The American Chamber of Commerce (AmCham) is one of the most active international business community networks in Kazakhstan and beyond. It represents over two hundred member companies, not-for profit organizations, international financial institutions, and individual members. UNHCR has been a member of the AmCham in Kazakhstan since 2010. In 2011 and 2017, UNHCR won the prestigious AmCham award in the community service category; in 2018, AmCham invited UNHCR to be one of the members of the award selection committee. Throughout the years of membership and cooperation, UNHCR has received financial donations from the AmCham.
UNHCR’s presentation during the AmCham’s Business Roundtable Luncheon in January 2018 landed an unprecedented partnership with the Netherlands investment company “Negal B.V.” for employment and internship opportunities for refugees in Kazakhstan. On 23 August 2018, UNHCR and “Negal B.V.” signed a Letter of Understanding (LoU). It has become the first official partnership with private sector in the area of refugee employment in Kazakhstan. Already, one female Afghan refugee has been officially employed as a staff.
On 12 July 2018, AmCham invited UNHCR to participate in the Prime Minister’s Council to Improve the Investment Climate (CIIC) meeting exclusively dedicated to social development topic. Thanks to this unique opportunity, UNHCR at the highest level presented its activities, addressed the Prime Minister and line Ministers and gave three key recommendations to the Government of Kazakhstan: 1) strengthen asylum system and quality of Refugee Status Determination; 2) amend application procedures for permanent residency; and 3) review legal mechanism in order to ensure that all children including those who are born to undocumented persons are registered at birth and are issued birth certificates.
In this cooperation with the AmCham, UNHCR Kazakhstan plays its unique role “to improve the investment climate”, by exchanging information, ideas and experiences with a wide variety of AmCham members, and by making sure that self-reliance and social integration of most vulnerable people in the local community, including refugees and stateless people, are integral part of investment and development strategies.
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