Emigration to other former USSR republics exceeded immigration by 20,600 during 1979–90. More than 40,000 people fled from Tajikistan to Turkmenistan in 1992 to escape civil war. Repatriation of the Tajik refugees started in early 1998. As of 1999, nearly 5,000 Tajik refugees had voluntarily repatriated. There were also some 13,000 Tajik refugees, mostly ethnic Turkmen, who expressed the desire to remain in Turkmenistan. Also in 1999, UNHCR was assisting a group of some 1,000 Afghan refugees to integrate locally. UNHCR also developed a contingency planning and emergency preparedness mechanism in order to handle potential future refugee influxes.
Between 1993 and 1995, 100,000 Russians left Turkmenistan. In 2000 there were a total of 223,000 migrants, including 14,200 refugees, living in Turkmenistan. The net migration rate was 2.2 migrants per 1,000 population in 2000. The government views the immigration level as satisfactory, but the emigration level as too high.