Jawad Sohrab Malik, the Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Overseas Pakistanis and Human Resource Development (SAPM on OP&HRD), initiated a five-day mission to Saudi Arabia with the aim of fostering collaboration and exploring employment prospects for the Pakistani workforce in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

Throughout SAPM’s first official visit to Saudi Arabia, the primary focus will be on substantial mega-development initiatives designed to generate widespread employment opportunities, addressing the needs of both unskilled and skilled professionals from Pakistan.

The visit aimed to launch several pioneering projects anticipated to exert a profound impact on the labor market. Among the key projects slated for discussion to explore employment opportunities for Pakistani migrant workers are the Red Sea Project, Development Plan for the Extension of the Holy City of Makkah, Jabal Omar, Recreational Tourism Projects, New Taif City, The NEOM Project, Qiddiva Project – The Capital of Entertainment Sports, Diriyah Gates, AlUla – UNESCO World Heritage Site, Hammaya Program, King Salman Park, and Green Riyadh.

These initiatives offer abundant employment prospects, especially in areas like Artificial Intelligence, Internet of Things, media policy, strategy and research, health and safety expertise, project coordination and managerial strategy, financial modeling, ecosystem-based management, senior water scientists, climate action directors, managers of geothermal energy, solar generation specialists, and more.

During the visit, conversations will revolve around the changing trends in Saudi Arabia’s labor market. In discussions with Saudi Arabia’s Minister for Labor, Vice Minister of Labor, and prominent Saudi companies, the SAPM will emphasize the necessity and advocate for expanded opportunities for both skilled and unskilled Pakistani labor, spanning a wider array of sectors such as construction, hospitality, services, nursing, and care.

The SAPM will also strive to convince his Saudi counterparts to give preference to hiring Pakistani workers over those from other nations, underscoring the competitive advantages of the Pakistani skilled and unskilled workforce. Recognizing the current predominance of Pakistani workers in lower-skilled categories in Saudi Arabia, the SAPM will underscore the importance of expanding opportunities for professionals and highly skilled individuals.

Special attention will be directed towards the NEOM Project, a significant development initiative in Saudi Arabia. The SAPM aims to propose the allocation of a dedicated quota for Pakistani skilled and semi-skilled workers for NEOM and other upcoming projects.

Moreover, the discussions will involve a proposal for Saudi Arabia to establish a state-of-the-art Skill University in Pakistan, further aligning the two nations in their pursuit of economic transformation. Collaboration in the training of Pakistani workers to meet the escalating needs of the Saudi labor market and enhance their skills and capabilities will also be a pivotal point of discussion.

The SAPM will champion collaborative initiatives among the Embassy of KSA in Islamabad, Consulate General (CG) Karachi, and Pakistani authorities to streamline the entry of new Overseas Employment Promoters (OEPs) into the Saudi sector.

The visit aims to align Pakistan’s workforce with Saudi Arabia’s economic transformation program under Vision 2030, cultivating a strong partnership for mutual benefit. It also aims to bolster crucial remittances, playing a pivotal role in stabilizing Pakistan’s economy and ensuring the economic well-being of families reliant on these financial inflows.

Furthermore, as both nations aspire to deepen their collaboration, the SAPM, before embarking on the visit, expressed optimism about the positive impact on bilateral relations and the prosperity of both countries.

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