Immigration to Pakistan
Living and Working in Pakistan
Islamic Republic of Pakistan, commonly popular as Pakistan, is a county in South Asia. This is the world’s fifth most populous country with a population of 2.32 million and has the world’s second largest Muslim population after Indonesia. Pakistan has coastline along the Arabian Sea and Gulf of Oman in the South and shares border with India to the east, Afghanistan to the west, Iran to the southwest and China to the Northeast. Islamabad is the capital city of Pakistan; While Karachi is its financial centre and the largest city.
Pakistan’s rich cultures includes the 8,500-year-old Neolithic site in Balochistan, ruins of Mohenjo-Daro in the Indus Valley (Harappan) civilization of the Bronze age, ancient Gandhara civilization, etc. Today’s modern Pakistan has seen multiple empires and dynasties in ancient times like Achaemenid (Persian Empire), briefly that of Alexander the Great, the Gupta, the Maurya, The Mughals, the Durranis, The Omani Empire, the Sikh Empire, British Empire, etc. Pakistan is famous for its beautiful pottery, cloth printing (ajrakh) and mosaics.
Pakistan is known for its friendly people, rich history, delicious delicacies like Biryani and Kababs, favorable weather, lush green nature, adventure travel all possible in a very affordable budget. Over a million foreign tourists visit Pakistan, because they love and enjoy the tasty cuisine and the goodness of this land. They are also surprised by the unique blend of people and cultures and also the scenic beauty including valleys, highest mountains, snow lake, unexplored beaches of Balochistan and many more. For Adventure lovers, Pakistan is a haven with all possible activities like Glacier Trekking, Scuba Diving, Skiing, Snorkeling, Canoeing, River Rafting, Parasailing etc. just to name a few.
Almost 96% population are Muslims who are generally loyal to their culture, religious beliefs and friends. Job in Pakistan are mostly available at shops, cafes, bars and other small business. People speak the common languages like Urdu, English and Sindhi. There are many international companies operating here which gives employment opportunity to foreigners and expats. In the past, Pakistan has been struggling with violence and terrorism and even foreigners were targeted, however, currently the situation is stabilized and the Pakistan’s military has a tight hold on the country to maintain peace and order. There are some unpleasant events such as car accidents, kidnapping, petty crimes etc. mainly due to its heavy population. So if you a visitor in Pakistan it is suggested to be ever cautious while roaming on the streets of Pakistan.
In spite of being top in the news for terrorism, earthquakes and floods, Pakistan has become popular with foreign tourists because of its breathtaking scenic beauty and ancient sites. Millions of Visitors and Tourist visit each year from different parts of the world especially from the UK, US, China and India. Travelling to Pakistan is possible by Air, Water and Land from major world locations. Pakistan issues visas to Indians only to visit relatives, families or for any other legitimate reasons.
There are twelve international airports which operates flights to major cities around the world. The three major international airports are Allama Iqbal International Airport, Islamabad Benazir Bhutto International Airport and the Karachi Jinnah International Airport. PIA or Pakistan International Airlines is the official and the biggest airliner of the country. It servers around 25 international destinations across Asia, Middle East, North America and Europe. PIA has direct flights from London, Manchester and Birmingham. Etihad, Emirates, Gulf Air and Kuwait Airways has indirect flights to Pakistan. There are no direct flights from India to Pakistan and vice versa, passengers have to take a flight to a third country to travel to the neighboring country.
By Land or Rail:
There is a Train service from Pakistan to Zahedan in Iran. However, it is advisable to check from the government travel agency if foreigners are permitted to travel.
The Wagah Border is an army outpost on Indo-Pak border. It is located 24 km from Lahore, Pakistan and 32 Km from Amritsar, India. Its Indian name is Attari and is the only crossing point open to foreigners to travel by land between Pakistan and India. There is a train service from Lahore to Delhi through Wagah, however currently is not in operation since December’2022.
The China-Pakistan border is known as the Khunjerab Pass. It is the highest paved international border crossing in the world located 4,693 meters high in the Karakoram mountains. The border is closed on weekends, on Chinese/Pakistanis holidays and also in winter when its covered with snow especially from November to March. There are shuttle buses offered by NATCO and Hunza-Xinjiang Trading Company between Taskurgan in China and Sost in Pakistan, which is a 6-hour drive. Travellers with own vehicles will cross with the convey of buses.
There are no open border crossing to Pakistan from Afghanistan and Tajikistan.
