Islamabad (Muhammad Yasir) Under the government’s initiative of facilitating the returning migrants in economic reintegration in the country, the Overseas Pakistanis Foundation (OPF) has presented toolkits to returning expatriates in various trades as an in-kind support to help them start sustained self-employment.
The toolkits were presented at a ceremony held here on Tuesday to as many as 80 returning migrants in trades including electrician, plumber, carpenter, and mason, who have also completed comprehensive business development training at the Pakistani-German Facilitation & Reintegration Centre (PGFRC), Lahore.
OPF Managing Director Dr. Amer Sheikh, GIZ officials, members of Senate and National Assembly Standing Committees on Overseas Pakistanis and HRD, Members, OPF Board of Governors, representatives of international organizations and civil society also attended the ceremony.
The activity is part of the OPF efforts to support returning migrants to make a new start in Pakistan and achieve a sustainable employment. OPF is implementing a program on economic reintegration of returnees in collaboration with Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) in Pakistan. It is commissioned by the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation & Development Germany, (BMZ) and is part of BMZ support for voluntary return and sustainable reintegration.
In his remarks, Dr. Amer Sheikh shared that an MoU between German and Pakistan governments has been formalized which is the start of a new dawn in the area of support to the returning migrants. This arrangement will support in counselling and introduction to employment or entrepreneurship measures.
Addressing the audience, Dr. Mansoor Zaib Khan, Head of PGFRC, informed that the Centre is open to all Pakistanis and all our services are free of charge. PGFRC is providing advice on training and skills development, technical and vocational training, advice on job market trends and opportunities, advice on finding a job in Pakistan, entrepreneurship and start-up support, psychosocial support, and information on the health system in Pakistan, information on living conditions and advice on getting microfinance and loans, he explained.
He informed that more than 800 returning migrants in the trades of electrician, plumber, carpenter, and mason will benefit from this capacity building leading to in-kind support intervention.
Country Director GIZ, Mr. Tobias Becker, said on the occasion that the PGFRC is playing a critical role in fostering self-employment and entrepreneurship. These efforts are resulting in enhancing the capacity of workforce and reducing unemployment rates in Pakistan, he added.
Moreover, he said, it not only helps to contribute to the better life and wellness of returning migrants but also achieve the Agenda 2030 as well as Sustainable Development Goals.
He explained several Pakistanis migrate abroad to work, but at some point, in their lives, they return to the country and struggle to re-establish themselves and make a respectable living. Furthermore, the COVID-19 pandemic impacted Pakistanis living in other countries, resulting in huge layoffs and the return and repatriation of tens of thousands of migrants from their intended destinations. When they return, they are very concerned about their job prospects. In these times of trial, the PGFRC is the platform for these returnees to seek guidance and support, he maintained.