LAHORE - Though foreign remittances have increased, migration ratio of highly skilled Pakistanis has also gone higher, a survey made by an international body revealed.

According to a survey of Gallup-Pakistan, more than two-thirds of Pakistan’s adult population wants to go abroad for work and half of it has no desire to return. A similar survey was carried out in 1984, according to which only 17% Pakistanis had expressed their desire to settle abroad. The situation has grown worse.

The brain drain has been on the rise in Pakistan for the past two decades as more graduates opt to look towards a financially secure and comfortable lifestyle in other parts of the world. Unesco claims that the highly skilled migration rate of Pakistan has increased more than 60 percent from 1992 to 2000, which is an indicator of the alarming magnitude of the brain drain in the country.

As per the statistics released by the Ministry of Overseas Pakistanis and Human Resource Development, around 2.765 million citizens, including 31,607 from Balochistan, have proceeded abroad for employment opportunities over the last five years.

According to the figures from January 2008 to September 2013, selection of workers was prerogative of foreign employers, which was based on the criterion “right person for the right job”.

In another report issued earlier, the Ministry of Overseas Pakistanis had stated that around 5.873 million Pakistanis had migrated during the last two decades.

There may be different reasons, but Pakistan will lose human resource if the brain drain continues. The top six destinations are Saudi Arabia, UAE, USA, the UK, Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries (Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar and Oman) and EU countries, with Saudi Arabia topping the list.

Overseas Pakistanis sent remittances amounting to $18.4 billion in 2014-15, which shows a year-on-year increase of 16.5 percent, according to a data released by the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP). Remittances amounted to $15.8 billion in the preceding fiscal year. Pakistanis based in foreign countries sent home $1.8 billion in June, which is 9.5% higher than the remittances received in the preceding month of May.

Remittances from Saudi Arabia were the largest in 2014-15. They amounted to over $5.6 billion in July-June, 19% more than the preceding 12 months.

The remittances received in July-June from United Arab Emirates (UAE) increased by 35.3% to $4.2 billion on a year-on-year basis. Inflows from the UAE registered the largest increase during 2014-15, SBP data shows.

Remittances from the United States and the United Kingdom remained $2.6 billion and $2.3 billion, respectively, in July-June. The year-on-year increase in remittances from the US and the UK has been 4.8% and 4.9%, respectively.

Remittances from Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries, excluding Saudi Arabia and UAE, were $2.1 billion in July-June, which were 15.6% higher than the remittances received from these countries in the preceding fiscal year. Remittances from Kuwait in 2014-15 equalled $748.1 million while those from Oman, Bahrain and Qatar were $666.8 million, $389 million and $347.5 million, respectively.