Sources and Definitions
Population (2010): 184.8 million
Area: 796,095 sq km
Currency: Pakistan Rupee (PKR)
GDP per Capita PPP (2007): USD 2,496
HDI Rank (2007): 141 of 182
Remittances (2008): USD 7,039 million
Net Migration Rate (2005-2010): -1.6 migrants /1,000 population
Immigrants (2010): 2.3%
Women as a Percentage of Immigrants (2010): 44.7%
Population under 15 (2010): 36.6%
Adult HIV Prevalence (2007): 0.1
According to the Ministry of Labour (MoL), the number of Pakistani labour migrants stands at 5.5 million with the majority working in the oil-rich Gulf countries. According to the Pakistan authorities, on an average an estimated 150,000 labour migrants leave the country each year, processed through the 1,150 licensed Overseas Employment Promoters (OEPs). However, emigration from the country was recorded at over 280,000 in 2007 and over 430,000 in 2008.
MoL’s Bureau of Emigration is responsible for regulating, processing and monitoring the OEPs. The Ministry of Overseas Pakistanis aims at providing better services to overseas Pakistanis through databases, improved facilities at airports, setting up suitable schemes in the housing, education and healthcare sectors to facilitate the rehabilitation of returning overseas Pakistanis. Community Welfare Attaches (CWAs), posted in various countries with major concentration of overseas Pakistani community maintain close liaison with the expatriate Pakistani workers and exploring market opportunities for manpower export from Pakistan.
It is also estimated that each year an estimated 300,000 persons migrate through irregular channels, including through human smuggling and trafficking networks, due mostly to their lack of knowledge on available legal migration channels.
The Government of Pakistan is committed to safe migration to ensure that the rights of those emigrating are protected. According to the authorities, the process of labour migration is important as it addresses domestic unemployment and is a major source of foreign exchange earning that contributes to the socio-economic development of the country.
The majority of the labour migrants (70-80 percent) are in the unskilled and semi-skilled category and go to the Gulf region to work in the construction industry. But the country’s high skilled labour migrants usually emigrate to Europe, USA and other Western countries, sending home the largest portion of remittances.
Remittances have played a pivotal role in Pakistan's economic development during the last one decade (1999-2009). Remittances surged from less than one billion dollars to almost eight billion dollars during this period. With the exception of 2006-07, remittances have always been higher than the FDI; these have been almost 10 times the official development assistance that Pakistan received in the last one decade; and in the absence of remittances, the current account deficit would have been over $20 billion or 12 per cent of GDP in 2007-08 and $16.4 billion or 9.9 per cent of GDP in 2008-09.
Though Pakistan has signed overseas employment agreements with some countries, including Qatar, UAE, Jordan, Malaysia and South Korea, managing regular migration flows effectively to Europe appears to be more challenging, as most of the Pakistani workers destined to Europe and other Western countries are unregistered.
Publications and reports
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