March 31, 2011

Effective immediately, Pakistan has revised its immigration policy so that it is no longer possible for foreign national employees to arrive in Pakistan for work purposes using a business visa.  Instead, a work visa must be obtained from the Pakistan diplomatic post in the applicant’s country of residence or nationality.  Additionally, a Business Visa List of 66 countries authorized to obtain business visas valid for five years has been created.

Work Visas 

Work visas are issued by Pakistani diplomatic missions (Embassies and Consulates) abroad on the recommendation of the Board of Investment (BOI) and the Ministry of the Interior, and are valid for one year with multiple entries.  Work visas can be extended if assignments are extended.

What’s Changed? 

Previously, it was possible to arrive in Pakistan with a business visa and convert to work visa post arrival, and this was the route that many foreign national employees took, in order to arrive in the country more expeditiously.  The change will increase average processing time, although at this stage it is hard to say how much additional time will be needed – processing time for the work visa is likely to vary depending on the consulate.

Business Visa List 

Additionally, a Business Visa List of 66 countries authorized to obtain business visas valid for five years has been created.  Duration of each stay must be no longer than three months.  In order to obtain the five year visa, the applicant must provide a recommendation letter from the Chamber of Commerce and Industry in their home country; or an invitation letter from the Pakistani entity, authenticated by the relevant trade organization/association in Pakistan; or a recommendation letter from the Honorary Investment Consul or Commercial Attaché at the Pakistani diplomatic mission abroad.  The 66 countries are as follows:

Argentina Iceland Poland
Australia Indonesia Portugal
Austria Iran Qatar
Azerbaijan Ireland Romania
Bahrain Italy Russia
Belgium Japan Saudi Arabia
Bosnia Jordan Singapore
Brazil Kazakhstan Slovak Republic
Brunei Kuwait Slovenia
Canada Latvia South Africa
Chile Lithuania South Korea
China Luxembourg Spain
Cyprus Malaysia Sweden
Czech Republic Malta Switzerland
Denmark Mauritius Thailand
 Egypt Mexico Turkey
Estonia Morocco Turkmenistan
Finland Netherlands U.K.
France New Zealand U.S.A.
Germany Norway U.A.E.
Greece Oman Ukraine
Hungary Philippines Vietnam

 

ACTION ITEMS FOR EMPLOYERS

Note that  conversion from business visa to work visa status post arrival in Pakistan is no longer possible.
Note that five year business visas (with duration of stay for 3 months per stay) may be issued for 66 nationalities, provideed the relevant supporting documentation can be submitted.

 Caveat Lector | Warning to Reader

This is provided as informational only and does not substitute for actual legal advice based on the specific circumstances of a matter. Readers are reminded that Immigration laws are fluid and can change a moment’s notice without any warning. Please reach out to your local Pro-Link GLOBAL specialist should you require any additional clarification.  Pro-Link GLOBAL worked with our PLG | KGNM correspondent office in Pakistan to provide this GLOBAL Brief to you.