(CTN News) – In the first half of 2023, over 450,000 Pakistanis have chosen to leave their homeland in search of improved job prospects overseas, as per official data. This trend reflects the ongoing economic challenges and uncertainties within the country, prompting many educated individuals to seek better opportunities abroad.
One such individual, Nazeer Ahmed, a young banking professional, made the decision to leave his job and relocate to the United Kingdom last year. He cited the widening gap between earnings and the cost of living as a major factor influencing his decision.
Educated Pakistanis Seek Greener Pastures Abroad
Ahmed’s story is emblematic of a broader trend among educated Pakistanis who are increasingly pursuing opportunities abroad to escape the domestic economic crisis.
The Bureau of Emigration and Overseas Employment has reported that, from January to July of 2023, more than 450,000 Pakistanis have left the country in search of work abroad. This diverse group encompasses individuals from various professional backgrounds and skill levels.
The data reveals a significant brain drain, with approximately 12,787 highly qualified individuals among the departing workforce. Additionally, 26,405 highly skilled and 164,155 skilled workers have sought opportunities abroad during the same period. Even unskilled workers, numbering nearly 198,000, have joined this migration wave with the hope of securing employment overseas.
Saudi Arabia stands out as the primary destination for Pakistani migrant workers, attracting 205,515 individuals. The UAE follows closely, with 121,745 Pakistanis relocating to this popular second home for many. Other Gulf countries like Oman, Qatar, and Bahrain have also witnessed a substantial influx of Pakistani workers.
Apart from the Gulf region, countries such as Malaysia, China, South Korea, Japan, and various European nations have also seen smaller numbers of Pakistani immigrants.
The range of occupations among these emigrants is extensive. While a significant majority is pursuing labor-intensive roles, a notable number are opting for positions like drivers, technicians, salesmen, and electricians. Even professionals such as engineers, doctors, IT specialists, and accountants are contributing to overseas markets.
This pattern of emigration has been escalating, with over 832,000 Pakistanis leaving the country in the previous year. This marks the highest emigration number since 2016, with 2015 seeing the peak level of migration.
Despite official emigration figures, experts believe that the trend might be even more significant, as it doesn’t include those pursuing education abroad or utilizing alternative immigration channels.
As the exodus of skilled and educated professionals continues to rise, concerns about its impact on Pakistan’s workforce and economy have been raised. Experts are urging the government to focus on creating domestic employment opportunities and formulating policies that incentivize skilled expatriates to return and contribute to the nation’s development.