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Showing posts with label Immigration. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Immigration. Show all posts

Canada to announce Immigration Levels Plan 2022-2024 by February

 The Canadian government will provide a major update by February when it announces its Immigration Levels Plan 2022-2024.

The announcement will contain Canada’s immigration targets for this year, and the next two years, as well as the number of new immigrants Canada will seek to welcome under its various economic, family, and humanitarian class programs. It will be the first such announcement since Canada made the surprise announcement in October 2020 it would seek to welcome over 400,000 new immigrants per year moving forward, or about 40,000 more per year than its previous targets.

Under Canada’s main immigration law, the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA), the federal government must make this announcement by November 1st of each year when Parliament is sitting. If Parliament is not sitting, the announcement must be made within 30 sitting days of Parliament reconvening.

The announcement usually occurs by November 1st of each year, but it did not happen in 2021 since the Canadian government dissolved Parliament due to its September election. Following the election, a new session of Parliament began on November 22nd. 

Parliament sat for 20 days before taking a holiday break. It will reconvene on January 31st which means immigration minister Sean Fraser must make the new levels plan announcement by Friday February 11th at the latest. In recent history, the Canadian government has made the announcement by the deadline and has rarely announced it earlier unless the deadline fell on a weekend. If this remains the case this year, the announcement will likely occur in the second half of the week of February 7.

Of note is that the Canadian government will also very likely table a second levels plan this year by November 1st. The Immigration Levels Plan 2023-2025 will be the regularly scheduled announcement, and will go ahead as planned barring the very unlikely scenario the Canadian government decides to hold an election for the second consecutive year.

Under the current Immigration Levels Plan 2021-2023, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) is looking to welcome 411,000 new permanent residents to Canada this year. In 2021, IRCC achieved its goal of landing 401,000 immigrants which is the highest level in Canadian history. IRCC made the target last year amid the challenging pandemic environment by focusing on transitioning temporary residents currently living in Canada to permanent residence.

The current plan aims to welcome 241,500 economic class immigrants to Canada this year through the likes of Express Entry, the Provincial Nominee ProgramQuebec’s programs, among other pathways. This accounts for 59 per cent of Canada’s immigration target.

IRCC is looking to welcome 103,500 family class immigrants through the Spouses, Partners, and Children Program and the Parents and Grandparents Program. This is 26 per cent of IRCC’s immigration target.

The remaining 66,000, or 15 per cent of the newcomer target, will be welcomed to Canada on refugee and humanitarian and compassionate grounds.

These proportions have been sustained since the mid 1990s when the Canadian government decided to focus admissions on economic class arrivals to help alleviate the economic and fiscal challenges arising from Canada’s aging population and low birth rate. This year’s plans are likely to stick closely to these proportions.

What may change, however, is the total number of immigrants Canada chooses to target in the coming years. On the one hand, the Canadian government may be satisfied with their already ambitious targets and decide to keep them as is. This would mean simply continuing to slowly increase annual admissions now that the baseline is over 400,000 immigrants. By way of comparison, the baseline was about 250,000 immigrants annually up until 2016. Another consideration is the Canadian government may want to refrain from significant increases so it can work towards tackling its backlogs which currently stand at 1.8 million permanent and temporary resident applicants waiting in the queue.

On the other hand, Fraser has indicated an openness to increasing the targets even further depending on stakeholder feedback. The minister noted he would listen to the likes of community groups and employers to see whether they have a desire to welcome more immigrants.

One may argue that Canada’s immigration targets are already high, and the government should put the brakes on higher levels for a few reasons. Backlogs need to be contained, communities across the country have housing affordability issues, and historically speaking, welcoming immigrants amid periods of economic downturn has hurt the labour force outcomes of newcomers.

