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Brain Drain Crisis: Pakistan Sees 119% Surge in Skilled Emigration Amid Economic Turbulence

Pakistan has experienced a troubling 119% surge in the emigration of highly skilled professionals in 2023, according to the latest Economic Survey 2023-24.

The report highlights a significant brain drain, raising serious concerns about the nation’s capacity to retain its intellectual capital amid ongoing economic instability.

The statistics are stark: 45,687 skilled individuals left Pakistan for better opportunities abroad, a dramatic increase from 20,865 in the previous year. This sharp rise in emigration undermines the government’s claims of steering the country towards a prosperous future.

The impact of this trend has been felt across various regions, with Punjab at the forefront, seeing 489,301 laborers seek employment abroad. Khyber Pakhtunkhwa followed with 210,150 departures, while Sindh and the tribal areas reported 72,382 and 36,609 emigrants respectively.

Economic experts link this mass exodus to a prolonged economic crisis that began in late 2021, which led to the closure of nearly half of the country’s industrial units and worsened unemployment.

The resulting lack of viable job opportunities within Pakistan has driven skilled workers to seek livelihoods overseas, where prospects appear more promising.

Despite the bleak situation, the Economic Survey acknowledges the resilience of Pakistani expatriates in supporting the national economy through remittance inflows. Additionally, the survey notes a 4% increase in registrations with the Bureau of Immigration and Overseas Employment and the Overseas Employment Corporation, indicating a continued interest among Pakistanis in seeking jobs abroad.

The latest Labor Force Survey paints a challenging picture of domestic employment, with a significant portion of the population struggling with joblessness.

As of 2020-21, Pakistan’s unemployment rate stands at 6.3%, with younger demographics, particularly those aged 15 to 24, facing the highest levels of job scarcity.

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