Brain drain: Over 450,000 Pakistanis left country in 2023 seeking better jobs abroad

The economic landscape of Pakistan has compelled almost half a million citizens to seek opportunities overseas in the first seven months of 2023, highlighting a significant departure of both skilled and unskilled workers.

In the first seven months of 2023, over 450,000 Pakistanis went abroad in search of better job opportunities, based on new data from the Bureau of Emigration & Overseas Employment.

Professional Backgrounds of the Migrants

Delving into the details of the individuals who opted for international employment, the data disclosed a compelling narrative. Contrary to assumptions, the migrant group wasn’t exclusively comprised of low-skilled laborers. This suggested an alarming loss of skilled professionals and valuable human resources.

The emigrants included:

  • 192,188 laborers
  • 96,466 drivers
  • 4,705 engineers
  • 4,431 accountants
  • 1,925 doctors
  • 764 teachers.

Of them, 12,787 held high qualifications, while 26,405 individuals were classified as highly skilled.

Which Countries Pakistani Workforce is heading to?

The Middle East has emerged as the primary choice for most emigrants, according to the records provided by the bureau. Favored destinations hosting this influx of Pakistani workers include:

  • Saudi Arabia led the list with 205,515 Pakistani workers
  • The United Arab Emirates welcomed 121,745 individuals
  • Qatar hosted 5,637 workers
  • 34,140 individuals went to Oman
  • Malaysia welcomed 16,166 workers

Bahrain, Greece, Romania, and Iraq, each hosted several thousand Pakistani workers.

The Unaccounted Diaspora

It’s important to mention that the data presented only covers individuals officially registered with the Bureau of Emigration & Overseas Employment. It excludes those who go abroad for education or through different immigration channels. Therefore, the actual number of Pakistanis seeking better opportunities overseas is likely higher than what’s currently reported.

In 2022, a significant number of 832,339 Pakistanis left the country to seek job opportunities abroad, marking the largest departure recorded since 2016.

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