Sutter County resident Sumara Shazadi, formerly of Lahore, Pakistan, with her son Zain, then 3 years old, in 1998; courtesy Sutter County Public Library, Shades of California
A New Kind of Visa
Most of the Pakistani residents of Fremont were drawn to the area by H-1B work visas. H-1B is a unique work permit granted to professionals engaged in highly specialized areas including information technology and other tech-based jobs. It allows new employees to stay at the same job for up to six years. For many Pakistanis, this is the first step toward permanent legal residency or U.S. citizenship.
At Home in California
Because of the work visa requirements, more than half of all Pakistani immigrants to the United States are college educated and usually come from middle- to upper-class backgrounds. English is the formal spoken and written language in Pakistani schools, so immigrants also arrive fluent in English. These factors have made it relatively easy for Pakistanis to adjust to life in California.