Pakistan has many sea ports used for commercial and military ships. There are no passenger’s ships or ferries to and from Pakistan.
To find out how to travel within Pakistan, please visit: worldnomads.com
How to immigrate to Pakistan
Immigration to Pakistan is a legal entry and settlement of foreign nationals. Immigration policy is managed by the Interior Minister of Pakistan through the Directorate General Passports. However, most of the immigrants are not eligible for citizenship or permanent residency unless they are married to a Pakistani resident or a person who has invested PKR 5 million in the Pakistani economy. The largest numbers of immigrant in this country are from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, India, Sri Lanka, Myanmar and UK. Others are Armenians, Australians, Iranians, Turks, Iraqis, Chinese, Americans, Egyptians, Palestinians, Syria, Kuwaiti, Libya, Saudi Arabia and Yemeni.
For your visit to Pakistan you need a valid passport and a visa, unless you come from a visa free country. Obtaining a visa is imperative whether you are moving for work as an expatriate. There are several different visa categories available like work visa, student visa and journalist visa. Depending on your purpose, for visa there are different requirements and restrictions apply.
Also to leave Pakistan, foreigners require are valid visa or boarding will not be permitted. If the visa is expired, there is a chance to get an exit visa, issued by the Ministry of Interior, although this is given after paying a hefty fine.
For more information please visit: en.wikipedia.org and www.internations.org, http://www.dgip.gov.pk/Files/Visa%20Categories.aspx
Citizens and nationals of Pakistan are called Pakistanis. There have been many immigrants, expats, refugees and tourists who brought their culture here thus making it a multicultural nation with several foreign languages, cultural and religious beliefs. Most of the population is Indian while others are from foreign origin, like Arab, Palestine, Afghanis and Tajikis. Being a Muslim country, they have modest clothing etiquettes. Covering legs and shoulders is considered as a good clothing sense unlike many countries. These people are considered as being superstitious and mystical and appreciate art. Also they are considered as one of the most conservative people in South Asia. Pakistanis wholeheartedly follow Muslim values and have very strict for blasphemy. Social conduct has a prominent position in their lives. Their traditional culture promotes the need to live in peace and harmony. There are many different varieties of customs, music, food, traditional colorful dresses and art in their culture. They have shown Excellency in Music, Cinema, Theatre, Dance, Literature, etc. Pakistan has produced various gems like Madam Noor Jahan (Singer), Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan Sahab (Singer), Wasim Akram (Cricketer), Imran Khan (Cricketer and Former Prime Minister of Pakistan). They are warm, kind, humble, and respect other people’s privacy. They have a sense of community and equality. Female tourists are not required to cover their heads only local women cover. More than 96% population is Muslim, Christian 2%, Hindu 1%, Ahmedia and others 1 or less than 1%.
Job offers in Pakistan
To work and live in Pakistan legally, a foreign national, needs work permit. Foreign employee must also obtain job offer and fulfill the requirements to apply for the visa.
Work visa types:
- Tourist work visa
- Tourist work visa on arrival
- Family visit
- Business visa
- Business visa on arrival
- Official visa
- Work visa
- Diplomatic visa
- Journalist Visa
- Missionary visa
- Tabligh visa
- Domestic aide visa
- Mountaineering and trekking visa
- Pilgrim Tourism visa
All work visas are granted for one year and can be extended every year by the employee.
Highest paying jobs are:
- Chartered Accountants
Portals to find a Job in Pakistan:
The unemployment rate in Pakistan has reached till 6.2% in the third quarter of the year 2022 due to the deteriorating economic conditions in the Financial Year 2022. There are continuous price increases on essential goods like wheat, petroleum and medicines. Also there is a major fiscal deficit that has impact on the imported goods. The value of Pakistani currency is going down rapidly and this nation is facing difficulties while balancing the inflation. Further, it is assumed that the unemployment rate will go down in the year 2023, 2024 till 6.4% and 8.5% respectively.
The number of employed persons was 71,760 in the year 2022 and this numbers has increased a little more by approx. 2,000, which is now 73,810 in the first quarter of the year 2023. The jobless rate is the share of labor force that is without work but available for and seeking employment. Unemployment rate in this country is growing rapidly due to the deteriorating economic activity, inflation and sinking value of the currency.
For more information, please visit:tradingeconomics.com
Economy of Pakistan
Pakistan is a low income developing country but due to its unstable political scenario the situation has become intense. This country is facing the worst economic crisis in the year 2022-2023. Its economy is the twenty third largest worldwide in GDP based on PPP. GDP rank was 42nd nominal in 2022 and 23rd PPP in the year 2022. Inflation has gone up to 27.3% in August in the year 2022.
