Country profile - Pakistan


At the end of June 2022, 103,120 Pakistani-born people were living in Australia, more than twice the number (40,020) at 30 June 2012. This makes the Pakistani-born population the seventeenth largest migrant community in Australia, equivalent to 1.3 per cent of Australia's overseas-born population and 0.4 per cent of Australia's total population.

For Australia's Pakistani-born migrants:

  • The median age of 33.0 years was 5.5 years below that of the general population.
  • Males outnumbered females—59.7 per cent compared with 40.3 percent.
(Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics, Australia’s Population by Country of Birth)​

Permanent migration

Australia's permanent Migration Program incorporates economic and family migration and is the main pathway to permanent residence. It includes the Skill stream, Family stream and Special Eligibility visas. The only other way to obtain permanent residence is on humanitarian grounds.

Skill stream visas

The Skill stream is designed for workers who have the skills, qualifications and entrepreneurship most needed in the Australian economy. There are seven components:

  1. Business Innovation and Investment

  2. Distinguished Talent

  3. Employer Sponsored

  4. Global Talent (Independent)

  5. Regional

  6. Skilled Independent

  7. State/Territory Nominated.

Family and Child stream visas

The Family stream allows the permanent migration of close family members, of Australian citizens, permanent residents, and eligible New Zealand citizens. It focuses on partners and parents, but also provides the opportunity for additional family members, such as aged dependent relatives, carers, remaining relatives and orphan relatives, to join their family in Australia.

Child visas allow the permanent migration of children, of Australian citizens, permanent residents, and eligible New Zealand citizens. The Child visa comprises two categories, namely Child and Adoption visas.

Special Eligibility visas

Special Eligibility visas allow former residents and certain people who served in the Australian Defence Force to live in Australia as permanent residents.

The following table shows the size of permanent migration from Pakistan by migration category.

Table 1: Permanent migrant places granted, 2019–20 to 2022–23
Migration category2019–202020–212021–22​2022–23
Business Innovation and Investment467910372
Employer Sponsored403326360420
Skilled Independent451231117583
State/Territory Nominated674573688908
Regional 11,2237621,3581,754
Global Talent (Independent) 2169276221212
All other categories1266518372
Total places granted 4,136 4,121 3,734 4,927
Source: Department of Home Affairs
1The Regional migration category commenced 1 July 2019.
2Global Talent (Independent) category commenced 4 November 2019.

Temporary migration

People can come to Australia for a temporary stay for a range of purposes, for example, visiting Australia for tourism or attending a conference, or for more specific purposes, such as medical treatment, study, skilled work, working holidays or other specialist activities. There are six main categories of temporary residents, which can cover stays of more than three months in Australia.

Note: Not all categories apply to migrants from each country.

Visitor visas

Visitor visas are mostly used by people visiting Australia for holidays, tourism and recreation, or to see family and friends. People may also use Visitor visas for certain short-term business activities that do not entail working in Australia.

Working Holiday Maker Program

The Working Holiday Maker Program allows young adults to have an extended holiday and engage in short-term work and study.

Student visa

The Student visa program enables international students to come to Australia to study full-time in a registered course.

Temporary Resident (Skilled Employment) visa

Allows a business to sponsor a skilled overseas worker if they cannot find an appropriately skilled Australian citizen or permanent resident to fill a skilled position.

Other temporary visas

Other temporary visas include visas that allow people to undertake short-term, non-ongoing highly specialised work, enrich social and cultural development, strengthen international relations or provide training opportunities of benefit to Australia.

New Zealand citizens

Under the 1973 Trans-Tasman Travel Arrangement, New Zealand citizens can enter and leave Australia freely and live in Australia indefinitely on grant of a Special Category visa (subclass 444).

The following table shows the number of visa grants to migrants from Pakistan, for Visitor, Student and Temporary Resident (Skilled Employment) visas.

Table 2: Temporary visas granted by selected categories, 2019–20 to 2022–23
Temporary visa category2019–202020–212021–22​2022–23
Temporary Resident (Skilled Employment)4333176661,226
Other temporary visa grants 14,0352,0592,64011,820
Total temporary visa grants 22,800 9,727 14,709 54,098
Source: Department of Home Affairs
1​​Excludes Transit visa (subclass 771), Border visa (subclass 773) and Maritime Crew visa (subclass 988). Data has been perturbed to protect the privacy of individuals.

