This weekend I have heard very strange statement from my Indian colleague that just marvelled me, something which I would never hear from an overseas Pakistani.
But before delving into what I heard, let me start off by giving some figures. According to UK latest immigration statistics 2020, Indian origin people get to secure the most visas in work (Tier1, 2 and 5)and study(Tier -4)category where they are Number 1 and 2 respectively.
It is quite common for Indians to come to UK on temporary work visa and either they get extension or they rerun to India.
But my this colleague told me that they are going back to India because they got the same IT related job in India which is paying double the amount of what they are getting paid while being in UK.
Which is quite astonishing because many people from Pakistan are desperate to come to UK, hence Pakistan secures the top position in only Family related sponsored visas as they want to come here by hook or a crook.
Many of my classmates have left Pakistan recently and although they endorse the right direction taken by the incumbent government their actions, speak otherwise as none of them repatriated to Pakistan.
Brain drain from Pakistan, has accelerated recently and its mainly due to lack of investment opportunities, nepotism, bribery, deteriorating living standards, decline in GDP per capita, uncertain and precarious micro and macro factors.
Although Pakistan is reaping the benefits of remittances but on the other hand losing out, in terms of emigration of qualified people.
Our neighbouring rival country is making immense growth in IT sector so much so that people living abroad as Non-resident are returning to their homeland as they see lot of scope in their own country, closer to family.
Many of the big giants like Oracle, Microsoft, IBM, Apple, Goggle, Cognizant, HP, and Infosys have their offices in India.
While, in fact one of the Indian IT company TCS is among the top ten IT companies in the world.
India’s Global Innovation Index 2021 is 46 in the world, Other than generating revenue through exports it also supports employment needs as roughly 25% of blue collar job are generated In India by this sector only.
Fortunately this year, we have improved our index by 8 points since 2020, from 107 to 99. We started this journey together but unfortunately, Pakistan had many internal and external challenges which staggered our IT evolution.
If we look at some of the features involved in gauging innovation environment performance, our weakness lies mostly in the infrastructure, market sophistication and Human Capital and research factors which need support from Government.
Pakistan needs world class institutions, ICT learning should be made compulsory from early years and age related structured curriculum should be introduced. More applied IT institutions, Software hubs should be established.
Conducive environment should promoted be by Government that supports investments in IT sector, credit availability, access to international market and secure channel for delivery of work should be put in place.
Recently, there is an migration partnership signed between India and UK and under this scheme young Indian and British professionals can live in each other’s country for two years and this is addition to already existing post-study graduate route.
But, this facility is not available to people from Pakistan In fact, Pakistan has higher rate of visa rejection as compared to India.
Currently it’s very vital for our current regime to address these issues so that we can improve our image in international market, Increase our IT exports, raise more employment opportunities and will also facilitate in putting a halt to massive brain drain issues, and which will eventually fix our tangled economic issues.
This sector needs to be promoted heavily the pay structure should be improved in this sector to entice qualified young minds.
It’s the future, and only sector which could rescue Pakistan out of trouble, and will also protect overseas nationals from an increasing rate of Islamophobia and degradation of second class citizens.
We need a country where institutions focus on concept building, where children bags are lighter but brains filled up of bright, creative, thought provoking ideas; a place where young professionals do not have look for the avenues to leave their homeland.
We need a country a place where we can happily repatriate.Freelance columnist based in London