Kazakhstan Regional Office


Operation: Opération: Kazakhstan Regional Office



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Key Figures

2018 year-end results
100% of refugees and asylum-seekers had access to primary health care
742 persons with undetermined nationality were assisted with confirmation of nationality
197 people of concern received legal assistance
134 targeted households received multi-purpose cash grants for basic needs
2019 planning figures
100% refugees and asylum-seekers will have access to primary health care
85% of targeted households whose basic needs are met with multi-purpose cash grants
650 persons with undetermined nationality assisted with confirmation of nationality

People of Concern Personnes relevant de la compétence du HCR

Decrease in
2018 88,419
2017 94,532
2016 95,795


[["Refugees",588],["Asylum-seekers",195],["Returned refugees",4],["Stateless",87632]]
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Kazakhstan Regional Office

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2018 {"categories":[2014,2015,2016,2017,2018,2019],"budget":[7.40638597,6.99431923,7.48582672,5.56728442,5.52037323,5.52884917],"expenditure":[4.11624681,4.35487869,3.33722939,2.89956785,2.73375977,null]} {"categories":[2014,2015,2016,2017,2018,2019],"p1":[4.99603601,4.7424001,5.38362755,4.25892057,4.40666094,4.328075],"p2":[2.31999996,2.25191913,2.10219917,1.30836385,1.11371229,1.20077417],"p3":[null,null,null,null,null,null],"p4":[0.09035,null,null,null,null,null]} {"categories":[2014,2015,2016,2017,2018,2019],"p1":[2.51744847,2.58809393,2.03202186,1.96719507,2.02644007,null],"p2":[1.53616117,1.76678476,1.30520753,0.93237278,0.7073197,null],"p3":[null,null,null,null,null,null],"p4":[0.06263717,null,null,null,null,null]}
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  • 2015
  • 2016
  • 2017
  • 2018
  • 2019

Operational environment

In 2018, the political and operational environment in Kazakhstan remained stable. Kazakhstan concluded its two-year tenure as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council. In 2018, the newly adopted legislation increased controls over freedom of speech, religion and association. Political and national security considerations continued to affect decisions on the asylum cases.

Population trends

At the end of 2018, there were some 570 refugees and close to 200 asylum-seekers in Kazakhstan. The number of new asylum-seekers decreased by 47% compared to 2017. The majority, some 84%, of asylum-seekers were from Afghanistan. There were no unaccompanied children among the asylum-seekers. Four refugees voluntarily returned to their countries of origin in 2018. At year end, there were close to 7,690 stateless persons registered by the Government, as well as 534 persons with undetermined nationality registered by UNHCR’s partners.

Key achievements

The Government took measures to facilitate integration through easing the requirements and procedures for acquisition of a permanent resident status. In 2018, 37 refugees obtained permanent residency and 7 refugees acquired Kazakh nationality. There were no reports of the forcible return of registered refugees or asylum-seekers to countries of origin.

In 2018, 940 officially registered stateless persons acquired Kazakh nationality and 490 persons with undetermined nationality confirmed their citizenship in Kazakhstan or third countries with the assistance of UNHCR’s partners. UNHCR continues engaging with the Government and UN partners to amend legislation in order to bring it in compliance with international standards.

One of the main achievements of UNHCR in the sub-region was the joint Regional Conference on the Prevention of Statelessness convened in June 2018 together with the Ministry of Justice of Kazakhstan and UNICEF with the participation of ESCAP, which brought all of the five countries in Central Asia together to discuss childhood statelessness.

Unmet needs

Due to limited capacity and resources, external relations and sensitization activities were carried out to a limited extent. Desired exposure to the wider public aiming to generate interest, improved public attitude and raised awareness on asylum issues was not achieved.

Working environment

In 2017, Kazakhstan adopted amendments to the Constitution aimed at transferring part of the president’s functions to the government and the parliament. The new Constitution also newly established the norm on deprivation of citizenship for the commission of terrorist crimes and for causing other grave harm to vital interests of Kazakhstan, potentially increasing statelessness. As a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council in 2017-2018, Kazakhstan aims to draw attention to conflict prevention and other issues facing the region, providing effective support to Afghanistan to build stability and hosting Astana Syria Talks, among other. For the first time in the region, Kazakhstan hosted EXPO 2017: “Future Energy - Solutions for Tackling Humankind’s Greatest Challenge”. The border region is expected to remain stable, no drastic changes in the political and socio-economic situation are expected.
The majority of refugees originate from Afghanistan, followed by Uzbekistan and Syria. The largest number of new asylum-seekers arrive from Afghanistan. Most of the people of concern to UNHCR live in urban areas and are concentrated mainly in three regions of the country: Almaty region Almaty and Shymkent city. Based on past years’ trends, some 240 people are expected to arrive in 2018. The number of refugees will remain around 650, taking into account nearly equal numbers of increases in newly recognized refugees and decreases due to naturalization and departure. The number of stateless persons is expected to decrease from 6,706 in 2018 to 5,000 in 2019. UNHCR and partners will work towards the resolution of all cases of persons with undetermined nationality, including 500 new persons with undetermined nationality to be identified by UNHCR’s partners, and increasing government’s role in undertaking identification and resolution activities.

Key priorities

UNHCR will focus on reducing refugees’ dependency and enhancing their self-reliance with the Government for a more durable legal status and their inclusion in the national assistance programmes. In 2017, UNHCR has shifted its assistance from sectorial in-kind assistance to cash-based interventions. Cash-based interventions allow effective protection and assistance, with a reduced number of partners and administrative costs. New partnership opportunities will be explored with private sector, financial institutions, academics, and NGOs to pursue solutions to refugees and statelessness. Kazakhstan’s stability will continue to provide an opportunity to promote the improved conditions for refugees and advocate for prevention and reduction of statelessness.
Latest contributions
  • 17-JUL-2019
  • 16-JUL-2019
  • 11-JUL-2019
  • 10-JUL-2019
  • 08-JUL-2019
    European Union
  • Kuwait
  • 05-JUL-2019
  • 04-JUL-2019

    private donors

  • European Union
  • Japan
  • 03-JUL-2019
  • 02-JUL-2019
  • 30-JUN-2019

    private donors

  • Argentina
  • Sweden

    private donors

  • Spain
  • Oman

    private donors

  • United Arab Emirates

    private donors

  • Kuwait

    private donors

  • Saudi Arabia

    private donors