NAYPYIDAW, Myanmar - Almost 10% of the population of Myanmar is now resident overseas.
Migrant workers from the country have hit 5 million, against a resident population of 54 million, according to an official from the Ministry of Labour, Immigration and Population.
In January alone 23,235 workers left Myanmar's shores to take up jobs in other countries, principally in Southeast Asia and the Pacific. 17,400 of them, the majority, went to Thailand.
More than 5,000 headed for Malaysia, while others were bound for Japan, South Korea, Singapore, the UAE, Jordan, Qatar, and Macau.
Like many countries, particularly the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Pakistan and Nepal, the lack of jobs, low wages, and poor working conditions in their bome country, encourage workers, particularly younger ones, to migrate overseas.
While Myanmar has lost nearly 10% of its population, the 5 million workers are effectivekly an export of labor, and by repatriating funds back to their families at home, a valuable source for income.
"Young people are struggling to find jobs in the domestic market. Fewer job opportunities and low pay are making them leave their home country for higher-paying jobs overseas. There is economic disadvantage from loss of young workers," U Myo Aung, the Permanent Secretary of MOLIP was quoted as saying on Friday.
Not all new jobs in January however went to Myanmar nations seeking employment overseas. 27,454 new jobs were created in the country ion January.
Yangon employed 19,082 new workers, Bago Region with 3,432, and Mandalay Region 1,437.
Toi promote jobs at home, the ministry says it is operating an online labour exchange management system.