Type of practice:
In 2014 the Migration Police Department with the support of UNHCR's office in Kazakhstan launched a national campaign to identify stateless persons in Kazakhstan. The main objectives were to determine the number of undocumented persons living in the territory of the Republic of Kazakhstan and to search for legal solutions to solve their problem. Since then, NGOs have started collecting cases related to statelessness. Local authorities, hospitals, educational organizations constantly updated the list of undocumented persons with data collected during the provision of social services.
The main legal issue was that, according to Law on Citizenship, foreigners had to provide a document on the termination of the previous citizenship in order to obtain an identity card of a stateless person. However, after the collapse of the Soviet Union, many people had only a post-Soviet Union passport or a birth certificate. They could not submit requested document and, therefore, they could not obtain any legal status in Kazakhstan. The list of such people has been expanding over the years.
In 2020 the Ministry of Interior recognized the existence of this problem and adopted a new national procedure for identifying statelessness which states that the migration service must send a request for citizenship in the country from which the undocumented person arrived, and if information from the country of origin (or arrival) is not received within 6 months, the migration service can issue this person with passport of a stateless person. These new procedure has helped to provide a stateless identity card to many undocumented people in Kazakhstan.
The Migration Service Committee of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, together with non-governmental organizations and the UNHCR, is conducting an action to identify undocumented persons (statelessness). In 2021, 7,299 undocumented persons were found in Kazakhstan, of which 6,062 citizens were documented (4,130 were documented by a document of a citizen of Kazakhstan, 1,932 by a certificate of a stateless person). In respect of 1,237 persons, the procedure for confirming citizenship is being completed (confirmation of citizenship of the Republic of Kazakhstan - 981 and recognition as a stateless person - 353). Taking into account the positive assessment of society and the desire to solve the problem of statelessness in Kazakstan, the Ministry of Interior decided to extend this action until the end of May 2022. The current identification campaign is helping to reduce the level of undocumented people in Kazakhstan who have been living without any legal identity cards for many years.