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Most popular ways to immigrate to Canada from Pakistan

In 2023, Canada aims to welcome 465,000 new permanent residents. By 2025, this target is increased to 500,000. Pakistan is one of the top source countries of new immigrants to Canada, which is currently home to over 300,000 Pakistani people. The largest share of Pakistani people live in Ontario, especially in Toronto, Mississauga and Milton.

Pakistan remains in the top ten source countries of new immigrants to Canada. Between 2016 and 2021, the number of Canadian immigrants born in Pakistan grew from 202,260 to 234,110, almost 32,000 people. Further, in 2022, about 6,400 Pakistani students came to Canada to study.

The best way to immigrate to Canada depends on your individual situation and your goals, so it is important to know your options and determine which pathway you are most eligible for to optimize your chances of successful immigration.

Federal Skilled Worker Program

The most popular way to immigrate to Canada is through economic immigration, which has over 100 available immigration pathways. One of these pathways is the Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP). The program allows candidates with work experience to apply for permanent residence, even if they do not have a job offer in Canada or have any connection to Canada.

The FSWP targets foreign skilled workers who would be successful in Canada thanks to their foreign work experience, education and language ability. In order to eligible for the program, candidates must have:

  • One year of continuous full-time or equivalent paid work experience in the past 10 years in a skilled occupation classified under the National Occupational Classification (NOC) TEER category 0, 1, 2, or 3;
  • Validated language ability equivalent to Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) 7 in English or French across all abilities (reading, writing, listening, and speaking); and
  • A Canadian educational credential (certificate, diploma, or degree) or foreign credential and Educational Credential Assessment (ECA) report.
  • At least 67 points on IRCC’s six immigration selection factors.
  • Enough money for you and your family to settle in Canada.

The FSWP Is one of the three programs managed under Express Entry, which is the Canadian government’s application system. The other programs include the Canadian Experience Class and the Federal Skilled Trades Program.

Once an applicant has submitted an Express Entry profile, they will be ranked based on the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS). The CRS will give you a score out of 600 based on individual factors, including age, education, work experience and language skills. Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) will then send out invitations to apply (ITA) for permanent residence to the highest scoring candidates.

IRCC has also recently introduced new category-based draw selection for Express Entry candidates. Candidates can be eligible under the new draw categories if they have a strong French language proficiency or have work experience in the follow areas:

  • Healthcare
  • STEM professions
  • Trades, such as carpenters, plumbers and contractors
  • Transport
  • Agriculture and agri-food

On June 28th, IRCC held its first ever category-based draw, inviting 500 healthcare workers to apply for permanent residency.

Provincial Nominee Program

The Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) is another popular option for candidates from Pakistan. The PNP allows each province and territory (except for Nunavut and Quebec) to design their own immigration pathways based on their labour market and economic and demographic needs.

Provinces and territories will nominate foreign skilled workers for immigration to their provinces through the PNP. Each province has their own eligibility criteria that a candidate would be required to meet in order to be nominated.

Candidates may apply directly to the province, however, candidates who are also in the Express Entry pool can be invited to apply for nomination by a province. If a candidate is nominated through Express Entry, they receive an additional 600 CRS points, which essentially guarantees an ITA for permanent residence in an upcoming draw.

Work permits

In order to work in Canada, a foreign worker usually needs a work permit. Canadian work permits are divided into two programs: the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TWFP) and the International Mobility Program (IMP). The main difference between the two is that the TWFP requires a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA), whereas the IMP do not.

The LMIA is the employer’s responsibility, and it demonstrates to the Canadian government that hiring a foreign worker will have a neutral or positive effect on the Canadian labour market.

In most cases, a job offer from a Canadian employer is required to apply for a work permit. However, there are some situations where IRCC allows for open work permits, which are not employer specific.

Study in Canada

Canada is a very popular destination for international students, due to its high quality and affordability of education, the opportunity to work while studying and the permanent residency pathways that are available to international students upon graduation.

Data from IRCC shows Canada welcomed a record 551,405 international students from 184 countries in 2022. In addition, at of the end of 2022, there were 807,750 international students holding valid study permits, another all-time high.

In order to study in Canada, you must first be accepted to a Canadian school. Once you get your letter of acceptance, you then apply for your study permit.

There are more than 1,500 Designated Learning Institutions in Canada that accept international students. After graduation, international students may be eligible to stay in Canada for up to three years (depending on the length of the study program) with a Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP).

In addition, Canadian education can put you at an advantage when applying for permanent residence, as many federal and provincial immigration programs value candidates with Canadian education and work experience.

There are many immigration options available to you if you are originally from Pakistan and want to settle in Canada. It is recommended to consult with an experienced immigration lawyer that will explain the programs available and guide you through the application process.


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