Main industries supporting the economy of Pakistan are textiles, apparel, food processing, pharmaceuticals, surgical instruments, construction materials, fertilizers, shrimp, paper products. Goods exported by Pakistan are textiles, food, chemical and pharmaceutical products, leather manufacturers, sports goods, and petroleum. Imported goods are petroleum, agriculture, chemicals, machinery, food, textiles, metals and transport.
Export partners are USA, China, UK, UAE, Germany, Netherlands, Spain, and Italy. Import partners are China, UAE, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, USA, Indonesia, Kuwait, and Japan.
Renting and buying of real estates for foreigners
To take a property on rent is possible in Pakistan. Many expats and immigrants take apartments on rent after arriving in this land. There are many web portals helping visitors get the appropriate and comfortable accommodation.
Sites providing sincere suggestions are
Also taking some practical steps will help you get an affordable place, for instance, compare the property with similar rented places in other areas, analysis of cost with location and amenities, per square foot cost method and getting help from the internet. It is suggested to take legal help while preparing the lease agreements with the owner. Properties near to the main market place or beach will cost you more compared to other normal areas.
Inflation in Pakistan has reached to a height and investing in real estate is considered as a better option by the residents, as a result many of them are taking out their money from financial institutions and spending in buying properties.
- Benefits of investing in real estate:
- Tax savings
- Stable earnings
- Inflation hedging
- Providing employment opportunities, etc.
It is permissible for foreigners to own a land in Pakistan. There are some legal requirements which they have to fulfill. Here are some documents to submit in orders to purchase a property:
- Copy of passport
- Six Passport size photos
- A valid visa
- Photocopy of the owner’s CNIC.
- Form filled by owner and proof of ownership with attested copies
- Foreign employee’s appointment letter with contact details, designation and working hours, etc.
Prices many differ from one city to another, plus different other fees you need to pay after making the contract like the agency fees, notary and lawyer’s fee, registration fee etc.
The climate of Pakistan is temperate and has continental type. The weather and temperature varies according to the location and seasons. In the very high altitude areas, like the mountains, temperature goes till -34°C in winter and in the desert, temperature goes up till 53.5°C in summer season.
Coastal areas are much warm and humid and during the summer, hot wind blows called “Loo” across the plains during the day time. There are four seasons in Pakistan, summer, winter, rainy and spring season. The duration and onset of these seasons may vary a little according to the location. The best time to visit southern part of Pakistan is from November to March, as the weather is much cooler and clear and to visit northern part is from April to October. There are many tourist visiting Pakistan during these months.
Winter: This season starts from December and ends in February. Temperature during this season goes from 35°C to -34°C.
Summer: It starts from June and ends in September. Temperature during this summer goes from 52°C to 3°C.
Spring: This season dwells from the month of March to May. Temperature during this season goes from 53°C to -0.3°C.
Rainy: This season starts from the month of October and ends in the month of November. Temperature in rainy season goes from 44°C to -13°C.
Urdu is official language Pakistan and is spoken by nearly 8% of the total population. Urdu is a compulsory subject in all Urdu and English medium schools. English is the second official language spoken in Pakistan mostly used for inter-communication between different language speaking people. All official business in Pakistan is bilingual. English is used in legislative, judicial and some extent in the officers ranks of the armed forces. Initially the Pakistani’s constitution was written in English and later translated in local language. Along Urdu, English is used extensively as a medium of instruction in Schools, Colleges and Universities.
Other Ethnic languages spoken in Pakistan are:
- Punjabi – 44%
- Pashto – 18.24%
- Sindhi – 14.57%
- Saraiki – 12.19%
- Balochi – 3.02%
- Hindko – 2.24%
- Brahui – 1%
- Burushaski and other – 8%
There are several other languages spoken in Pakistan by tourists, immigrants, visitors as a result this country is considered as a multilingual country. Foreign languages are Persian, Arabic, Bengali and English. Pakistani Sign Language in Urdu is used for communication by the deaf and mute population in Pakistan, plus there are 60 other local languages with approximate million speakers.
Pakistan has a left hand side traffic system. There are sign boards on the roads and has British road sign system with information written in Urdu and English. Road conditions are poor with gravels and potholes. There are people on the roads, not following the traffic rules and drive rashly. Congestion is also a problem increasing rapidly on the streets of Pakistan. Cities like Karachi, Islamabad and Lahore face traffic congestion every day.