Conversely, proponents of higher levels may argue that Canada needs higher levels to support its post-pandemic economic and fiscal recovery, and that more immigrants are needed to alleviate labour shortages. Higher targets can also be justified on the grounds they may allow IRCC to reduce its backlogs more quickly. In addition, higher targets may be necessary to accommodate the government’s goal of resettling 40,000 Afghan refugees.

What is certain is we will not be guessing for long as the February 11 deadline is just around the corner.

Manitoba holds first PNP draw of 2022

 443 invited in Manitoba's first PNP draw of the year.

Manitoba has started off the year inviting 443 immigration candidates to apply for a provincial nomination.

The Manitoba Provincial Nominee Program (MPNP) invited candidates across three Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPs). Here are the number of invitations issued for each program, plus the minimum score cutoff according to the province’s Expression of Interest (EOI) system:

Among these invitations, 97 were issued to candidates in the Express Entry system.

About Express Entry

Express Entry is Canada’s application management system for three federal high-skilled immigration programs: the Canadian Experience Class, the Federal Skilled Worker Program, and the Federal Skilled Trades Program.

Immigration candidates who submit a profile to the Express Entry system are ranked based on the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS). Points are awarded for factors like age, work experience, education, and language skills among others. The highest-scoring candidates receive invitations to apply for permanent residence through regular Express Entry draws.

It is possible to skip the PNP process and receive a permanent residence invitation by directly applying through Express Entry. However, a provincial nomination means an automatic 600 CRS points, which effectively guarantees candidates will receive an Invitation to Apply (ITA) in a subsequent Express Entry draw.

Manitoba immigration programs

Manitoba manages its immigration programs through the MPNP, which supports immigration applications to the federal government. Canadian provinces do not have the ability to give out permanent residency status, but they can help an application along by issuing provincial nominations.

If you want a nomination from Manitoba, you need to register an Expression of Interest with the MPNP. This puts you in a position to receive an LAA through the Skilled Workers in Manitoba and Skilled Workers Overseas streams.

Manitoba then ranks candidates out of 1,000 points for their human capital factors, as well as their connections to the province.

The Skilled Workers Overseas Category and Skilled Workers in Manitoba categories are designed to allow the province to identify candidates who meet its labour market needs.

Candidates overseas need to demonstrate connections to Manitoba through the likes of close family ties, previous experience in the province, or an invitation through one of Manitoba’s Strategic Recruitment Initiatives. You do not need to be living in Manitoba at the time of your application to be eligible.

In order to receive an invitation under the Skilled Workers in Manitoba category, you need to have a full-time job offer from a provincial employer.

International graduates who complete their education in Manitoba can receive an invitation under the International Education Stream if they can demonstrate that they have in-demand skills.


Ontario holds first PNP draw of 2022

 Candidates from all Employer Job Offer streams were invited in Ontario's first draw of the year.

Ontario invited 1,084 immigration candidates to apply for a provincial nomination on January 11.

The Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program (OINP) issued invitations to candidates who had profiles in its Expression of Interest (EOI) system. These candidates may be eligible for one of three streams under the Employer Job Offer category: Foreign WorkerInternational Student and In-Demand Skills.

Here are the invitation numbers by Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) stream:

  • Employer Job Offer: Foreign Worker stream – 264
  • Employer Job Offer: International Student stream – 762
  • Employer Job Offer: In-Demand Skills stream – 58

Candidates invited under the Employer Job Offer: In-Demand Skills stream had work experience in the National Occupational Codes (NOC) below:

Health and agricultural occupations:

  • NOC 3413 – nurse aides, orderlies and patient service associates
  • NOC 4412 – home support workers and related occupations, excluding housekeepers
  • NOC 8431 – general farm workers
  • NOC 8432 – nursery and greenhouse workers
  • NOC 8611 – harvesting labourers
  • NOC 9462 – industrial butchers and meat cutters, poultry preparers and related workers

Manufacturing (outside the GTA only):

