South Asians for Human Rights

Promoting Democracy, Upholding Human Rights

International Migrants Day

Modern era is full of ever-increasing opportunities and challenges around the globe. Human beings migrate from one country to the other for a better life.

December 18 is celebrated as International Migrants Day all over the world.

According to Pew Research Report “Pakistan stands 6th World largest exporter of labour with 5.9million working overseas.

Tahir Manzoor, migration analyst, said tens of thousands of Pakistani were working in Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates.

Around 5.4 million workers of Pakistan working in the Gulf region and sending a lot foreign exchange to the country every year.  

Around 19.9 billion dollar were sent to Pakistan by the overseas Pakistanis in fiscal year 2015-16.

He added that seven lakh laborers went to work in Gulf countries this year.

According to a report, Tahir Manzoor said there were no basic rights for most of the labourers who went aboard on free visas hired by companies. They are dependent on Kafeel and their relatives already there who exploit them by paying low wages. Moreover, they are also overcharged by visa agents. If they change Kafeel, it puts further financial burnden on them, Tahir Manzoor said.  

He added Up to 15 workers are forced to live in one room.

“More than 80 percent Pakistani went abroad as labourers, drivers, masons, technician, carpenters, electricians, agriculturists, carpenter, steel fixers, mechanic and plumbers etc in the last 10 years.  Those who go illegally suffer even more.

Western countries discourage the illegal immigrants. Despite that many people have gone to western countries illegally, he added. There is no record of illegal migrants in those countries because such migrants hide their identity.

Migrants face many challenges abroad, said another immigration issues expert, Dr Shahzad Bukhari. “Migrants complain that breach of contracts has increased with the passage of time. If a person is hired for 1100 Riyal per month, he is paid only 800 Riyal. Moreover,  a person hired for a specific designation in Gulf but they are not given the post but lower one, Dr Shahad said, adding, “Our complain centeres are not effective and the people don’t know where to go. Response after registration of complaint is much slow. Complain system must be strengthened, he demanded.

IA Rehman, secretary general, Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, says “Unfortunately there is no law for refugees in Pakistan and as well as for internally displaced persons (IDPs).” More refugees came to Pakistan than any state in the world.

Countless migrants have died in their attempts to reach Europe via Iran and Turkey. Pakistan should make laws on migrants, he added.

He shared, “Pakistan hosts 1.5 million refugees. He said Proof of Registration (PoR) cards was a big issue for Afghan refugees in Pakistan.

In case of failure, they are deported from Pakistan. Many refugees got married in Pakistan and children are being expelled from their birthplace which is catastrophic for them. Refugees are the essential part of Pakistan. They should not be neglected. Frustration among refugees should be minimised at every cost and this issue should be resolved prudently, he urged.


Updated On: December 19, 2016