Pakistan is not a signatory of the 1951 Convention on the Status of Refugees nor its 1967 Protocol. Additionally, there is no legal framework for integration of PoCs. 20% of Pakistan’s refugee population resides in Balochistan, with 68% living in urban and semi urban areas and 32% residing in 54 villages. Overall, the country has 1.4 million registered Afghan refugees, with 50% of the PoC population under the age of 15 and the government has initiated a repatriation program that assists PoCs in reintegrating into Afghanistan. PoCs cannot own property that requires registration such as housing or vehicles and many are registered under the name of nationals, which leads to instability as no legal action can be taken to ensure ownership. Additionally, refugees are forbidden from obtaining driving licences or SIM cards, however Afghan refugees are permitted to open bank accounts. While refugees can not work legally in the formal sector, employment options do exist in the informal sector, including with privately owned companies.
Construction and agriculture are the two main sectors employing PoCs, however the industries are considered low-end and unskilled markets, with low wages. As there are limited resources and infrastructure, programs that don’t assist both PoCs and host communities tends to lead to conflict (ILO).
Within Balochistan, two main markets were identified as the strongest industries with opportunity for growth; construction and agriculture, with the latter having the strongest potential. An estimated 5.2 billion USD is spent each year in Pakistan on construction, 2% of the country’s GDP, with a monthly growth rate of 10%. The rising rate of urbanization paired with an apparent skill deficit among construction workers opens up the market to opportunities for any individual equipped with the necessary skills to meet the markets demands, which is set to grow based on Pakistan’s hope to engage development grants from various foreign investors. A few skills based opportunities for the construction industry as specified in the ILO’s market analysis of Pakistan include: white washer and painters, tile workers, carpenters, plumbers, electricians and RCC fillers (ILO).
3,500 beneficiaries from Refugee and host communities