  • NOC 9411 – machine operators, mineral and metal processing
  • NOC 9416 – metalworking and forging machine operators
  • NOC 9417 – machining tool operators
  • NOC 9418 – other metal products machine operators
  • NOC 9421 – chemical plant machine operators
  • NOC 9422 – plastics processing machine operators
  • NOC 9437 – woodworking machine operators
  • NOC 9446 – industrial sewing machine operators
  • NOC 9461 – process control and machine operators, food, beverage and associated products processing
  • NOC 9523 – electronics assemblers, fabricators, inspectors and testers
  • NOC 9526 – mechanical assemblers and inspectors
  • NOC 9536 – industrial painters, coaters and metal finishing process operators
  • NOC 9537 – other products assemblers, finishers and inspectors

Ontario seeking more immigrants

Each year, the federal government allows the provinces provinces and territories that run the PNP to issue a certain number of nominations.

In 2021, Ontario was allowed to nominate 8,350 immigrants. The province got an additional 250 nominations for temporary foreign workers in intermediate skilled occupations, NOC Skill Level C.

By November 10, Ontario had issued 8,600 nominations. The province’s immigration minister, Monte McNaughton, told CIC News in an October interview that the province is asking the federal government to double their allocation in 2022. The province will receive its allocation number from Immigration Canada later this year.


Nearly 80% of Express Entry candidates fall under FSWP

 ANALYSIS: IRCC's snapshot of the Express Entry pool shows most candidates are eligible for FSWP. CEC candidates also increasing due to pause in draws.

The number of Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP) and Canadian Experience Class (CEC) candidates in the Express Entry pool has swelled due to a lack of draws targeting these candidates.

Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) provided CIC News the following breakdown of candidates who were in the Express Entry pool on January 4. These figures come the day before the first Express Entry draw of the year when IRCC invited Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) candidates only.

Out of nearly 194,000 candidates, more than 154,000 were FSWP candidates, about 38,000 were CEC candidates, 577 were Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP) candidates, and the remaining 344 PNP candidates were invited to apply for permanent residence the following day.

Number of Candidates in Express Entry Pool as of January 4, 2022 by Immigration Category (in Persons)

Immigration CategoryNumber of Candidates
Canadian Experience Class Candidates38,223
Provincial/Territorial Nominee Candidates344
Federal Skilled Worker Program Candidates154,421
Federal Skilled Trades Program Candidates577
Grand Total193,565

IRCC has not invited FSWP candidates to apply for permanent residence since the last all-program draw in December, 2020. As a result, about 80% of Express Entry candidates in the pool are eligible for the FSWP. In 2019, FSWP candidates received about 45 per cent of all invitations. Once the pandemic hit in March 2020, Canada only invited CEC and PNP candidates for a few months, then returned to all-program draws that summer.

But in 2021, Canada only invited CEC and PNP candidates. The reason for inviting high numbers of CEC candidates was because the federal government had promised to admit 401,000 newcomers last year, and the strategy was to focus on candidates who were already in Canada. The overwhelming majority of CEC candidates are based in Canada. For the first six months of the year, Canada’s travel restrictions barred non-exempt permanent residents who had been approved outside of Canada after March 2020 from entering the country. The more candidates they invited overseas, the more would be stuck in immigration limbo, unable to complete the landing process and become permanent residents.

Even after restrictions lifted, the PNP and CEC draws continued. In September IRCC stopped holding draws for CEC candidates, and instead only invited PNP candidates every two weeks. An internal memo from the same month suggests that IRCC paused CEC draws to help reduce application backlogs and get Express Entry processing back down to six months. In 2020, the average processing time was up to nine months.

As a result of the pause in CEC draws, the number of CEC-eligible candidates has grown to nearly 20% of the pool.

Compare that to June, when CEC candidates made up 6% of the pool. At that time, IRCC had been holding CEC and PNP draws on the regular. In fact, that month they were drawing 6,000 CEC candidates at a time. It would have been a record had it not been for the February 13 draw when IRCC emptied the pool of CEC candidates.

