This study investigated multilingual students’ linguistic challenges at English-medium instruction (EMI) universities in Kazakhstan. Using language policy and planning as a theoretical lens, this study looked at EMI policy in general, particularly the academic English challenges of students due to a haphazard implementation of the EMI policy in Kazakhstani universities. The data were collected through an online survey and semi-structured interviews held with students and instructors at eight purposefully selected EMI universities in Kazakhstan. The data analysis revealed that over 70% of students had no prior exposure to EMI, 66.9% were dissatisfied with their English proficiency, 65.3% were dissatisfied with their literacy skills, and 72.6% did not enjoy reading and writing in English. Therefore, their transition to the EMI environment was chaotic and stressful. The EMI policy and practice seem to have failed because the macro-level policy from the top is not in sync with the resources and preparation at the micro-level (teachers and students). The ambitious goals of internationalization, global competitiveness, and human capital development through EMI cannot be achieved without careful planning, systematic implementation, and appropriate support mechanisms for students and instructors.