ISLAMABAD, Aug 26 (APP):Ministry of Overseas Pakistanis and Human Resource Development (OPHRD) have multiple initiatives on its credit for promoting overseas employment and improving labour conditions in the country during last three years.
The ministry’s steps for boosting manpower export included exploration of new job markets through agreements with different countries, digital interventions and participation in various international job fairs and events, revealed the three-year performance report launched here.
Apart from signing Memoranda of Understanding and Cooperation with 13 countries for manpower export, the ministry constituted an Economic Outreach Apex Committee (EOAC) and Economic Outreach Coordination Group (EOCG).
In 2019, the OPHRD ministry inked an agreement with Japanese government for sending its workforce there, while in 2020 its attached department—Overseas Employment Corporation signed a recruitment accord with the ministry concerned in Kuwait for the purpose.
Resultantly, the long-halted process of manpower export to Kuwait was restored. Since July 2020, 1,133 medical professionals (doctors, nurses, medical technicians) have been sent to Kuwait.
5 New posts of Community Welfare Attaches (CWAs) were created in year 2020 increasing the number of CWAs from 19 to 24, so as to have more outreach to overseas Pakistanis in more destination countries.
The core function of CWAs at foreign missions is to promote overseas employment for countrymen and safeguarding the Interests of emigrants under the Emigration Ordinance, 1979.
The ministry did not only introduce amendments in Emigration Ordinance/Rules, 1979 to upgrade the current manpower export mechanism, but also formulated the first-ever policy on National Emigration and welfare of overseas Pakistanis for the purpose.
An online job portal was established in March 2020. 54,071 job-seekers have registered themselves on the portal. Similarly, 94,313 overseas returnees have registered themselves with the portal.
Soft skill training programs, commencement of foreign language teaching programs and awareness and outreach campaigns and MoUs with vocational training institutes like TEVTA have been initiated.
The report said mandatory National Identity Card for Overseas Pakistanis condition for Pakistani expats has been removed with efforts of Bureau of Emigration and Overseas Employment. One window fee collection desk has been established and registration of intending emigrants via biometric verification system is linked with NADRA in all protectorate offices.
In line with the incumbent government’s manifesto of creation of job opportunities, 1,136,258 emigrants have been registered for overseas employment.
Export of skilled and unskilled labor underwent an increase of 58 per cent and 41 per cent respectively, in fiscal year 2018- 2019 as compared to FY 2017- 2018. 568,464 emigrants were registered in 2018 – 2019 for emigration abroad as compared to 424,867 in period 2017 – 2018.
Resultantly, the foreign remittances saw a remarkable increase from US $ 19.913 billion (FY 2017-2018) and $19.765 billion (FY 2018 – 2019) to US $23.132 billion (FY 2019 -2020). It has reached $26.74 billion in the fiscal year 2020-21.
Among other initiatives included housing, health and education schemes for overseas Pakistanis and local labourers, increase in EOBI pension from Rs 5,250 to Rs 8,500 and opening of new portals to reach out expats for resolution of their problems.
As regards to improving labour class conditions in Pakistan, the ministry developed the National Labor Protection Framework (NLPF) in collaboration with International Labour Organization to guide the provincial governments for developing new labor laws aligned with International labor standards on child labor, forced labor, freedom of association and collective bargaining, non-discrimination, labor inspection, social dialogue and occupational safety and Health (OSH).
Federal Tripartite Consultation Committee (FTCC) was also established in compliance with the ILO convention 144 with an aim to find out way forward for several labor welfare matters.