Number of Candidates in the Express Entry Pool as of June 29, 2021 by Immigration Category (in Persons)

Immigration CategoryNumber of Candidates
Canadian Experience Class Candidates10,529
Provincial/Territorial Nominee Program Candidates366
Federal Skilled Worker Program Candidates153,062
Federal Skilled Trades Candidates644
Grand Total164,601

In six months, the pool has grown for both CEC and FSWP candidates. The fewer FSTP candidates could be due to a number of factors. IRCC has a hierarchy for inviting candidates in the pool who are eligible for more than one program. The hierarchy goes CEC, FSWP, and then FSTP. So, if you are eligible for CEC and FSTP, IRCC will invite you to apply as a CEC candidate, for example. FSTP candidates could have also gotten a provincial nomination and moved to the PNP class.

Also, Express Entry profiles are valid for one year in the pool. If candidates have not been invited in that time they are no longer counted in the pool. People whose Express Entry profiles have expired can re-submit if they want to try again. Since there was no FSTP or FSWP draw in 2021, some of these candidates who submitted profiles in 2020 may have seen their profiles expire.

PNP candidates are usually guaranteed to be invited to apply, since they get a 600-point award for the nomination. IRCC has held PNP-specific draws throughout the pandemic even though these candidates may not necessarily be in Canada. The PNP is designed by provinces and territories to support their immigration objectives, but the federal government gets the final say on who can become a permanent resident. Because of this, the nominating provinces and territories need the federal government to invite PNP candidates so they can meet their regional economic and population growth targets.

What to watch for in 2022

This year, we are expecting Canada to increase immigration levels targets. In the previous Immigration Levels Plan, Canada expected to admit 411,000 newcomers in 2022. Immigration Minister Sean Fraser has to announce the new targets by February 10.

While announcing that the Atlantic Immigration Pilot would become a permanent program in 2022, Fraser said Canada would move back to admitting a mix of immigrants from both in Canada and abroad.

“I anticipate as we go forward we are going to have a healthy mix of people who are here with some experience in Canada now and other employees who may not yet be here that will come to Canada through a program such as the Atlantic Immigration Pilot, as the public health situation allows,” Fraser told reporters.

IRCC has said in a September internal memo that it wants to cut the Express Entry backlog in half in order to meet the processing standard of six months before resuming draws for categories other than the PNP. As of December, the Express Entry backlog was down to about 119,000 people waiting for decisions, compared to October when it was at nearly 138,000.

The decline was driven by CEC applications, which were down to nearly 25,000 applications in December compared to more than 48,000 in October. The FSWP backlog increased to about 55,000 in December, compared to October when it was at nearly 51,000.

In recent months, IRCC has been ramping up processing. Toward the end of 2021 IRCC was finalizing more than 45,000 applications in a month.

Senior IRCC officials met with high-ranking civil servants in November to discuss the Express Entry intake strategy for the months leading into early 2022. We will know what was discussed in this meeting when the information becomes publicly available.

We do not know when IRCC will resume FSWP or CEC draws, but we can get clues from how fast IRCC is processing applications, and the briefing notes from the November 2021 meeting. The updated immigration levels plan will also be telling.

Source Article 

2022 Upcoming Canada Immigration Changes

Due to the unprecedented nature of COVID-19, immigration throughout 2021 continued to experience disruption. Now that we are in 2022, here is a summary of the immigration changes expected to take place this year.

2021-2023 Multi-Year Levels Immigration Plan

The plan for the Canada’s immigration sector in 2022 was set out in a Multi-Year Levels Immigration Plan for the years 2021-2023. It is intended to assist the Canadian economy to recover from the effects of COVID-19.

In 2022, it is expected that the Canadian Government will welcome 411,000 permanent residents.

