To leave or not to leave Pakistan

Globally, relocating and looking for better education or working conditions are not new concepts

What is noticeable is that recently, the motivation to migrate has seen a peak in Pakistan

Various overwhelming factors, especially a weakened economy, are in play

The latest numbers show that in just 2022, more than 800,000 people left Pakistan

And that is not merely because they wanted better education and working opportunities; state’s inability to provide necessities and security is also a major factor

Some people relocate to another country to join their family members, pursue higher education, or/and find good financial opportunities

Others relocate to flee hostilities, persecution, terrorism, or human rights abuses

Some also relocate in reaction to the unfavourable consequences of environmental variables like natural catastrophes or climate change

There could be one reason or several factors, but the recent numbers are alarming for Pakistan

The situation manifests the hopelessness of the youth stuck in the country’s unresponsive system, and how they are finding ways to move out

“I was born, brought up and educated in Karachi, got married, have kids, and worked here, but recently I was laid off without any notice and any compensation

So why would anyone expect me to be loyal when I am unable to feed my children?” said Muhammad Usman

He has been in talks with a consultant in an attempt to leave Pakistan for better working conditions

The story of every other Pakistani in the age bracket of 22-35 years is the same

They are all trying to find ways to move to another country, and while their reasons may differ their intention is identical

“I can stay in Pakistan as my parents are here, but even after studying at a reputed university and working in a big company, if I have nothing to show for it, why should I stay and keep my family suffering? My wife also works so we were not in a bad situation after I was asked to resign, but what if she wasn’t working? How would I have managed the expenses of my children who are both under three years of age,” said Usman

His elder brother is working in the UAE, but he plans to go to Germany

The impetus to migrate Having hot piping tea at a roadside tea stall, a group of friends, in their mid-careers, is discussing options of how to move to another country

“It is our regular thing for the last eight-ten months; we meet every week

One of us could be worried about how they would manage next month's expenses, given the increasing prices of almost everything and salaries being unchanged, or anther friend is trying to find cheap options to migrate,” said Muhammad Abbas

He added that from their group of twelve friends, more than seven have already left Pakistan to settle in Australia, Canada, the UAE, and Saudi Arabia

“The main thing that we discuss is different visas that can help in moving abroad as soon as possible; some of us are even in talks with immigration consultants to get help and have the right documentation ready

” The reasons for this increase in immigration from Pakistan are many, and not just the current economic situation of the country

Abbas said, “If it was merely the issue of low paying, jobs, one could have adjusted to it

But the main concern of a middle-class salaried person is security and the law and order situation

In Karachi, we can’t even sit at a roadside hotel for tea without feeling afraid, then what is it we are paying taxes for?” Abbas and the rest of his family members are taxpayers

Among many concerns that people complain about, street crime in Karachi is one of the main ones

Many young people have lost their lives at the hands of common criminals

If numbers are to be believed, more than 400 people were killed in street crimes in Karachi last year

Looking at these statistics, it is not surprising that those who can afford, have a good education, and professional experience are investing all their savings to apply for work visas and permanent residency

In this time of uncertainty when people are desperate to leave, immigration consultants are busier than ever

“We have not seen this many queries in the last decade; people aged between 20-40 are the ones who are coming to us for options and how to leave at the earliest

There are quite a few of those who already have job offers; in the technology era it is easier to get connected via LinkedIn

People have been applying themselves,” said Amanullah, a migration consultant

He also shared that the number of women looking for options to move abroad is also increasing

“I would say that if one woman was applying in 2010, today there are fifty who are going abroad to study and even to seek permanent options

As men are leaving because of lack of security, women are leaving for the same reason

The socioeconomic conditions are making it difficult to work and earn a respectable living

” “Being a woman who was living alone, I was unable to find a decent house on rent,” Laiba Zainab told me, adding that in a country where an adult can’t even rent a house because of her gender and who has stepped out of her house to earn a living, imagine what others less fortunate have to face

“I think this country has been shrinking in every way to squeeze our souls, not just women but also men

It is a constant struggle for basic rights

If you are poor, there is no way you could fit into this system,” Zainab said, adding that it’s better to move abroad and live a decent life than just keep struggling here until one day you realize the hard work you had been putting in gives you so much less than what your friend earns doing the same work in some other counter

The difference in lifestyle, security, and importance as a human being makes leaving the pain of your country worth it

“A classmate of mine shifted to Germany for work, and believe me, it's so much better when it comes to work ethics and job security

Here we can be laid off without even a notice period or any compensation,” she lamented

Is the grass actually greener? In the context of the recent scenario in which anyone who is in a position to do so is doing their best to leave, the situation outside Pakistan is also not that idyllic

In many countries, working conditions for expatriates are becoming difficult, and it is increasingly expensive for many of them to keep their families with them

“I shifted to the UAE last year with my wife

When we arrived here, she already had a job, but I am still struggling to find work; either I'm too qualified for something or I don’t have the relevant experience,” shared Zain Siddiqui who left a good job in Karachi to move to the UAE

He has received some offers to join as an intern despite having eight years of work experience

“I’ll wait for another three months, and if I don’t get a good job, unfortunately, I’ll have to return to Pakistan and find a job to make the ends meet as my wife's earnings can’t be enough for us to live a comfortable life,” he said

Unlike Siddiqui, Ali Shah left Pakistan a decade ago to start his life from scratch and build his own company

“Everything was going well, and I was even able to send a good amount of money back home to support my parents, but in the recent recession after covid, things have not picked up the old pace

My business has been in loss for a year now,” said Shah

He might have to come back to Pakistan and start again with all he has been left with; as he says, coming back to your homeland is the only solution you have when things don’t fall in place abroad

Calling out skilled immigrants Many countries have increased their intake of immigrants recently after fallng short of skilled workers, and for Pakistani professionals, this is the best time to migrate

“Countries like Australia, Germany, Canada, and others are luring markets such as those of Pakistan and other underdeveloped countries where people have skills but are not satisfied with their existing lifestyles and systems

People who apply for such visas get easy options to leave Pakistan,” said Amanullah

Lately, with change and ease in the points table of several countries, many young people are eagerly applying for visas, and in the next few years, our own country might be short of educated, skilled youth to contribute to society, Amanullah added


Date:13-Feb-2023 Reference:View Original Link