08ASTANA1698, KAZAKHSTAN B1/B2 VALIDATION STUDIES

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
08ASTANA1698 2008-09-08 08:02 2011-08-30 01:44 UNCLASSIFIED Embassy Astana

VZCZCXYZ0010
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHTA #1698 2520802
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 080802Z SEP 08
FM AMEMBASSY ASTANA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 3217
RUEHAK/AMEMBASSY ANKARA 2180
RUEHIT/AMCONSUL ISTANBUL 0015
RUEHFT/AMCONSUL FRANKFURT 6876

UNCLAS ASTANA 001698 
 
UNCLAS ASTANA 000748 
 
SIPDIS 
 
DEPT FOR CA/FPP: EHOLMES, CA/VO/F/P: MEARL, DS/CR/VG 
DEPT ALSO PASS TO KCC 
POSTS FOR FRAUD PREVENTION MANAGERS 
FRANKFURT FOR RCOS 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: CVIS KFRD KZ
SUBJECT: KAZAKHSTAN B1/B2 VALIDATION STUDIES 
 
1. (SBU) SUMMARY: Embassy Astana and Embassy Branch Office Almaty 
conducted validation studies of B1/B2 visa issuances.  By combining 
results from DHS's Arrival Departure Information System (ADIS) and 
follow-up telephone calls, posts examined samples of B1/B2 issuances 
from August 1, 2007 - January 31, 2008 and discovered that a 
surprisingly small percentage of applicants overstayed or adjusted 
status; for Astana, the rate was 0.9%, and for Almaty the rate was 
1.6%. END SUMMARY. 
 
------------------------------- 
The Validation Study 
------------------------------- 
 
2. (SBU) Kazakhstan does not have consular districts to formally 
divide the NIV workload between Astana and Almaty, however the 
composition and geographic source of the NIV workload is different. 
B1/B2 applicants comprise only about 29% of Astana's annual NIV 
workload, but 56% of Almaty's.  The major difference in composition 
comes from Summer Work and Travel; almost 40% of Astana's workload 
is from this program.  Astana is located more than 1000 kilometers 
north of Almaty, a fact which is reflected in the geographic source 
of the applicants. Although applicants can go to either Almaty or 
Astana, as a practical matter virtually all residents of northern 
Kazakhstan go to Astana, and residents of southern Kazakhstan go to 
Almaty. 
 
3. (SBU) Astana issued 639 B1/B2 visas from August 1, 2007 to 
January 31, 2008.  Almaty issued 2,245 B1/B2 visas in the same time 
period. Samples were randomly chosen using Excel. Utilizing the 
expectation of a 7% rate of non-returning travelers derived from a 
past validation study, we chose sample sizes to be 95% confident of 
a deviation of +/- 2%; that is, to be 95% confident that the true 
non-return rate is between 5% and 9%.  For Astana, this calculation 
implied a sample size of 316; we chose 320 visa recipients - exactly 
half the sample - as a round number.  For Almaty, the calculation 
called for a sample size of 489; we chose 500 visa recipients as a 
round number.  Both Almaty and Astana checked arrival and departure 
status using ADIS and/or phone calls.  Of the 320 individuals 
checked in Astana, 3 did not return, a rate of 0.9%.  Of the 500 
individuals checked in Almaty, 8 did not return, a rate of 1.6%. 
For Astana, due to the combination of an extremely low non-return 
rate and a relatively large sample size, a meaningful two-sided 
confidence interval cannot be constructed. However, it is possible 
to say we are 95% confident the true non-return rate is not higher 
than 1.6%.  For Almaty, we are 95% confident the population 
non-return rate is between 0.6% and 2.6%.  As the confidence 
intervals for the two posts have a large amount of overlap, the 
deviation in the non-return rates between the two posts is not 
statistically significant. 
 
4. (SBU) Refusal rates in Kazakhstan are not particularly high: for 
the sample period, Astana and Almaty had virtually identical 
non-adjusted refusal rates for B1/B2 applicants - 13.1% and 13.5%, 
respectively. Most refusals are concentrated in travelers having a 
sole B2 purpose. Reflective of the strength of Kazakhstan's economy 
recently (until the recent worldwide "credit crunch", the economy 
had been growing at about 9% a year for the past 5 years), business 
applicants are for the most part very strong. Common business 
applicants include employees of oil and oil services companies (both 
local and US-based), employees of local and international financial 
and services firms, and employees of large agricultural and mining 
concerns. 
 
5. (SBU) Post was surprised and pleased by the non-return rate. 
Little insight can be gathered about trends, as the few visa 
recipients that did not return appear to be simply random 
occurrences.  Of the eleven total non-returns, five legally changed 
status or extended their stays in the U.S.  Six provided what 
appears to be intentionally misleading information in their 
applications. While the number of non-returns is too low to indicate 
trends, it does support post's long-held view of Kazakhstan as a low 
fraud environment.

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