Approved COVID-19 Vaccines from 30 November 2021

From 30 November 2021, the Public Health Agency of Canada announced that three additional vaccines would be added to the approved COVID-19 Vaccine List for the purposes of travel to and within Canada. The three additional vaccines reflect the World Health Organization’s Emergency Use Listing and are: Sinopharm, Sinovac and COAXIN.

Requirement for Pre-Entry Molecular Test Removed in Specific Circumstances

From 30 November 2021, fully vaccinated individuals who have a right of entry to Canada and depart and re-enter within 72 hours of leaving Canada are not required to present a pre-entry molecular test. This is an exemption that is applicable only for travel that originates in Canada. Individuals must be able to demonstrate that they have only been outside of Canada for 72 hours.

Molecular Tests No Longer Accepted as an Alternative to Vaccination

From 30 November 2021, vaccinations are REQUIRED for travel within and out of Canada. Previously, a valid COVID-19 molecular test was accepted as an alternative to vaccination however this is no longer the case unless travelers can demonstrate they fit a limited exception i.e., medical exemption.

Upcoming Changes to Current Exempt Travelers from 15 January 2022

From 15 January 2022, the Public Health Agency of Canada have announced changes to specific groups of travellers who are currently exempt various entry requirements. The following groups of travellers affected are:

  • Individuals travelling to reunite with family
  • International students who are 18 years or older
  • Professional and amateur athletes
  • Individuals with a valid work permit, including temporary foreign workers (excluding agriculture and food processing)
  • Essential service providers (including truck drivers)

These groups will be required to be fully vaccinated with an approved vaccine to enter Canada.

After 15 January 2022, non-exempt unvaccinated or partially vaccinated foreign nationals will not be permitted to enter Canada. If an individual is unvaccinated or partially vaccinated, they will only be permitted to enter Canada if they qualify under limited exceptions including:

  • Agricultural and food processing workers
  • Marine crew members
  • Individuals entering on compassionate grounds
  • New permanent residents
  • Resettling refugees
  • Some children under the age of 18

If you are an exempt unvaccinated or partially vaccinated person entering Canada, you will continue to be subject to quarantine, testing and other entry requirements.

Upcoming Changes to the National Occupation Classification (NOC)

The NOC is the national system in Canada that is used to classify and describe different occupations. This system is used for immigration purposes. On 21 September 2021, the new NOC 2021 was introduced. This is a revised dataset that seeks to provide updates and improvements to the current NOC system. Although a definitive date is yet to be announced, it is expected that NOC 2021 will be implemented in late 2022.

What are the new changes reflected in NOC 2021?
  • Skill levels are replaced with TEER (Training, Education, Experience and Responsibilities) categories
  • Previously there were 4 skill levels, this has been replaced with 6 TEER categories
  • NOC 2021 now contains 516 occupations compared with the previous 500 occupations

New Migration Consultant Regulation: College of Immigration and Citizenship Consultants

On 23 November 2021, the Minister for Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship announced the official opening of the College of Immigration and Citizenship Consultants, a new regulatory body of immigration and citizenship consultants in Canada. The College oversees the conduct of consultants to ensure that:

  • All paid consultants are licensed to work with Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada by the College
  • Regulation of immigration and citizenship consults under the College of Immigration and Citizenship Consultants Act
  • Powers and tools are used to investigate professional misconduct and take enforcement and disciplinary action
  • Consultants adhere to continuing professional development requirements and an annual practice assessment

The College differs from the previous regulator as it has several new powers and authorities to ensure professional standards and compliance.

When seeking immigration or citizenship advice, you can check whether your consultant is licensed by the College by visiting the College’s website to confirm your consultant appears as a licensee in good standing of the College.

Saskatchewan: Saskatchewan Immigrant Nominee Program (SINP) New Pilot Program

On 25 November 2021, the Government of Saskatchewan announced that the SINP Program would expand to include a new pilot program that is intended to address employment positions difficult to fill throughout the province.

