ISLAMABAD - Gone are the days when Pakistan had capacity of only a handful of trained labour force to offer multinational companies and foreign countries, as now the Ministry of Overseas Pakistanis is on fast track to produce skilled labour to send them abroad to ensure healthy foreign exchange.

Ministry of Overseas Pakistanis, first time in the history of Pakistan, exported 211,734 skilled labour abroad. 

It is pertinent to mention here that Pakistan has been exporting 150,000 to 200,000 labour (skilled & unskilled) annually.

However, first time in the history of country, Ministry of Overseas Pakistanis trained and exported 0.2 million labour in first four months of current year.

According to data obtained by TheNation, Ministry of OPF exported a total of 211734 labourer (skilled & unskilled) abroad during the first four months of 2012. 114941 labourers were sent to Saudi Arabia, 61711 to United Arab Emirates, 24689 to Oman, 3904 to Bahrain while Qatar received 3098 labourers from Pakistan until 30 April 2012.

Higher officials of Ministry of Overseas Pakistanis were optimistic to export 300,000 more labourers abroad until December 2012.

“We are trying to utilise our resources to produce high quality skilled labour force to export it abroad. Besides, we are trying to explore new markets as well. We must know that remittance from Pakistani expats contributed a lot to country’s economy. And I assure you, Ministry of OPF will leave no stone unturned to facilitate Overseas Pakistanis in every possible way,” federal secretary Ashraf Nadeem told TheNation when contacted on Thursday.

It is worthy to mention here that Pakistan has the highest growth of remittances in the world, which is the second largest source of foreign exchange in the country.

Nearly 5 million Pakistani emigrants make up the world’s 7th largest Diaspora, according to the World Bank Factbook 2011. Adding the foreign-born children of these Pakistani emigrants to the tally pushes the total figure up to about 7 million.

Interestingly, The majority of the worker force being export hails from Punjab and Khyber Pukhtunkhwa. Workers from Sindh and Balochistan do not take interest to go abroad.

Overseas Pakistani workers remitted $ 7.436 billion in the first seven months of the current fiscal year 2011-12 (FY12), showing an impressive growth of 21.54 percent over same period last year. According to data obtained by TheNation, home remittances were valued at $ 6.118 billion during July 2010 - January 2011.

Remittances received from all countries of the world showed growth during the first seven months of the current fiscal year.

The inflow of remittances during July-January 2012 from Saudi Arabia, UAE, USA, UK, GCC countries (including Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar and Oman) and EU countries amounted to $2,008.47 million, $1,644.34 million, $1,328.31 million, $853.47 million, $845.41 million, and $215.64 million respectively as compared with the inflow of $1,353.40 million, $1,437.05 million, $1,145.71 million, $669.70 million, $721.47 million and $195.66 million respectively in July-January 2011.