Main occupations

The following table shows the main occupations for nationals of Pakistan, based on Skill stream migration outcomes and Temporary Resident (Skilled Employment) visa grants.

Table 3: Main occupations, 2019–20 to 2022–23
PeriodTemporary Resident (Skilled Employment) visasNo. of migrantsSkill stream migrationNo. of migrants
2022–23Auditors, company secretaries and corporate treasurers76Accountants295
General practitioners and resident medical officers39Electrical engineers96
Software and applications programmers39Industrial, mechanical and production engineers83
Accountants32Software and applications programmers80
ICT business and systems analysts29Other engineering professionals72
Chefs18Civil engineering professionals64
Motor mechanics17 Chefs58
Electrical engineers13ICT business and systems analysts55
Industrial, mechanical and production engineers12Motor mechanics53
Advertising and marketing professionals11University lecturers and tutors51
2021–22Auditors, company secretaries and corporate treasurers54Auditors, company secretaries and corporate treasurers382
Accountants45Electrical engineers107
Software and applications programmers37Database and systems administrators, and ICT security specialists92
General practitioners and resident medical officers27Mining engineers87
ICT business and systems analysts16Agricultural and forestry scientists72
Electrical engineers10Electrical engineers70
Chefs10ICT support and test engineers46
Other engineering professionals9Cooks41
Civil engineering professionals8Multimedia specialists and web developers40
Motor mechanics8Financial brokers36
2020–21Software and applications programmers21Accountants201
General practitioners and resident medical officers14Software and applications programmers94
Accountants8Electrical engineers61
Industrial, mechanical and production engineers6Industrial, mechanical and production engineers54
Other medical practitioners6Other engineering professionals47
ICT business and systems analysts6Civil engineering professionals46
Chefs6Computer network professionals33
Auditors, company secretaries and corporate treasurers5ICT business and systems analysts32
Computer network professionals5Database and systems administrators, and ICT security specialists27
Cooks5Chemical and materials engineers21
2019–20General practitioners and resident medical officers28Accountants336
Accountants10Software and applications programmers82
Software and applications programmers10Other engineering professionals51
ICT business and systems analysts7Electrical engineers48
Cooks7Civil engineering professionals40
Auditors, company secretaries and corporate treasurers6ICT business and systems analysts40
University lecturers and tutors5Industrial, mechanical and production engineers38
Computer network professionals5Computer network professionals38
Electrical engineers<5Motor mechanics34
Industrial, mechanical and production engineers<5Auditors, company secretaries and corporate treasurers27
Source: Department of Home Affairs
Note: To protect the privacy of individuals, various data confidentiality techniques have been applied. These techniques include, data masking — using primary and secondary suppression methods for values that are deemed to be a disclosure risk and perturbation — a data security technique that allows for random data adjustment to prevent the release of identifiable data.
Note: Occupation level information is available for primary applicants only, and is based on Australian and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations unit level data.

Geographic distribution

The following table shows the geographic distribution of migrants, based on permanent additions for the Skill and Family streams, international student visa grants, and Temporary Resident (Skilled Employment) visa grants.

Table 4: Geographic distribution
Census 2021 (%)
Of all persons322620710212
Of Pakistani-born3835768213
Permanent additions - 2022–23 (%)
Skill stream282268131345
Family and Child stream32429510002
Temporary visa grants - 2022–23 (%)
International student visa grants414212516111
Temporary Resident (Skilled Employment) visa (primary) grants423310210111
Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics and Department of Home Affairs
Note: Permanent additions consist of two components; those persons who, while already in Australia on a temporary basis, are granted permanent residence status or those persons who have subsequently arrived from overseas during the reporting period and are entitled to stay permanently in Australia.

Country ranking

This table uses rankings to show the significance of Pakistani migration for the past four financial years. ​

Table 5: Country ranking, 2019–20 to 2022–23
Ranked position of migrants2019–202020–212021–22​2022–23
Population in Australia 119181817
Employer Sponsored16151516
Total Skill stream81198
Total Family and Child stream991411
International students118138
Temporary Resident (Skilled Employment) visa22241918
Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics and Department of Home Affairs
1Population level data is by country of birth and lags one year behind the financial year specified. Data based on the estimated residential population at 30 June; 2019, 2020, 2021 and 2022.

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