Amid a struggling economy and high inflation rates, many Pakistanis, especially the young generation, are leaving the country in search of jobs and educational opportunities abroad. In the first quarter of 2023, over 450,000 Pakistanis have already left for different countries. This can be seen through the long queues at passport offices and immigration centers, where people are applying for passports and visas. Some see this large outflow as a positive development, believing that these individuals will contribute to Pakistan’s foreign remittances. There has been a significant increase in the number of passport applications, with the daily number rising from 25,000 to 45,000. Most of the applicants are job seekers in the Middle East, and the Passport and Immigration Department is struggling to keep up with the demand. The increase in applications is partly due to the expiration of passports that were issued 10 years ago. Private companies that process visa applications have also seen a surge in numbers. The British Council is experiencing a high volume of applications for student and work visas and has increased the frequency of Ielts tests. The trend of Pakistanis seeking better opportunities abroad has been highlighted and considered both a challenge and an opportunity by government officials. The caretaker Prime Minister and the Special Assistant to the Prime Minister have acknowledged the need for professional education and training programs that cater to the international market’s demands. The Special Assistant has even urged Saudi Arabia to accept more than one million Pakistani workers annually as part of their Vision 2030 plan.
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