Return Migration and Occupational Change: The Case of Pakistani Migrants Returned from the Middle East

Publication Year : 1997

This paper examines the factors affecting occupational composition of Pakistani workers upon their return from Middle East employment by using the 1986 ILO/ARTEP Survey of Return Migrant Households. In view of the concentration of workers in lowstatus occupations prior to migration, there was a great incentive for them to change these occupations after return. The study shows that the economic resources gained from overseas employment gave migrants the strength to seek independent employment, and there was a clear move out of the production-service occupations into business and agriculture occupations. This movement was strongly related to migrants’ length of stay in the Middle East. Since the occupational structure of the general population remained almost unchanged in the 1970s and 1980s, the employment trends exhibited by return migrants could largely be attributed to overseas migration. However, the study shows that businesses and farms established by migrant workers were small-scale.