It is suggested not to drive at night as it can be risky due to robbers and thieves. Renting a motorcycle and car is possible, even in the areas like Swat and Karakoram Range.
Some useful tips for drivers and riders:
- Go slow
- Be attentive
- Keep bike in good condition
- Don’t pass the blind corners
- Wear helmet or seatbelt
Foreigners can drive in Pakistan with valid International Driving Permit (IDP).
- Motorways – 120 km/h (75 mph)
- Urban residential areas – 40-50 km/h (25-31 mph)
- GT Road – 100 km/h (62 mph)
- Urban arterial roads – 80 km/h (50 mph)
- Some western portion roads and N-5 road – 130 km/h (81 mph)
The Pakistani rupee (PKR) is the official monetary currency of Pakistan. This is issued and controlled by the State Bank of Pakistan. One rupee is subdivided in 100 paise.
Major amounts are calculated in:
- Lakh (Hundred thousands)
- Crore (Ten millions)
- Arab (Billion)
- Kharab (Hundred billion)
The paper currency is available in eight denominations:
Rs.10.00, 20.00, 50.00, 100.00, 500.00 & 1,000.00
Coins are available in the following denominations:
Rs.1.00, 2.00 & 5.00
The bill of Rs.75/- and Rs.5,000/-, plus coins of Rs.10 are nowadays rarely used. Other than Pakistan, rupee is also an unofficial currency of Afghanistan.
Payment methods used in Pakistan are :
- Demand Drafts
- Local Payment Cards
- Credit/Debit Cards, etc.
List of online payment methods in Pakistan:
- Bank Transfer
- Barrier Billing
- Google Pay
- QR Codes
In Pakistan payment methods are changing as the e-commerce business is blooming significantly in recent years. Local people especially youngsters and shopkeepers give preference to online transactions. It also reduces the time of standing in queues in front of central or local bank counters. Although cards or cash payment are widely accepted. Cash is the easiest way to make a payment, especially to the small vendors and shops.
Digital wallets and interbank transfers, as well as the Domestic cards, international credit cards, and debit cards are also used by the expats, immigrants and visitors for payments in Pakistan. Payment system has transformed over the time with the advanced technology. There are many ways to make and receive payments online, PayPal, Paysera, Skrill, BitPay, Boku, Easypaisa, Allied Wallet, UnionPay SecurePay, Swift, OneCard, etc.
Cost of living in Pakistan
Pakistan is an affordable country for immigrants, visitors, tourists and foreign workers, on the Asian Continent. Average living cost in Pakistan also depends upon your lifestyle or your current situation, like whether you are working or a student. Cost of living varies from city to city and also on the numbers of family members. The average monthly expense for a single person is approximately Rs.1,55,300. The approx. monthly expense for four people is Rs.3,73,200.
The cost of food is cheaper compared to housing or dining. Staying in a city with good public transport system, will cost you much lesser. Monthly rent will cost more in the main city than the rent in rural areas. Expense will also be low if you need smaller accommodation, than the bigger one.
Here are some products mentioned below, so that you will get a clear idea of the cost of living in Pakistan:
Amount in (Rupee) (Rs.)
Whole Fat Milk
12 (a dozen)
1 Kg (2 lb.)
500 grams (1 lb)
Fast food meal
8 mbps (1 month)
Public transport ticket
Utilities (heating, gas, electricity)
1 month, 2 people in (900 sqft) flat
Utilities (heating, gas, electricity)
1 month, 1 people in (450 sqft) flat
For more info visit: expatistan.com
Many expats and locals are moving towards big cities for better opportunities and lifestyle. Cities in Pakistan which most attracts people are Karachi, Islamabad and Lahore.
Tourists and visitors mostly take a one-bedroom apartment on rent, which in the city center will cost around as much as a two-bedroom apartment outside the city center or near coastal areas. For short term stays, there are many sites on the internet displaying better accommodation with prices. Also there are boards of “To Let” signs, hanging outside the property, which will also be useful. It is suggested that while having the conversation about the property with the landlord or to the real estate agent, seek help of an Urdu speaking friend or lawyer so that everything will be transparent and clear. Apartments in posh areas like Bahria Town or DHA in Lahore and DHA phase 4, 5, 6 in Karachi has the expensive apartments followed by Islamabad in this country.