This New Pilot Program is specific to low and entry level positions that are important for the continued operation and growth of various businesses in the sectors. The employment sectors that have the highest need for skilled labour are:

To be eligible to apply for the SINP New Pilot Program you must:

  • Have a full time offer of employment
  • Have SINP job approval letter for an eligible occupation
  • Meet a minimum Canadian Official Language proficiency level
  • Meet the minimum educational and work experience requirements – including a tleast one year of work experience in the same occupation as the job offer OR six months work experience in that job in Saskatchewan

Employers participating in the SINP New Pilot Program must:

  • Demonstrate their efforts to hire domestically prior to participating in the program
  • Demonstrate the need and benefit for their business
  • Fulfil requirements relating to providing settlement support for prospective employees

New Brunswick: New Immigration Stream for International Graduates

From 1 April 2022, the New Brunswick Government will commence a new immigration stream for international graduates alongside the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada body to work to fulfil the labour needs throughout the province.

If you are an INTERNATIONAL STUDENT who has graduated from:

  • Atlantic Business College
  • Eastern College
  • McKenzie College
  • Oulton College

And you have studied in one of the 19 specified occupations you may be eligible to apply for the Provincial Nominee Program (PNP). The PNP allows for visa applicants to live and work in the province and provides a pathway to permanent residency.

Eligible Occupations

Social and Community Service WorkersEarly Childhood Educators and AssistantsEducational AssistantsHealthcare Aides
Home Support WorkersLicensed Practical NursesParamedics and Related OccupationsMedical Laboratory Technologists
Medical Laboratory Technicians and Pathologists’ AssistantsMedical Administrative AssistantsComputer Programmers and Interactive Media DevelopersWeb Designers and Developers
Computer Network TechnicianUser Support TechniciansAccounting Technicians and BookkeepersPayroll Clerks
Shippers and ReceiversSupply Chain and Logistics and SupervisorsProduction Logistics Co-Ordinators

Atlantic Immigration Pilot

From 1 January 2022, the Atlantic Immigration Program officially opened and is accepting applications. This is a new permanent program based on the Atlantic Immigration Pilot that commenced in 2017. This program seeks to attract skilled migrants and address labour shortages throughout the Atlantic provinces. There are a minimum of 6,000 places available to eligible skilled migrants each year.

Interested candidates who have a valid endorsement can submit an application for permanent residence through the Atlantic Immigration Program from 6 March 2022.

Adriana Chipman

Juris Doctor (University of Melbourne)
Adriana is one of our immigration agent assistants. She graduated from the Juris Doctor at the University of Melbourne at the end of 2020. She is currently completing her Graduate Diploma in Practical Legal Training at Leo Cussen Centre for Law in Melbourne, Victoria.

With her experience in volunteering for not-for-profit organisations in addition to conducting legal research, drafting documents, and engaging with clients
Adriana works to assist our team in any and all administration matters relating toimmigration.

Article Source Link

How to open a bank account in Pakistan

 While Pakistan isn’t often counted among the top destinations for expats, more and more people have been migrating there in recent years for its incredible sense of community, rich culture, historical sites, stunning landscape, luxurious shopping and delicious food.

Because of the complicated banking systems that seem pervasive across parts of Asia, many expats struggle to wrap their heads around their finances as they make their move overseas.

In reality though, the process of setting up your banking in Pakistan can be quite simple, and this guide will walk you through everything you need to know about opening an account.

Can I open a bank account in Pakistan as a foreigner?

If you live in Pakistan and have resident status, you should be able to open a bank account at most banks¹. You’ll need to take along valid ID, and any additional documents needed such as proof of residence status, address or income.

Some banks in Pakistan will limit expats to non-resident accounts only². These usually have different terms, such as higher fees and a higher minimum balance.

The process of opening an account should be pretty simple and quick. You’ll need to make an appointment at your nearest bank, and when you go in you’ll be asked to fill out an application form and submit your documents.

