Kazakhstan reports surge in migration

The majority of those who want to live in Kazakhstan came from Uzbekistan

According to the Bureau of National Statistics, the rate of migration to Kazakhstan has been growing since the beginning of the year. Over the first quarter, more than 4,000 people moved to Kazakhstan. This is a one-third surge over the same period in 2019 and twofold growth compared to last year. About half of the migrants came from neighboring Uzbekistan.

As the agency noted, the structure of migration has changed. For example, 41% of migrants who came to Kazakhstan last year were from Russia. This year the share of Russians dropped by 19% while the share of Uzbekistanis grew. In January-March 4,100 people came to Kazakhstan. About half of them are Uzbekistanis.

Kazakhstan has become an attractive destination for people in other Asian countries as well: Turkmenistan (sixfold growth in migration), Mongolia (fourfold growth), China and Tajikistan (twofold each). Also, amid the war in Ukraine, a limited number of Ukrainians have chosen Kazakhstan as a new place to live.

The Bureau of National Statistics also registers places where migrants prefer to stay. For example, Uzbekistanis prefer to stay in the Mangystau region (50%) and South Kazakhstan (42%). In contrast, Russians choose big cities as places to live in. Mainly, they prefer to stay in the North part of Kazakhstan, which means that some of them are those who left Kazakhstan in the past and are now coming back. For years, the North and East regions of Kazakhstan showed a negative rate of migration as many had moved to Russia.

However, almost half of the newcomers said they are ethnic Kazakhs; 15% said they are Russians, and 7% are Karakalpaks. Among other ethnic groups are Chinese, Iranians, Chuvash and many others.

Because of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the number of Russians who want to get residence permits in Kazakhstan increased threefold. Kazakhstani statistics don’t account for these people as they haven’t decided yet whether to keep their Russian nationality or become naturalized in Kazakhstan. The Bureau of National Statistics is tracking only those who came to Kazakhstan to live.

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