If you plan on penetrating the Asian market, consider building a remote team in Pakistan. To take your business to even greater heights, you may consider adding foreigners to your Pakistan team. Although possible, however, bringing foreign workers into this country can be intense for foreign employers.
Hiring expatriates in Pakistan without a Pakistan work permit is a violation of labor laws. Perpetrators may get heavy fines which may affect their company’s reputation. Meanwhile, illegal foreign workers may face deportation.
So, before you add foreigners to your ranks, you need to know how to navigate this process legally. This guide will reveal the steps for applying for a work visa, the requirements, and the duration of each type of work visa.
How Work Visa Application Works in Pakistan
The Ministry of Interior in Pakistan works closely with Pakistan Missions overseas to grant eligible applicants work visas. Meanwhile, the Pakistan Board of Investment (BOI) processes visa applications and determines the authenticity of the application. After processing, the BOI will advise the Ministry of Interior on eligible applicants.
Based on the BOI’s recommendations, the Ministry of Interior grants first-time work visas to the Pakistan Mission. Likewise, the Ministry grants Pakistan Missions extension visas based on advice from the Regional Passport Offices. Foreigners wanting to work in Pakistan can convert their business visa to a work visa. This conversion will cost $100.
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Types of Pakistan Work Visas and Permits
Pakistan has two major types of work visas for foreigners. People can apply for a first-time (new visa) or an extension visa. A first-time visa is for individuals who don’t already have a Pakistan visa. On the other hand, the extension visa is for those with a Pakistani visa that may have expired. These individuals hope to renew their visas by applying for an extension.
The two major work visa types have given rise to multiple other categories of work visas in Pakistan. The application method, durability, and Pakistan visa requirements differ. While some may only last for three months, others may last up to five years. Here are the work visas you must know:
- Standard entry work visa
- Entry work visa for the Reko Diq Project
- Standard extension work visa
- Extension work visa for the Reko Diq Project
Validity Period of Pakistan Work Visas
The validity period for work visas in Pakistan varies, depending on the visa type. Knowing the duration of a particular work visa can help you select the ideal option for your employee.
- Entry work visa: This single-entry work visa is often issued to first-timers. Holders of this work visa will be able to work in the country legally for three months.
- Entry work visa (Reko Diq Project): The entry work visa for the Reko Diq Project allows its holders to work legally in Pakistan. The duration of this visa is five years. This multiple-entry visa can also be suitable for first-time entry individuals.
- Extension work visa: A multiple entry visa permits its holder to live and work in Pakistan for up to two years. The extension work visa is for legal aliens working in the country while awaiting renewed work visas.
- Extension work visa (Reko Diq Project): Foreign individuals working on the Reko Diq Project can get a work visa valid for up to three years. The extension work visa is for those wanting to renew their visa on or before it expires.
- Chinese passport holders: Chinese citizens or individuals with a Chinese passport can apply for a work visa. An entry work visa for Chinese passport owners lasts up to two years.
Pakistan Work Visa Requirements
Pakistan has specific rules for foreigners wanting to obtain a work visa. These rules contain specific requirements for employers and their foreign employees. Here are the documents you will need for sponsoring employee relocation in Pakistan:
- A valid international passport
- A passport photograph
- The applicant’s Curriculum Vitae
- Contact details of the employer
- Letter of recommendation
- Company’s letterhead covering letter
- Company’s registration letter
- Employment contract signed by the employer
- Company’s full profile
- Company’s FBR NTN certificate
Besides the general requirements, there are specific requirements for visa application for the Reko Diq Project. These requirements pertain to foreigners moving to Pakistan to work for the Reko Diq Mining Company. Applicants must have the following documents:
- A valid international passport
- A passport photograph
- An invitation letter from Reko Diq Mining Company
- Proof of legal residence
- Proof of holding a valid Pakistani visa (for a visa extension)
Who Needs a Work Visa in Pakistan?
A work visa allows non-nationals of the country and non-citizens to enter the country for employment. Work visas do not apply to Pakistani locals. Individuals from other countries must possess a visa to enter Pakistan legally for work.
Pakistan has specific requirements for those interested in applying for a work visa. A work visa applicant in Pakistan must be a national of a foreign country. More importantly, they must already have an employment contract with a Pakistan-based company. Finally, the applicant must meet all the work visa requirements.
How to Apply for Pakistan Work Visa
Applying for a Pakistan work permit is a three-step process. In addition to applying, your employee must learn to upload documents and photos, use the application, and apply relevant Pakistan immigration terms. Follow these steps when applying for work visas:
1. Choose a Visa Type
This is the first and preliminary step to applying for a Pakistan work permit. Visit the official Pakistan immigration platform for visa application. Search for the visa you want to apply for and view the vital information, including the eligibility requirement on the visa.
2. Prepare the Essential Documents
Applicants must submit certain documents to the officials when applying for a work visa. Make sure the documents are relevant to the visa you want.
