From Pakistan to Canada: A Guide to Immigration Opportunities

Published on: August 31st, 2023
Last updated: February 28th, 2024

Every year more than 200.000 Pakistanis arrive to Canada. With so many opportunities to work, study, and live in Canada, it’s not a surprise why so many decide to make the move. Discover the top five pathways to a brighter future in the vibrant land of Canada, where opportunity and promise await Pakistanis.


Canada has always been seen as a place of hope for people looking for better opportunities. For many people from Pakistan, it’s like a land full of promises. Canada is well-known for its good quality of life, diverse culture, and strong economy, and that’s why many people want to move there. In this article, we’ll talk about the five best ways for Pakistanis to start a new life in Canada. Whether you want to study, work, or be with your family, Canada has different choices for you.

1. Studying in Canada as a Pakistani

For Pakistanis aspiring to pursue higher education in Canada, the first step is obtaining a study permit. This permit is essential for those planning to stay in Canada for more than six months. All documents submitted as part of the application, including those not in English or French, must be accurately translated and certified.

There are multiple benefits to studying in Canada, such as practicing English and/or French, residing in and enjoying Canadian cities, as well as having the opportunity to work legally. Additionally, you can obtain an open work permit for your spouse.

Moreover, after graduating from a Designated Learning Institution (DLI) in Canada, Pakistanis can apply for a Post-Graduate Work Permit (PGWP). This allows graduates from programs with a duration longer of 8 months, to apply for an open work permit. This will allow you to to gain work experience in your field and is essential for those aiming to become permanent residents through the Canadian Experience Class (CEC) stream of the Express Entry program.

One of the options for Pakistanis wanting to study in Canada is taking the Student Direct Stream (SDS). This stream offers you expedited processing of study permit applications for those residing in Pakistan. This stream commits to processing student permits within 20 calendar days. This make it an attractive choice for those seeking a fast-track to Canadian education.

2. Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP)

The Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) plays a vital role in addressing labour shortages in Canada. It allows Canadian employers to hire foreign nationals temporarily. However, there’s a critical requirement: employers must obtain a Labor Market Impact Assessment (LMIA). Demonstrating their inability to find a Canadian citizen or permanent resident for the position is part of this process. Only then can they officially hire a foreign national. After that, they can apply for a Canadian work permit or permanent residence.

The TFWP covers various streams, including high-wage workers, low-wage workers, the Global Talent Stream, foreign agricultural workers, in-home caregivers, and foreign academics. Some streams exempt employers from requiring an LMIA, and some of them fall under the International Mobility Program.

3. Express Entry for Permanent Residency in Canada

In contrast, Canada’s Express Entry system offers a streamlined pathway to permanent residency, often processing applications in as little as six months. The system awards points based on various factors, including work experience, education, language skills, and adaptability. Candidates with the highest scores receive Invitations to Apply (ITAs) for permanent residency.

For Pakistanis interested in Express Entry, three primary programs are worth considering:

Federal Skilled Worker (FSW) Class: This program is designed for those with experience in designated professions. Points are awarded based on skilled work experience, language proficiency, education, and other factors. ITAs are issued to candidates with the highest scores.

Federal Skilled Trades (FST): FST is for skilled tradespeople who meet specific criteria, including work experience and language skills. Education requirements are flexible, and having an Educational Credential Assessment (ECA) also give points.

Canadian Experience Class (CEC): CEC is ideal for candidates with Canadian work experience. Also Pakistanis earn points warded for various factors, including language skills, education, and adaptability. It’s one of the fastest routes to Canadian permanent residency.


4. Provincial Nominee Program

Canada’s Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPs) provide a pathway to permanent residency for Pakistanis interested in immigrating to specific provinces or territories. Each province and territory has its own PNP streams designed to meet its unique needs. Each of the have different eligibility criteria and application procedures.

PNPs are categorized into several streams, including international student streams, Express Entry streams, semi-skilled streams, and entrepreneur/business streams. Candidates nominated by a province or territory can apply for permanent residency at the federal level.

5. Family Sponsorship of a Pakistani in Canada

Family Class immigration programs aim to reunite families in Canada. Pakistanis who are now Canadian citizens or permanent residents can sponsor their relatives. This include spouses, common-law partners, dependent children, and their dependents to become permanent residents of Canada. Two sponsorship options exist:

In-Canada Sponsorship: If the sponsored Pakistani national is already in Canada with valid temporary resident status, sponsorship can occur from within Canada. In such cases, the sponsored individual may also apply for an Open Work Permit, allowing them to work for any employer in Canada.

Overseas/Outland Sponsorship: This option is for Pakistani nationals residing outside of Canada. The sponsorship application must be submitted to the visa office in the country of origin or the country where the individual has legally resided for at least one year.

Navigation Cultural differences

Sponsorship programs for Pakistanis may come with a few challenges. Firstly, there is the issue of ‘Marriages of Convenience’. In Pakistan, some marriages have historically been for convenience rather than a lifelong commitment. The immigration authorities may conduct interviews to determine if the relationship is genuine. To improve your chances of approval, you must show that your relationship is real and not just for temporary benefits.

Secondly, there are ‘Arranged Marriages’. While the Canadian immigration authorities understand the tradition of arranged marriages, they still want to ensure the commitment is genuine and intended for a long-term partnership. It’s important to demonstrate this commitment during interviews.

Another consideration is ‘Polygamy.’ While polygamy is legal in some religious sects in Pakistan, Canada does not allow it. Both the sponsor and the Pakistani applicant cannot have more than one partner.

Lastly, there are ‘Underage Marriages’. In Pakistan, brides can be under 18 according to Islamic Sharia Law, but Canada does not recognize child marriages. Therefore, since 2015, the immigration authorities require any Pakistani national being sponsored to be at least 18 years old when the application is submitted.

For couples planning to marry in Pakistan, while there are traditional cultural ceremonies, the ‘nikaah’ (official marriage contract) is the only recognized for immigration purposes.

Multiple Immigration Options for Pakistanis

Canada provides many chances for people from Pakistan who want to reside in Canada. Whether you want to study, work, or be with your family, there’s a way for you. It’s important to learn about the specific requirements for each pathway because each profile and situation is different.

Understanding exactly what’s needed for the way you choose is crucial. You can get help from immigration experts who can lead you and make sure you follow the right steps. They can help make your dream of coming to Canada come true.


Are you ready to embark on your Canadian journey? Contact us to explore the best immigration options tailored to your needs and aspirations.


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