Labour Migration from Pakistan to the Gulf Countries: An Investigation of Regional Disparities in Outflows of Workers, Remittances and Poverty

  • G. M. Arif
  • Shujaat Farooq
  • Nasir Iqbal


During the last four decades, according to the official statistics, Pakistan has placed abroad approximately eight million workers for employment, mainly in the Middle East labour market. While throughout this period, Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates (UAE) remained the main destination countries for Pakistani workers, their placement in other oil-exporting countries of the region, such as Oman, Kuwait, Bahrain and Qatar, has also been a common phenomenon. Migration for employment out of the Middle East region is not very common, suggesting that Pakistan has not been able to find new overseas markets for its workers. The annual placement of Pakistani workers in the Gulf seems to be a major source in easing the demographic pressure on the domestic labour market. This outflow was equal to approximately one-third of the total new entrants in the local labour market, and the annual placement of migrants in the Gulf constitutes more than 10% of the total unemployed labour force of Pakistan. Pakistan is currently passing through a demographic transition which has resulted in a youth bulge and an increase in the working-age population. Migration to the Gulf has probably provided opportunities for productive and remunerative employment for young work force.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • G. M. Arif
    • 1
  • Shujaat Farooq
    • 2
  • Nasir Iqbal
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Pakistan Institute of Development Economics (PIDE)IslamabadPakistan
  2. 2.Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP)IslamabadPakistan

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