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Pakistan brain drain accelerates in latest threat to ailing economy

Experts warn of talent erosion after nearly 1m workers left in 2022

The departures area at Islamabad International Airport: The dire state of Pakistan's economy and growing concerns about security are pushing citizens to the exit.   © Reuters

ISLAMABAD -- Hundreds of thousands of Pakistanis are leaving for jobs abroad amid the country's financial and security woes -- a brain drain that threatens to further damage the struggling economy.

Figures from the Bureau of Emigration and Overseas Employment show that 832,339 Pakistanis went overseas for work in 2022, the most since 2016 and the third-highest tally on record. Saudi Arabia was the most preferred destination, attracting 514,909.

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