If you don’t speak Punjabi or Pashto, you’ll probably find a staff member who speaks perfect English, though you may want to bring a translator with you just in case.

What documents do I need to open a bank account in Pakistan?

The exact documents you need will vary from bank to bank, and it’s a good idea to call ahead to find out what you need so you’re not stuck making multiple trips. Some documents that are fairly universally required include²:

  • Valid passport
  • Proof of address
  • Proof of employment/income
  • Documents proving the origin of the funds for your initial deposit
  • Copy of recent utility bill.

If you’re aiming to open a business bank account, you’ll need a number of additional documents³. This includes proof of business address, company letterhead, company registration information and details of directors and partners in the business.

Can I open a bank account in Pakistan online?⁴

Many of Pakistan’s major banks will let you complete an online application form in order to open a bank account. You’ll need to have your documentation to hand, and access to a scanner or a digital copy so you can upload the required paperwork as part of the online application process.

Others require you to make an appointment at or simply visit a local branch, even for those where the initial application is made online. It’s likely that as an expat, without a Computerised National Identity Card (CNIC), you’ll need to visit a branch in person to verify your identity.

How long does it take to open a bank account in Pakistan?

The time it takes to get your new Pakistani bank account up and running depends on the bank, the type of account you’re opening and perhaps even your residence status too (as more documentation may be required). But usually, it takes around 7 to 15 days³ between submitting your application and the activation of your new bank account.

How to open a bank account in Pakistan from the UK

If you’re planning your big move overseas, it can be useful to get a headstart on processing like opening a bank account while still in the UK.

But the big question is - is it even possible to open a bank account in Pakistan from abroad? Yes, but it depends on the bank.

In some cases, Pakistani banks will permit you to at least start the process of applying online from abroad⁴. You can contact the bank to find out if it’s possible and what you need to do. You can then fill in an application form and send over your documents.

However, it’s likely that the bank will require your physical presence at a branch in Pakistan at some point, whether it’s to verify your identity or request further information. So you might need to factor an extra trip overseas into your plans, or finalise the opening of your account when you arrive on moving day.

Many banks in Pakistan also offer something known as a Roshan Digital Account⁵, which is specially designed for non-resident Pakistanis living in other countries. The account, on offer at MCB Bank, Meezan Bank, UBL, HBL and many other banks, aims to make it quick and easy for people with Pakistani citizenship to open accounts in their home country while abroad. So, if you’re a Pakistani citizen, this could be a good option for you.

Which bank in Pakistan is best for my needs?

What bank you choose will come down to what type of account you need, what services you use most, and which bank is closest to your home or office.

There are a wide range of local and international banks available in Pakistan, including some major players from across the globe like Citibank, Standard Chartered Bank and Deutsche Bank.

Some of the most popular retail banks in Pakistan include:

National Bank of Pakistan

It’s no wonder so many Pakistani residents choose the National Bank of Pakistan (NDP), with over 1,300 convenient ATMs⁶ and even more branches scattered across the country. Some options for National Bank of Pakistan customers include:

  • Current and savings accounts - including the Choice Current Account
  • Online transfers
  • Pay orders
  • Cash cards
  • Advance salaries

Habib Bank Limited

With branches and ATMs across 32 cities and 11 countries⁷, Habib Bank Limited is another popular choice for residents of Pakistan. Habib Bank Limited (HBL) offers the following products and services:

United Bank Limited

United Bank Limited (UBL) is a market leader in banking and financial services in Pakistan, and also has a presence on four different continents. In Pakistan itself, you’ll find over 1,400 UBL branches and ATMs⁸, although the multi-national bank is also leading the charge towards branchless, online-only banking for the convenience of its customers. They offer:

MCB Bank Limited

Founded in 1947, MCB Bank is one of Pakistan’s oldest and largest banks, with over 1,400 branches⁹ in towns and cities across the country. Some of the services MCB Bank offers include:

International banks

If you’re having no luck opening an account at one of Pakistan’s national banks, it could be worth looking into international banks with branches in both your country and Pakistan. For example, Citibank, Standard Chartered Bank or Deutsche Bank.

