ISLAMABAD: In a major setback, Pakistan’s human resource export has dropped by almost 40% in 2017 with Saudi Arabia having reduced the employment for Pakistani workers by over 2/3rd as against 2016.
Official figures of the Bureau of Emigration and Overseas Employment show that against 839,353 Pakistani workers registered for overseas employment through the Bureau in 2016, the total number of persons employed in 2017 (till November 30th) is 465,0586 showing a sharp decline.
The government figures are really worrisome in the case of Saudi Arabia. In 2016, a total of 462,598 Pakistanis got employments in the kingdom. This figure saw a major decline in 2017 when only 143,368 got employment in Saudi Arabia. This figure of 2017 i.e. 143,368 reflects full year picture.
The official figure of the Bureau of Emigration and Overseas Employment shows that during the eleven months (upto November) of 2017 a total of 465,586 persons got foreign employment through the Bureau. If the figure of December 2017 is included, the 2017’s figure may be a little over 500,000.
The 2017 foreign employment figure, the sources said, is really upsetting as it will not only have negative impact on foreign remittances but also in un-employment ratio of the country. The 2017, it is said, has been the worst for several past years. Sharing the figures, the source said that in 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013 and 2012 the number of human resource export has been 839,353, 946,571, 752,466, 622,714 and 638,587 respectively.
The official sources said that the major dent to Pakistan human resource export in 2017 has been made by the dramatic decline in the employment opportunities for Pakistani workers in Saudi Arabia.
Giving the comparison of the past, the official source said that the Saudi Arabia quota for Pakistani workers in 2017 was even less than what Islamabad was offered by Riyadh in 2009.
The official data from 2009-2017 as shared with The News, shows the number of Pakistanis getting employment in Saudi Arabia as 201,816 in 2009, 189,888 in 2010, 222,247 in 2011, 358,560 in 2012, 270,502 in 2013, 312,489 in 2014, 522,750 in 2015, 462,598 in 2016 and 143,368 in 2017.
In the past, Saudi Arabia has always been the country offering major share of employment to Pakistanis. However, in 2017 against the figure of 143,368 in the case of Saudi Arabia, a total of 27,543 Pakistani workers got employment in the United Arab Emirates.
The Pakistani workers export to other Arab countries like Qatar, Kuwait, Bahrain etc remained disappointing even in 2017. During the year, only 9,989 Pakistanis got employment in Qatar, 7,210 in Bahrain and 741 in Kuwait.
The ruling Sharif family claims to have their excellent relations with the Arab world particularly Saudi Arabia. However, the 2017 human resource export figure to Arab countries shows disappointing performance of the PML-N government.
In 2016, the PML-N government had claimed that during the then Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif tour, the Emir of Qatar had announced 100,000 jobs from Pakistan for its FIFA World Cup 2022. The 2017 figures does not show any hint of implementation of such a decision by the Qatari government. During the 2016 visit of the prime minister to Kuwait, the media also reported about the lifting of restriction on issuing of visas to Pakistani national by the Kuwaiti government. However, the 2017 official figures also contradict such reports.