Pakistan plans to use social media for safe migration drive

The country’s first-ever Migrant Resource Center (MRC) in the capital has planned to launch a massive social media campaign in the month of December to educate the intending migrants about safe and legal migration.

“MRC has planned to utilize the social media forum for promoting awareness about safe and legal migration as well as risks and consequences of irregular migration to prevent the intending migrants from any untoward situation at their destination country”, Coordinator MRC Shahid Naveed said while talking to media on Monday.

The MRC, through its two offices each in Islamabad and Lahore, has facilitated around 95,000 potential and outgoing migrants since its inception in the year 2016 through providing them counselling services on safe and legal migration.

“The MRC has provided guidance to the beneficiaries about overseas employment, rights and protection of migrants, skill development and vocational training programmes and access to an education system in other countries,” he said.

The MRC offices were established in Islamabad and Lahore with the joint efforts of Ministry of Overseas Pakistanis and Human Resource Development and International Center for Migration Policy Development.

He said that the MRC was created to raise awareness of the risks and consequences of irregular migration and provide accurate and timely information on safe and legal migration, referral and counselling.

The centre has provided counselling services to walk-in clients and through telephone, social media, pre-departure orientation at protectorate office and exhibitions.

Shahid Naveed said the problems which most of the migrant workers face abroad are malpractices including high cost and fees, misrepresentations, failure to meet placement obligations and contract substitutions by licensed agencies and employer in the destinations countries.

Most of the migrants face all these issues due to lack of knowledge about the rules and laws of migration and destination countries while agents take advantage of this situation just for the sake of money, he observed.

He said the intending migrants most of the time adopt shortcuts and easy ways to reach other countries for earning money without knowing the consequences and bear financial and physical losses.

Those who reach their destination countries through illegal procedures suffer from a lot of problems including low wages, long duty hours, low living conditions and threats of legal action.

He said, around 9873039 migrant workers proceeded to different countries from the year 1971 till 2017 (up to June) while 262119 migrant workers proceeded during the year 2017 (up to June) abroad.

Shahid Naveed said these migrant workers have earned huge remittances which have proved to be a great asset for the country’s economy. “We through MRC are trying to promote legal migration for facilitating these workers and ultimately improving country’s image”, he added.