UAE: Remit money and get discounts on air tickets, extra luggage charges

State Bank of Pakistan has introduced several initiatives to encourage overseas Pakistanis to remit money through legal channels


Waheed Abbas

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Published: Sat 11 Nov 2023, 6:00 AM

Last updated: Mon 13 Nov 2023, 3:17 PM

Pakistani expatriates in the UAE have been asked to use official channels to remit funds to their home country and win rewards which could be redeemed in the form of airline ticket discounts, paying fees for extra luggage and renewal of passport.

State Bank of Pakistan has introduced several initiatives to encourage overseas Pakistanis to remit money through legal channels.

Roshan Digital Account is one such very popular initiative amongst overseas Pakistanis. Then there is the Sohni Dharti initiative, which is a point-based loyalty scheme for remitters who work abroad and send money to their loved ones in Pakistan through banking channels or exchange companies.

“We have Roshan Digital Account and then Sohni Dharti programmes. People can redeem points earned through the Sohni Dharti programme for passport and Nadra card renewals, pay customs duty, buy PIA tickets, and get extra baggage allowance among others. Such initiative will discourage the hundi/hawala system (an informal channel to send remittances),” said Faisal Niaz Tirmizi, Ambassador of Pakistan to the UAE.

He said the UAE is an important market in terms of remittances as it is home to the second largest diaspora after Saudi Arabia.

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The UAE is home to around 1.7 million Pakistani diaspora, remitting billions of dirhams every year. Total workers’ remittances to Pakistan reached $2.2 billion in September 2023, mainly sourced from Saudi Arabia ($538.2 million), UAE ($400 million), UK ($311.1 million) and US ($263.4 million).

Faisal Niaz Tirmizi, Ambassador of Pakistan to the UAE, sees a strong potential to substantially increase remittances.

Through the Sohni Dharti mobile phone app, which is available in English and Urdu, remitters can track and update every remittance they send and see reward points, which can be redeemed for free-of-cost services at multiple public service entities.

Here are the rewards for remitting funds legally

  • PIA tickets
  • Extra luggage charges
  • Duty payment of imported mobiles and vehicles
  • Renewal fees of CNIC and NICOP
  • Life insurance and Takaful premium payment
  • School fees at overseas foundation schools
  • Utility stores purchases
  • Renewal fees of passport

Remitters will earn reward points based on a certain percentage of every remittance one sends. There are four rewarding tiers – Green, Gold, Platinum and Diamond.

Category Annual remittance Reward (% of

(in 1 year)* (remittance amount)**

Green Up to $10k 1.0

Gold From 10K to $30K 1.25

Platinum From $30K to $50K 1.50

Diamond More than $50K 1.75

*Fiscal year July to June

**Equal PKR amount of remittances


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