- Fully furnished one-bedroom apartment in the city centre is approx. Rs.60,000 per month
- Same apartment, outside city approx. Rs.40,000 per month
- Furnished studio apartment of two to three bedrooms in the city centre approx. Rs.1,10,600 per month
- Same apartment, outside the city approx. Rs.70,000
Pakistan has complex tax system with more than 69 taxes managed by several agencies of the Pakistani Government. Federal Board of Revenue takes care of the Federal Income taxes. Tax year is from 1st July to 30th June in Pakistan. Personal Income tax is levied on several income sources, for instance, dividends, labor, interest and pensions and is collected from every Pakistani resident. Personal Income Tax is an essential income source of the Pakistani Government. Income tax has rate band of 35%. Corporate Tax has 29% rate and Sales tax is 17%. Indirect Tax is also known as Sales Tax in Pakistan.
- Income Tax
- Corporate Tax
- Super Tax
- Minimum Tax
- Tax on Undistributed Reserves
- Sales Tax
Many foreign students come to Pakistan for academic studies every year from different parts of the world. This country is considered as one of the best place in South Asia for higher education options. Prestigious universities in this country attract most of the international students. Pakistan has literacy rate from 82% to 26%, depended on the region. Rawalpindi has the highest literacy rate.
There are 181 best universities in this country from which some are providing education on military and vocational programs. Top most Pakistani cities famous for its universities are Lahore, Karachi, Islamabad, Hyderabad, Peshawar and Faisalabad.
Procedure to get admission in these universities is to obtain a student visa first which takes more than three months to process. Other requirements are:
- Complete Visa Form
- Passport and a photocopy
- Two copies of passport size photograph
- Acceptance letter from the educational institute
- Degrees with photocopies
- Bank statement
- Other relevant documents
Healthcare system in Pakistan is different, depending on various factors. Major cities have sufficient and advanced healthcare system but in rural areas the facilities are very poor. Even in towns, there are very few ambulances and lack of sufficient availability of proper healthcare. Expats in Pakistan choose private healthcare insurance.
Placing an order online for medicines is possible here as there are many websites on the internet:
Some documents will be needed to complete the process of emigrant’s protection for registration:
- Computerized National Identity Card
- Online request to register for Direct Emigrants
- Work contract with the employer
- Welfare fund receipt
- Registration fee receipt
- Fitness report, etc.
Best Private International Medical Insurance for Expats in Pakistan:
- Cigna Global Health
- Allianz Worldwide Health Plan
Jinnah International Airport
Ph: +92 21 99071111
Allama Iqbal International Airport
Airport Road, Cantt, Lahore,
Ph: +92 42 99031000
Faislabad International Airport
Faisalabad Airport, Faisalabad, Punjab,
Ph: +92 41 111 222 114
Islamabad International Airport
New Islamabad, Airport Road,
Islamabad Capital Territory,
Ph: +92 51 95550211,
City Bus Station Lahore
Band Road East,
Sodiwal Sodhiwal, Lahore,
Karachi Bus Station
Sector 4 Gulshan e Ghazi,
Karachi, Karachi City,
High Commission of India
P4C5+RQG, Ramna 5 Diplomatic Enclave,
Islamabad Capital Territory 44000,
Ph: +92 51 2833283,
Embassy of Spain
Ramna 5 Diplomatic Enclave,
Islamabad Capital Territory,
Ph: +92 51 2088777,
Embassy of the People’s Republic of China
P4MP+V8V, 3rd Ave,
Islamabad, Islamabad Capital Territory,
Ph: +92 51 8496178,
Embassy of Qatar
20 Universities Rd,
G-5/4 Diplomatic Enclave,
Islamabad, Islamabad Capital Territory,
Ph: +92 51 2270833
Pakistan is an Islamic country with cultural diversity. Pakistan has a little bit of everything like desert, mountains, beaches, lakes, etc. There are several historical sites and ancient monuments. Bazaars (marketplaces) are full of spices, dry fruits and mouthwatering delicacies. People are welcoming and super friendly, and here you will see a business friendly environment. Immigrants from all over the world visit Pakistan every year to experience its beauty. Taxes are high, economy is deteriorating and inflation is high, as well as terrorism are some of the problems Pakistan is facing nowadays, still expats experience the hospitality innocence from the local people. Pakistan welcomes many international students and provides them affordable education and accommodation. Overall, despite its recent condition, Pakistan is worth visiting and living.
Moving to Pakistan
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Translation of the documents
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