They may be able to help you open a bank account in Pakistan from the UK, transfer over an account, or at least start the process.

Banking fees in Pakistan

No matter where in the world you’re banking, your account is likely to come with some fees attached. These can be fairly variable depending on the account, and it’s a good idea to check out the fees list at the bank of your choice committing to opening an account there.

Some fees you’ll probably face when banking in Pakistan include ATM fees, account maintenance fees, minimum balance charges and international transfer fees.

ATM fees

Taking out cash at your own bank’s ATM usually won’t incur a fee, but withdrawing funds from another bank’s machine will cost you. While the fees don’t usually exceed around 19 PKR¹⁰ (approx £0.90 GBP) per transaction, they can add up. This is why it’s a good idea to try to use your own bank’s ATM as often as possible.

If you’re using a debit card from your home country in Pakistan, or using a card from your Pakistan bank account abroad, it’s a good idea to keep an eye out for foreign ATM fees. These are usually comprised of a flat fee as dictated by the ATM, plus a percentage of your withdrawal that goes back to your bank. There may also be currency conversion charges, along with a mark-up on the exchange rate.

Standard bank fees

While most routine bank fees have been reduced or even eliminated in recent years, you may still run into:

  • Account maintenance fees
  • Account minimum balance maintenance fees
  • Debit card fees
  • Check cashing fees
  • Transfer fees

These fees vary from bank to bank, and depending on the account you choose. It’s a good idea to check the fees before opening an account, to see how much it could potentially cost you.

Fees for international transfers

International money transfers can be more expensive than advertised, with the charges often buried deep within Schedule of Charges documents. If you need to send money back to the UK or to another country, check these fees out first - then keep a close eye on what you’re spending.

Fees for international transfers are usually made up of a flat rate, a percentage of your transfer, currency conversion fees and a markup on the exchange rate, which may not actually be disclosed.

Save money on international payments with Wise

If you do move money between countries often, it could be a good idea to use Wise rather than a bank - whether in Pakistan or the UK.

Banks all over the world tend to charge high fees for international transfers, along with offering unfavourable exchange rates. It can sometimes take a long time for overseas payments to be processed too. Luckily, there is a better solution available.

Open a Wise multi-currency account and you can send money worldwide for low fees and the real, mid-market exchange rate. There’s no hidden charges, no mark ups and you can hold up to 54 currencies at once, including PKR, GBP, USD, EUR and many more.

You can also get a Wise debit card, which can help you swerve foreign transaction fees when spending and withdrawing cash in other countries. This international debit card has a very clever feature - it automatically converts currency at the real, mid-market exchange rate whenever you spend. There’s only a tiny conversion fee to pay, or it’s free if you already have the currency in your account.

This means that you’ll only need one debit card for great value spending in Pakistan, the UK or wherever you are in the world.

Join Wise today

So, after reading this guide, you should have a better idea of how to open a bank account in Pakistan. We’ve covered all the essentials, from how the process works, the kinds of documents you’ll need and some of the top banks in Pakistan to choose from. You should be all set to open your account and manage your banking while living as an expat in Pakistan. Good luck!

Sources used for this article:

  1. - living in Pakistan
  2. XE - the best international banks in Pakistan
  3. Fincyte - opening a bank account in Pakistan
  4. Reviewer - how to open a bank account in Pakistan
  5. MCB Pakistan - Roshan digital account
  6. NBP - atm finder
  7. SwiftBic - Habib Bank Limited
  8. UBL Direct - about
  9. MCB - about
  10. MCB - key facts sheet

Sources checked on 23-July-2021.  Source

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