Key Points

  • Slow economic growth, high unemployment, inflation and domestic instability comprise the main push factors for labour migration from Pakistan.
  • In recent years, migrants from Pakistan have been predominately temporary male workers seeking employment in the countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC),2 especially Saudi Arabia.
  • Although the Government licenses overseas employment recruiters, many unauthorized recruitment agents exist and are used by migrants, causing concern as they often charge exorbitant fees.
  • More than 1.7 million Afghan refugees or Afghans living in a refugee-like situation are in Pakistan. Over time, the Government of Pakistan has sought the need for more comprehensive repatriation strategies.
  • Trafficking of men, women and children for the purpose of forced labour and sex work remains an issue in Pakistan. International instruments seeking to protect the victims and prosecute the perpetrators have yet to be ratified.


2 The member States of the GCC are Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates.