KARACHI: Pakistan is set to export technical manpower to Saudi Arabia as the demand for technical staff increases in the Kingdom and other Gulf countries in public and private sector organizations.
Overseas Employment Corporation (OEC), Ministry of Overseas Pakistanis and Human Resource Development officials say that the demand for technical staff has been communicated to the corporation through the embassy of Pakistan.
“Our leading client in Saudi Arabia requires the services of workers for Cinema and Museum in the fields of museum conservator, museum registrar, accessibility in education specialist, evaluation and research specialist, public services, program delivery support, back of house (technical services), library computer technical support, technical services cataloguing and logistics, cameraman, parking attendant, security specialist, graphic designer,” states an advert on the corporation’s website.
“We have also received demand for engineers required in many sectors such as mechanical, electrical, civil, chemical processing and many more,” Javed Zafar Khan, OEC director of operations, told Arab News. “The number of workers would depend on the requirement of the employers,” he said.
He said that after completion of due process, the interview of selected candidates would be lined up either by the delegation of employers who visited Pakistan or it could be done on Skype.
In the 1970s Pakistan exported human resources mainly to Saudi Arabia and the UAE. This increased to 2.08 million and 0.88 million respectively between 1971 to 2005 respectively, Bureau of Emigration and Overseas Employment figures show.
Some 5 million Pakistanis served in the Kingdom between 1971 to April 2018 while 3.52 million people were employed during the same period in the UAE.
After the Gulf War in the 1990s, workers started coming home and Pakistani workforces declined in the Middle East and other countries. However, exports to the Kingdom regained momentum and reached a record 0.52 million in 2015. It still remains the top destination for the Pakistani workforce.
Recent measures taken by the Kingdom, including taxation, forced many expats to return to their home countries.
“Many Pakistanis coming from Kingdom were those who were working illegally or those who could not afford to pay fees. Human resource export has declined not ended,” Javed Zafar Khan said. “We are ready to provide them quality manpower whenever and wherever is required.”
As Pakistani expats are coming back to their home country, steps are being taken to accommodate skilled and unskilled workers in the mega China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) projects which are estimated to offer around 700,000 direct jobs by 2030.
Many Pakistani organization in public and private sector are gearing up to increase the share of the Pakistani workforce in CPEC along with their Chinese counterparts. “EFP has announced Skills 2020 Pakistan. The EFP plans to provide skill development and vocational training to 200,000 over the next five years through top institutes. Our aim is to train at least 20,000 for overseas jobs,” Mayjid Aziz, president of the Employers’ Federation of Pakistan, told Arab News.
“We are in negotiations with the International Training Institute of ILO in Turin, Italy, for technical support. We have signed an MoU with AmanTech, and since the Skills Development Council is under the umbrella of EFP, we will utilize its facilities too. Moreover, Hunar Foundation and Descon Institute will also be approached,” Aziz said.
Pakistan largely depends on workers’ remittances to meet its external payment obligation. Currently the country is facing a historic high current account deficit, mainly due to the huge trade deficit which has increased to $34 billion and insufficient remittances.
Pakistanis expats sent home $17.5 billion during the last fiscal year FY17, while the country received $18 billion in 11 months of the current fiscal year, FY18, which suggest that the remittance target of $20.7 billion would not be achieved.