Monthly Archives: December 2016

Migrating from traditional roles

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People move from one country to the other primarily for better economic opportunities. No doubt it is not an easy option to leave your family and head for a destination where you have to work like machines and go through excessive mental stress.

Official figures show that a total of 5.4 million Pakistani workers went overseas for employment from 2003 to 2015. Around 97 per cent of these went to Gulf Corporation Council (GCC) countries including Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and Qatar. The contributions of these labour migrants are highlighted from time to time and the foreign remittances they send home are termed to be a lifeline for the country’s economy. During the year 2015-2016, Pakistani expatriates sent foreign remittances worth $19.9 billion which is not small a figure. Continue reading

Ensure safe, orderly and regular migration

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Migrants workers are not slaves. They are human beings too, and have rights to survive with dignity like others in the world”, Dulal of Bangladesh said to me, while returning from Qatar recently. In Doha, Qatar to report on the plights of migrant workers, I met and talked to some of the ill-fated migrant workers of Bangladesh, they were returning Bangladesh empty handed. Dulal of Chittagong was one of them. His father paid Taka six hundred thousand to a middleman to send him to Qatar for what was purported to be a well-paid job. The broker arranged for a one-month’s VISA (In the name of free VISA) for Dulal from Dhaka, and urged him to go to Qatar, promising that the work visa would be extended for three years once he was there. At the end of the month however there was not only no extension, but the broken disappeared. Dulal never saw the broker again in Qatar and even the broker refused to answer his desperate calls. Continue reading

Skilled Vs. Unskilled Workers And Sri Lanka’s Migrant Labour Problem

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Sending qualified nurses to the US is among the steps Sri Lanka is taking to ensure its mirgant labour force is made up of more skilled workers. Image courtesy

The Government recently passed a regulation further tightening the current selection criteria imposed on women seeking foreign employment. According to the Government, the motive here is to discourage women from seeking foreign employment as domestic workers or caregivers. Alternatively, the Government is promoting more professionals to seek foreign employment through a Government controlled system. Even with these restrictions, the Sri Lankan labour migration sector is still the number one industry bringing in the highest amount of foreign revenue to the country. Continue reading

Rethinking labour migration

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Pakistan has long been a major exporter of human resource, primarily to the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries including Saudi Arabia, UAE and Qatar, and receives substantial foreign remittances sent by the expatriates every year. Opportunities opened up for Pakistani workers in the Gulf region soon after the boom in the oil sector and the development that followed in 1970s.

Data shows that this export of human resource continues. From 2003 to 2015, a total of 5.4 million Pakistani workers went overseas for employment, of which around 97 percent headed to the GCC region. During FY2015-2016, the foreign remittances sent by overseas Pakistanis were around $19.9 billion, which close to what was earned through exports of goods and services from the country. The highest share comes obviously from those working in Saudi Arabia and the UAE as these countries host nearly 93 percent of all Pakistani workers who have gone abroad for work. Continue reading