imposed new regulations on foreign workers to limit irregularities and launched a deporting campaign of hundreds of thousands illegal foreign workers, to try to reduce unemployment rates among its own citizens, as more than 8 million foreigners have residency in the booming kingdom's economy. AFP PHOTO/FAYEZ NURELDINE

More than 1.6 million Pakistanis proceeded to Saudi Arabia from the year 2011-2015 for employment purpose, making the country as the largest market for Pakistani workers across the world.

According to an official of Ministry of Overseas Pakistanis and Human Resource Development, overall 49.9 percent (1.6 million) workers have proceeded to Saudi Arabia during the period.

While 1.3 million people (38.2 percent) proceeded to UAE for employment during the same period Oman is the third largest importer of Pakistani manpower and 0.26 million (7.6 percent) job seekers have preceded to Oman during 2011-2015.

The illiterate and unskilled workers comprise around half of the total Pakistani migrant workers and only 1.76 percent workers are doing white collar jobs, the official said. Among the skilled workers, drivers are in the highest number, followed by masons, carpenters and tailors.

Since 1971 till December 2015 around 8.77 million Pakistanis were proceeded abroad for employment through the Bureau of Emigration and Overseas Employment (BEOE).

Out of this total manpower exports, about 96 percent have proceeded only to Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries, one percent to European countries and three percent in other countries for employment during the same period.

The official informed that the manpower export has registered a significant increase from 0.456 million in 2011 up to 0.946 million in 2015 with the government efforts to find a place for Pakistani workforce in the international labour markets.

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