IN WHAT could be termed as a significant development which will open more opportunities for Pakistani skilled manpower in Saudi Arabia, the two brotherly countries signed two agreements on Sunday related to workers’ recruitment and skills verification.
Saudi Arabia has an ambitious economic reform program under Vision 2030 which envisages massive investment of $320 billion to develop non-oil sector including a string of mega projects and smart cities offering inhabitants further innovation in their respective fields.
All this will create millions of job opportunities and we expect that the agreements signed will have a far reaching impact and pave the way for our workforce to get a big share in it, given the brotherly relations that exist between both the countries.
This cooperation, in fact, is aimed at streamlining the process of export of workforce from Pakistan in diverse professions in the kingdom while safeguarding their due rights and providing comprehensive legal protection.
The agreements will also help in resolving contractual disputes and taking legal recourse against recruitment offices, companies or agencies for any violation.
The largest number of Pakistani expatriate workforce is based in Saudi Arabia, contributing substantially to the country’s economy through foreign remittances.
Most of the present Pakistani workforce in the kingdom falls in the category of unskilled or semiskilled labour, which means reduced remunerations and this also impacts remittances negatively.
Also in the changing scenario and dynamics of the labour market overseas, a large number of Pakistani workforce requires skills certification as presently they face non-recognition of their qualifications, skills and certification.
The agreement on skills will help address this issue besides leading to national productivity and development.
The government must accelerate its efforts to produce a skilled workforce by equipping the technical institutes with the right kind of human resource and tools and equipment in order to enhance the employment chances of our youths in Saudi Arabia as well as other Gulf countries.
In fact, there is immense scope of cooperation between Pakistan and Saudi Arabia in diverse fields and this must also be exploited by maintaining close contacts at different levels. Time has come to transform this relationship into a strategic economic partnership.