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Event Title: Senator Manzoor Ahmed Kakar, Chairman Senate Standing Committee On Overseas Pakistanis and Human Resource Development Presiding over a Meeting of the Committee at Parliament House, Islamabad

Event Date: 2023-09-27

Senator Rana Mahmood Ul Hassan during a meeting of the Senate Standing Committee on Overseas Pakistanis and Human Resource Development lamented that 50,000 Engineers and IT Professionals in the country are unemployed and urged the Ministry to develop a mechanism in collaboration with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and other related ministries to aid the Pakistani Engineers as skilled workers to Japan, China and other countries considering the prevailing dire economic crisis. He said that highly skilled qualified professionals are desperate for jobs and as of now are even willing to work for 15000 to 20000 rps salary per month. Senator Zeeshan Khanzada while endorsing the view point of Senator Rana Mahmood Ul Hassan said that the level of desperation among the People of Pakistan is such that they are willing to give millions of rupees in lieu of employment visa because of severe inflation and recession in the country. The committee on Overseas Pakistani and Human Resource Development which met on Wednesday under the chairmanship of Senator Manzoor Ahmed Kakar here at the Parliament House urged that proper mechanism should be developed to focus on specifically sending the skilled professionals abroad. The committee sought a detailed briefing for clarification on the SOPs of overseas employment. The Secretary Ministry apprised the committee that through a new arrangement we are now more focusing on the educated sector including IT professionals, Engineers, Para Medical staff. “It would abruptly increase the foreign remittances” the secretary said.  Senator Rana Mahmoud Ul Hassan raised serious questions on the inability of Pakistan to migrate Engineers to Japan irrespective of the fact that Japan needed 3 lac workers. “we were not even able to send 100 workers” Senator Shahadat Awan added further inquiring the reasons behind such a negligence. The committee sought list of number of skilled workers sent to Japan and also details on the educational qualification of each.

The committee also inquired about the clauses of the MoU signed with Saudia Arabia, “we have to see where are we lacking in the MoU between Pakistan and Saudia Arabia, Senator Sahadat Awan said. The officials apprised that in 2019 a bilateral agreement was signed according to which a  Skill verification program was set up by Saudia Arabia government in Pakistan known as the Takamol having 18 centers with its headquarters in Islamabad. The program is led under the supervision of NAVTTC and comes under the ministry of Education. The official of the overseas Pakistan foundation apprised the committee that 2.8 million workers at present are employed in Saudi Arabia. On inquiring the criteria and system through which Korean skilled immigrations are conducted it was apprised that Pakistan is among 19 countries which are members of the Korean Employment Permit System through this system skilled workers are send onthe basis of merit and country- wise quota allocation. He apprised that this year Korea allocated 1100 skilled workers from Pakistan. He further apprised that overseas foundation also furnish training on culture and specified skills to the selected immigrant.

While discussing the issues faced by the ministry on skilled immigrants the secretary overseas ministry contended that one of the issues  is thr inability to determine the migrant intentions whether he will become an immigrants or remain skilled worker which leads to issues of human trafficking and legal procedures. The secretary ministry further said that language is one of the issues while clearing immigrations to countries like China Japan and Korea. He said that the committee should give directions to NAVTTC to conduct language training courses. He also said that through NAVTTC we are also planning to establish regional centres for language training and test centres. The committee sought appearcence of NAVTTC to brief on the matter in the next meeting.

The committee also inquired on the services provided to overseas Pakistanis for foreign remittances.

Senator  Bahramand Khan Tangi inquired regarding the funds/ grants proviso by EOBI to the mine workers after completing 30 years of service. He said that as per rules of the EOBI the grant is not given un till the requirements are completely fulfilled, but amazingly the hinge in the completion is deliberately created by EOBI. He said that the mine workers are not legally registered and also not given proper training. He said that the reply submitted by the EOBI is un satisfactory and inquired about the number of cards issued and also inquired about its verification as well. The chairperson EOBI said that 165 mines and 7883 workers are registered, she admitted that majority mines are facing issues of law and order. She said that the mine sector is running informally and also we do not have the authority to verify the license. She also said that significant amount of workers are in a state of transition and is unable to register them due to non provision of documentation. However on inquiring of data she apprised the committee that there are total 25000 pensioners in the area registered with the EOBI so far. Senator Bahramand Khan Tangi un satisfied with the reply of the chairperson EOBI said that it implies that the EOBI is running away from its responsibilities. He said that EOBI failes to get employees registered and also do not provide requisite training he said that it means that non of workers will be liable to any facilities or benefits in future. The chairperson EOBI argued that training is not the mandate of the EBOI and requested the Provincial Government to submit complete data through the provincial labour department. The member committee endorsed the view point Senator Tangi on the negligence of the EOBI on obtaining the data and issuing cards. The ministry replied that since activation of Chamalanh Coal Mines Project, it is mainly supervised by Pakistan Army initially is was supervised by the Headquarters 41 Division, but later it was handed over to headquarter 29 Brigade, Zhob, Balochistan. It was also briefed that more than 50 pc mines workers are Afghan Nationals in Balochistan and EOBI ACT is not applicable on workers without CNIC. Tangi said that EOBI holds responsibility to have record . The committee chair sought record from the EOBI on the total number of mines along with numbers of employees working in totality and number of workers registered. He also sought data on the amount recovered by the EOBI so far through the contributions received . The committee also summoned the labour department to give a detailed briefing on the same

The committee also raised issues of illegal occupation of properties owned by overseas immigrant. The ministry replied that it is working with relevant agencies although it is also recommended that separate courts on the issue should be constituted. He said that the issue of illegal occupation of land of overseas Pakistanis is already under consideration and different forums are being constituted to redress the matter he also the urged the courts to extend cooperation in this regard.

The committee was attended by Senator Muhammad Akram, Senator Muhammad Ali Khan Junejo, Senator Prince Ahmed Omer Ahmed Zai, Senator Rana Mahmood Ul Hassan, Senator Shahadat Awan, Senator Sherry Rehman, Senator Zeeshan Khanzada, Senator Bahramand Khan Tangi and the Senior officials of Ministry for Overseas Pakistanis and HRD.