Cognizant of the importance of remittances sent by overseas Pakistanis in building the country’s foreign exchange reserves, the Ministry of Overseas Pakistanis and Human Resource Development (OPHRD) has sent more than 600,000 skilled and unskilled workforce to around 40 different countries during the current year to earn livelihood and support their families at home. The ministry took several initiatives including imparting world-class professional training to potential candidates for overseas employment and signing Memorandums of Understanding (MOUs) with employer countries to capture Pakistan’s due share in the international markets. The efforts yielded the required results to a great extent despite the financial recession in world markets caused by the deadly coronavirus, the energy crisis, and the Russia-Ukraine conflict. “The Bureau of Emigration and Overseas Employment (BE&OE) and Overseas Employment Corporation (OEC) had exported around 616,816 manpower abroad this year,” a senior official privy to overseas employment developments told APP. The OEC and BEOE, he said, were extensively working on the front line to promote and create various opportunities for youth to export skilled and unskilled labour abroad. According to the National Database & Registration Authority (NADRA), around 10 million registered expatriate Pakistanis are sending over US$31 billion in remittances every year which is one of the main sources for supporting the national economy. The official said it was an admitted fact that role of the Pakistani diaspora in the prosperity and development of their country was crucial. “Over 10,000 workers have been sent to South Korea, whereas export of more workers is in the pipeline.” Explaining the government measures to expand overseas employment opportunities, he said the Federal Minister for Overseas Pakistanis and Human Resource Development, Sajid Hussain Turi has recently visited many countries to export Pakistani workforce and signed MOUs in this regard. The minister visited Switzerland, Romania, Greece, and Portugal and met the Director General of the International Labor Organization in Geneva and discussed with him the rehabilitation and relief of the workers affected by the recent floods in Pakistan. The minister viewed that Romania, Portugal, Italy, Greece, and other western countries needed large-scale manpower and Pakistan was ready to sign agreements to send a Pakistani workforce comprising professionals to these countries. “Pakistan is interested in expanding its bilateral relations in the economic sector. The main reason for my visit is to create work opportunities for skilled and hardworking Pakistanis in Portugal,” Turi said while sharing his visit details. He elaborated that Portuguese companies can hire Pakistani IT experts and skilled workers and the country is willing to assist Portugal by improving manpower in various fields. Pakistan has proposed a draft of the Labor Mobility Partnership which would be signed soon. The agreement on Labor Mobility Partnership will provide a legal framework for boosting cooperation between Pakistan and Portugal. The minister said that scholarships are being provided to the children of overseas Pakistanis and special quotas will also be allocated for them in every university in the country. Meanwhile, the Japanese global recruiting company is striving for human resource development in the IT sector of Pakistan enabling youth to secure employment in the IT industry of Japan. During a bilateral visit to Greece, Minister Turi assured the Pakistani diaspora that the Ministry was making efforts to resolve their issues and grievances on a priority basis. An overseas Pakistani in Greece, Syed Muhammad Jameel said that compared to other European countries, immigrants were facing many problems in Greece. “We are hopeful that the Ministry after his visit will play an important role in establishing cemented relations.” An online complaint portal is being established for overseas Pakistanis, he added. Opportunities will be found in different countries for the export of OEC Pakistani manpower. He also hinted to initiate training and foreign language classes for OEC manpower export. The Overseas Ministry and the Ministry of Employment and Labour (MOEL) of the Republic of Korea also signed an MOU on the sending and receiving of workers under the Employment Permit System (EPS) in 2006. The MoU is renewed after every two years. So far, the Overseas Employment Corporation (an attached department of the MOPHRD) has dispatched more than 10,000 workers to the Republic of Korea under EPS. Turi said, “Pakistan and Korea relations have grown from strength to strength in all fields. The countries are enjoying long-standing relations which are based on decades-old economic partnerships.” At the request of the Federal Minister, the Ambassador of Korea also gave the assurance that Korea will consider the hiring of Skilled Workforce and IT Professionals from Pakistan under a separate MoU or Agreement during their Minister for Labour and Employment visit to Pakistan in the next year.