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Pakistan makes the global top 10 in two ways — it has one of the largest diasporas in the world and second, it is a top source country of new immigrants to Canada. A large number of highly-skilled Pakistani professionals are making their way to Canada especially through its Express Entry Program.

These Pakistanis are an instrumental part of Canadian society as acknowledged by Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney who recently said, “Pakistani-Canadians play an important role in Canada. We are seeing more and more newcomers arriving from Pakistan.”

Many have made their move through the Middle East that is actually host to the largest number of Pakistani migrants, but who are usually seen as a temporary immigrants due to the lack of access to Gulf passports.

In fact, the Middle East serves as a stepping stone for applying to Canada for a variety of reasons. Firstly, the higher salaries help achieve the minimum bank requirement for the Canadian application. Second, Gulf immigrants usually have gone through some document verification already.

“My motivation for moving to Canada has been to get a better life with a permanence factor that is not available to expats (in the Gulf),” says Ammar Ahmed Sheikh, Director of Acepro Consulting Group, bringing to light the third reason why it is easier to move from the Middle East, which is after living as a temporary resident most start yearning for a more permanent solution.

This has resulted in a collective Pakistani experience of going through this process that leaves everyone more informed.

And while there have been some who have moved from Pakistan, it has been a mixed bag of experiences for them.

“I think any move is hard especially from your home country,” says Neha Arif Riar, Head of HR at Reckitt Canada. “Because you’re leaving family, aging parents and the comfort of your homes. If Reckitt was not able to transfer me, getting a job in Canada would have been tough because Canadians usually prefer local experience and it takes a while.

“I have a lot of friends who worked at multinationals in Pakistan but were unable to get a transfer. They’re either taking a step down in their careers or are still searching.”

So what has motivated scores of skilled Pakistanis to make the move?

The main reason — the passport and the opportunities associated with it. According to the The Henley Passport Index, Canada is in the seventh most-coveted group in the world.

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