Manpower export declining

OVER the last many decades, Pakistan has profited by exporting its manpower abroad, particularly to the Gulf. This strategy, which sent millions of semi-skilled blue-collar workers abroad, has led to a surge of remittance inflows. These inflows have played a pivotal role in keeping afloat Pakistan’s economy by fulfilling a dire need for foreign currency.
While the country’s commodity based exports are witnessing decline or are stagnant over the last few years, the country is also facing another threat of reduction in its remittances in near future as the manpower exports to the Gulf States have touched the lowest ebb on account of new restriction especially, imposed by the UAE, seeking police character certificates for intending workers. The character certificate will have to be first attested by the Foreign Office and the UAE Embassy in Pakistan making the process more discouraging in manpower export. More importantly, if these certificates are not provided within two weeks time, then manpower demand for Pakistan stands cancelled. And then the quota of Pakistani jobs go to the Indian workers as the Indian government, while using their influence, has managed to get abolished the condition of police certificate. This development having serious consequences on multiple fronts shows the deep slumber of our concerned authorities. Why did the Foreign Office and the Ministry of Overseas Pakistanis not take up the matter with the UAE to get the waiver? This clearly implies how our offices and departments are working and how they have failed to protect country’s interests. This is the reason that today our remittances stand at $17b while that of India has touched the mark of $60b. In fact these overseas workers not only send precious foreign exchange back to the country but also serve as ambassadors in that country. Providing open ground to India in the Gulf countries doesn’t augur well for us. We, therefore, will urge the Foreign Office to immediately take up the matter with the UAE and get the restriction lifted at the earliest so that our youth could take benefit from job opportunities there. We will also propose that the PM must take personal interest in the matter and appoint an emissary to initiate talks with Gulf countries on enhancing manpower export to accrue both economic and diplomatic benefits.

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