Applicants must have a passport photograph, a valid debit or credit card, and all the vital travel documents when applying online.
3. Apply for the Visa
After identifying the work visa you want and preparing the documents, you are ready to apply. This is where the applicant formally requests the Pakistani government to grant them entry into the country for work.
When applying online, applicants must follow these steps:
- Launch the online visa application system by clicking the “Apply Now” button
- Set up a personal account on the system
- After creating an account, log in to the system
- Fill out the form, answer the questions, and complete the application
- Pay the visa fee with a debit or credit card
- Submit your application and wait for a confirmation
Pakistan work permit issuance or renewal is straightforward. If the applicant doesn’t have all the required documents, their application will be put on hold and their documents sent back. When applicants resubmit their documents for processing, the processing time restarts. This implies that the applicant will begin counting down from the resubmission date.
The time it takes to complete the application process varies. It depends on several factors, such as the visa type, the visa entry frequency, and the applicant's location. Here’s the breakdown of the processing time for a Pakistan work permit:
- First-time visa entry (Reko Diq Project): This application takes the shortest possible time. Applicants can complete their visa application within just 24 hours on business days.
- First-time entry: Similar to the first-time entry for the Reko Diq Project, applicants can get their work visa within 48 hours on a business day.
- Visa extension: Visa extension is typically for work visa holders with expired visas. They don’t need to apply for a new visa from scratch. These individuals can request an extension on their current visa, which is processed in four weeks.
- First-time visa application or extension (for Somalia and Afghanistan passport holders): The Pakistani Government ensures that visa holders from certain countries can easily apply for a new visa. Besides first-time visas, natives of Somalia and Afghanistan can also renew their visas to extend their validity period. This visa application takes four weeks to complete. Fortunately, partnering with a seasoned employer of record in Pakistan can help you speed up these processes.
Planning to Hire or Work In Pakistan? Here’s How Skuad Can Help
By now, you probably know that hiring foreign employees in Pakistan can be challenging. While Pakistan possesses the human and material resources to boost productivity, it poses several challenges. From the heavy religious influence on work culture to the cultural differences, foreign employers need help establishing a global team. Rest assured, Skuad can simplify these processes.
Skuad will provide unlimited support to you and your employees applying for a work visa. When you partner with us, we let you hire whoever you want from any country you desire. Once satisfied with your new additions, we will help you manage onboarding, global payment disbursement, and benefits packages for your remote Pakistani team.
When you work with Skuad, you don’t need to set up a local business in Pakistan. Our involvement in this country enables you to commence hiring in record time while complying fully with local legislation. Contact a Skuad expert today to begin your expansion into new markets.
Frequently Asked Questions about Pakistan work permits and visas
How can I get a work permit in Pakistan?
You can get a work permit in this country by applying online. First, visit the online visa application platform to select your visa type. By choosing a visa type, you discover more information on how to carry out the application process. For example, choosing “Work Visa” reveals crucial information such as eligibility requirements, required documents, and visa validity.
After selecting your preferred visa type, use the online application system. You will set up a new user account, log in to the portal, and complete the forms. After adding your details, pay the application fee and submit the application to complete the process.
How much is a work visa for Pakistan?
Pakistan work visa fees are not the same for all applicants. The cost of applying for a work visa in Pakistan depends on various factors. These factors include the entry type, visa subcategory, application type, and applicant’s country.
For instance, a single-entry work visa for an Executive CEO from the US costs $100. A multiple-entry (more than one year) work visa for an artist from the United Kingdom costs $200. To discover the exact visa fee for you, visit the official website of Pakistan’s Ministry of Interior.
How can I apply for a work permit from Pakistan to the USA?
The Employment Authorization Document (EAD) is the U.S. version of a work permit. It is one of the ways foreigners can work legally in the country. To apply for a U.S. work permit, you must fill out an application form for employment authorization. Visit the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service website to get the form. Fill out the form and pay the processing fee of $410. Finally, search the website for the appropriate filing location for your application and send it.
You don’t need to apply for an EAD as a U.S. citizen or a Green Card holder.
Which country gives work permits easily to Pakistanis?
Usually, countries that may easily grant work permits to Pakistanis are likely those that offer free visa entries. Getting a work permit is not always guaranteed in these countries. However, it may be easier to obtain it from the following countries:
- Cook Islands
- Trinidad and Tobago
How long does it take to process a work visa in Pakistan?
The visa processing time depends on factors like the applicant’s country, entry class, and work type. Here are the processing periods for various work visa categories:
- 24 hours: first-time entry for employees under the Reko Diq project
- 48 hours: first-time entry for other employees
- Four weeks: work visa extension
- Four weeks: work visa extension or first-time entry for Somali and Afghanistan citizens
Can Americans work in Pakistan?
The Islamic Republic of Pakistan permits nationals from other countries, especially Americans, to enter the country for work. To be a legal earner in Pakistan, U.S. citizens must have an employment agreement with a Pakistani employer. In addition, they must possess a work visa or permit and a residence permit.