Labour migration in Pakistan

Migrant workers get the short end of the stick © ILO

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Pakistan is one of the largest labour sending countries in the region. As of December 2019, more than 11 million Pakistanis have proceeded abroad for employment to over 50 countries through official procedures. The migration of Pakistani workers is mostly concentrated to Gulf Cooperation Council countries (96 per cent) with Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates hosting the majority. The Remittances by Migrant Workers to Pakistan reached to US$21.84 billion during 2019 financial year, 60-65 per cent of the remittances were from the Arab States.

The ILO works closely with Ministry of Overseas Pakistanis and Human Resource Development, and its affiliate institutions in developing Government’s Emigration Policy and capacity building. Collaborations with the ILO social partners and other stakeholders like Pakistan Overseas Employment Promoters Association (POEPA) have been growing stronger.

The DWCP (2016-22) focuses on enhancing compatibility of TEVT qualifications so that Pakistani migrant workers can compete for and secure skilled jobs in the destination countries. In order to promote safe and fair labour migration, easy and timely access to accurate information for perspective migrant workers is critical.

In Pakistan, the EU-funded ILO Global Action to Improve the Recruitment Framework of Labour Migration (REFRAME) project has been going on. It seeks to work in partnership with ILO constituents in Pakistan to address the challenges related to the
recruitment of migrant workers in line with the ILO’s General Principles and Operational Guidelines for Fair Recruitment and Definition of Recruitment Fees and Related Costs.

The ILO has commissioned a Rapid Assessment to gauge impact of COVID-19 on labour migration governance and relevant stakeholders to inform policy and programmes on how to address the challenges and emerging needs of relevant stakeholders and support labour migration governance.

Key resources

  1. Labour migration

    The ILO works to forge policies to maximize the benefits of labour migration for all those involved.