Kazakhstan Regional Office


Operation: Opération: Kazakhstan Regional Office



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Key Figures

2017 year-end results
100% of refugees and asylum-seekers had access to primary health care
910 stateless persons received legal assistance
130 vulnerable refugees and asylum-seekers households were provided with multipurpose cash grants
18 advocacy interventions were made to ensure the quality of government refugee status determination procedures
2018 planning figures
100% of people of concern will have access to legal assistance
85% of people with undetermined nationality will be confirmed as nationals of Kazakhstan or nationals of third countries, others will be documented as stateless persons
1,500 persons of concern will be provided with legal assistance to resolve their issues relating to nationality or documentation
85% of targeted refugee households with basic needs will be provided with multi-purpose cash grants 
18 advocacy interventions will be made to ensure the quality of government refugee status determination procedures
4 border monitoring visits will be conducted and recorded to ensure access to territory for persons of concern
4 events aimed at prevention and reduction of statelessness will be conducted 

People of Concern Personnes relevant de la compétence du HCR

Decrease in
2017 94,532
2016 95,795
2015 95,524


[["Refugees",629],["Asylum-seekers",209],["Returned refugees",1],["Stateless",93693]]
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Kazakhstan Regional Office

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2017 {"categories":[2013,2014,2015,2016,2017,2018],"budget":[7.6225132,7.40638597,6.99431923,7.48582672,5.56728442,5.52037323],"expenditure":[4.50980319,4.11624681,4.35487869,3.33722939,2.89956785,null]} {"categories":[2013,2014,2015,2016,2017,2018],"p1":[5.26128318,4.99603601,4.7424001,5.38362755,4.25892057,4.40666094],"p2":[1.86189134,2.31999996,2.25191913,2.10219917,1.30836385,1.11371229],"p3":[null,null,null,null,null,null],"p4":[0.49933868,0.09035,null,null,null,null]} {"categories":[2013,2014,2015,2016,2017,2018],"p1":[3.0102199,2.51744847,2.58809393,2.03202186,1.96719507,null],"p2":[1.16692194,1.53616117,1.76678476,1.30520753,0.93237278,null],"p3":[null,null,null,null,null,null],"p4":[0.33266135,0.06263717,null,null,null,null]}
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  • 2015
  • 2016
  • 2017
  • 2018

Operational context

In 2017, Kazakhstan hosted high-profile international events, including Expo 2017 and several rounds of Syria peace talks. It also became a member of the UN Security Council for 2017/2018. As a non-permanent member of the UN Security council for 2017-2018, Kazakhstan aims to draw due attention to conflict prevention in particular, and other issues facing the region, including Afghanistan as an integral part of Central Asia.
The country adopted in 2017 amendments to the constitution aimed at transferring part of president’s functions to the government and parliament. The new constitution also fixed the norm on deprivation of citizenship for the commission of terrorist crimes.

Population trends

At the end of 2017, Kazakhstan hosted some 600 refugees and 200 asylum-seekers. The number of new asylum-seekers increased slightly, by 7 per cent, from the end of 2016. The largest number of asylum-seekers continued to be from Afghanistan, while no new arrivals came from the neighbouring Commonwealth of Independent States countries. In 2017, eight refugees were naturalized and 29 refugees received permanent residence.
As of 31 December 2017, there were some 6,830 stateless persons registered by the Government of Kazakhstan and close to 1,310 persons with undetermined nationality registered by UNHCR’s legal partners.
According to the authorities, all people who sought asylum at the international airports had access to asylum procedures, while no asylum applications were lodged at the land borders.

Key achievements

  • In 2017, 8 refugees were naturalized and 29 refugees received permanent residence. This was partly the result of the new legislation which eased the requirements for refugees to obtain permanent residence;
  • Close to 1,380 stateless persons were naturalized in Kazakhstan.

Unmet needs

Although the people of concern to UNHCR registered with the government have access to national healthcare system, the volume of available healthcare services is limited and does not include specialized life-saving surgeries and medication.
Refugees recognized under UNHCR mandate do not have access to national services, and are therefore fully dependent on UNHCR’s assistance.


Working environment

Kazakhstan, like other Central Asian countries, has been affected by economic instability as a result of the 2014 sanctions on Russia and decreasing oil prices. The falling exchange rate of the Russian Ruble obliged Kazakhstan to devalue its currency by 19 per cent.

No major changes are expected in the political and security situations. However the current economic climate may result in increasing needs for the population of concern to UNHCR.  

Significant improvements in the Government’s management of RSD have led to the phase out of this responsibility by UNHCR. By 2017, UNHCR expects to have completed the necessary preparative work for the revision of the Refugee Law by the Government. A working group amending the national legislation related to citizenship has been established.  

Since 2015, refugees and asylum-seekers in Kazakhstan have free access to the same primary healthcare as nationals. 

Key priorities

In 2017 UNHCR’s operation in Kazakhstan will focus on advocacy towards:
•    The establishment by the State of a referral mechanism for asylum-seekers arriving at the border;
•    Capacity building of national authorities and judges dealing with asylum-seekers/refugees and stateless persons ; and
•    Amendment to the national legislation so that recognized refugees can acquire permanent residence or legal status with associated rights, including work permits. 

Additional funding would be required to cover the costs of essential medicines, health care training, medical treatment and life-saving surgery. Additional funding is needed for cash grants for vulnerable refugees, especially given the recent currency devaluation in Kazakhstan.