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Country profiles

Profiles permanent and temporary migration trends and population for Australia's main migrant source countries.

Country profile - Pakistan


At the end of June 2018, 84,340 Pakistani-born people were living in Australia, this was almost four times the number at 30 June 2008. This makes the Pakistani-born population the twenty-first largest migrant community in Australia, equivalent to 1.1 per cent of Australia's overseas-born population and 0.3 per cent of Australia's total population.

For Australia's Pakistani-born migrants:

  • The median age of 31.1 years was 6.2 years below that of the general population.
  • Males outnumbred females—60.8 per cent compared with 39.2 per cent.1

1 Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics, Migration Australia (catalogue no. 3412.0).

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 with the skills, qualifications and entrepreneurship most needed in the Australian economy. The Skill stream comprises four components; namely: Points Tested Skilled Migration; Employer Sponsored; Business Innovation and Investment; and Distinguished Talent.

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 and composition of Skill stream, Family stream, Special Eligibility and Child visas from Pakistan.

Table 1: Permanent migrant places granted, 2015—16 to 2018—19
Migration category2015— 162016— 172017— 182018— 19Per cent change on 2017— 18Per cent change since 2015— 16
Skilled migration (points tested)
Skilled Regional24110317693-47.2-61.4
Skilled Independent2,9912,8442,4221,353-44.1-54.8
State/Territory Nominated1,6421,6321,6331,387-15.1-15.5
Skilled migration (non-points tested)
Business Innovation and Investment30406443-32.843.3
Distinguished Talent5< 5116-45.520.0
Employer Sponsored6927134494898.9-29.3
Total: Skilled visa places granted 5,601 5,335 4,755 3,371 -29.1 -39.8
Skilled visas as a proportion of all permanent visas (%)83.581.476.371.1n/an/a
Family and Child migration
Other Family97359-74.30.0
Total: Family and Child visa places granted 1,104 1,221 1,474 1,368 -7.2 23.9
Family and Child visas as a proportion of all permanent visas (%)16.518.623.628.9n/an/a
Special Eligibility
Special Eligibility< 5060-100.0-100.0
Total places granted 6,708 6,556 6,235 4,739 -24.0 -29.4

Source: Department of Home Affairs

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.

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).

Not all categories apply to migrants from Pakistan. The following table shows the number of visa grants to migrants from Pakistan, for the Student visa program, Temporary Resident (Skilled Employment) visa and Visitor visas.

Table 2: Temporary visas granted by selected categories, 2015—16 to 2018—19
Temporary visa category2015—162016—172017—182018—19Per cent change on 2017—18Per cent change since 2015—16
International Students
ELICOS 1< 58< 5< 550.0200.0
Vocational Education and Training47939951688972.385.6
Higher Education4,9664,6446,0805,778-5.016.4
Postgraduate Research29540543348712.565.1
Foreign Affairs or Defence207200214139-35.0-32.9
Total: International Student visa grants 5,969 5,682 7,279 7,322 0.6 22.7
Temporary Resident (Skilled Employment)​
Temporary Resident (Skilled Employment) visa grants 285069255268924.8-18.9
Business visitor1,3041,5031,7881,444-19.210.7
Total: Visitor visa grants 8,834 11,797 13,754 13,433 -2.3 52.1
​Other temporay​
Other temporary visa grants 32,5383,0004,0313,625-10.142.8
Total temporary visa grants 18,191 21,171 25,616 25,069 -2.1 37.8

Source: Department of Home Affairs

1 English Language Intensive Course for Overseas Students (ELICOS).

2 Data excludes Temporary Work (Skilled) (Independent Executive) visa.

3 Excludes Transit visa (subclass 771), Border visa (subclass 773) and Maritime Crew visa (subclass 988).

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, 2015—16 to 2018—19
PeriodTemporary Resident (Skilled Employment) visas 1
No. of migrantsSkill stream migrationNo. of migrants
General practitioners and resident medical officers31Accountants226
Accountants24Software and applications programmers122
Auditors, company secretaries and corporate treasurers22Electrical engineers105
Cooks15Telecommunications engineering professionals99
ICT business and systems analysts13Industrial, mechanical and production engineers86
Software and applications programmers12Computer network professionals70
Motor mechanics10Other engineering professionals50
Chefs9Civil engineering professionals49
Computer network professionals8Database and systems administrators, and ICT security specialists48
University lecturers and tutors7ICT business and systems analysts44
Cooks31Software and applications programmers215
General practitioners and resident medical officers23Accountants211
Accountants17Telecommunications engineering professionals171
Software and applications programmers12Industrial, mechanical and production engineers104
Chefs10Computer network professionals101
University lecturers and tutors9Civil engineering professionals98
ICT business and systems analysts7Electrical engineers82
Auditors, company secretaries and corporate treasurers6ICT business and systems analysts73
Motor mechanics6Electronics engineers63
Cafe and restaurant managers5Other engineering professionals61
General practitioners and resident medical officers31Software and applications programmers234
Accountants20Computer network professionals159
Motor mechanics20Industrial, mechanical and production engineers158
Software and applications programmers17Electronics engineers113
Bakers and pastrycooks13ICT business and systems analysts101
Cafe and restaurant managers7Other engineering professionals89
Management and organisation analysts7Civil engineering professionals79
ICT business and systems analysts7Electrical engineers66
University lecturers and tutors6Auditors, company secretaries and corporate treasurers51
General practitioners and resident medical officers44Software and applications programmers229
Motor mechanics22Auditors, company secretaries and corporate treasurers201
Cafe and restaurant managers19Computer network professionals193
Software and applications programmers16ICT business and systems analysts133
Accountants13Industrial, mechanical and production engineers122
Bakers and pastrycooks12Cooks116
University lecturers and tutors11Other engineering professionals95
ICT business and systems analysts10Civil engineering professionals82
Chefs6Electronics engineers72

Source: Department of Home Affairs

1 Data excludes Temporary Work (Skilled Employment) (Independent Executive) visa.

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 2016 (%)
Of all persons322520711212
Of Pakistani-born4034869113
Permanent additions - 2018–19 (%)
Skill stream3729796624
Family and Child stream3739956102
Temporary visa grants - 2018–19 (%)
International student visa grants37369412111
Temporary Resident (Skilled Employment) visa (primary) grants 1 4236648210

Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics and Department of Home Affairs

1 Data excludes Temporary Work (Skilled) (Independent Executive) visa.

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, 2015—16 to 2018—19
Ranked position of migrants2015—162016—172017—182018—19

Population in Australia 1 23232121
Points Tested Skilled Migration4346
Employer Sponsored12131716
Total Skill stream5568
Total Family and Child stream9989
International students16151315
Temporary Resident (Skilled Employment) visa 219222121

Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics and Department of Home Affairs

1 Population 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; 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018.

2 Data excludes Temporary Work (Skilled) (Independent Executive) visa.